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Brian Yaeger Presents


Beervana, OR, April. 1, 2017 – Following on the heels of the Third Annual Baker’s Dozen Fest last month comes the festival Portlanders have been clamoring for, which will feature 13 gluten free non-alcoholic beers made with decaffeinated coffee and vegan donuts.

“Every time we do the whole coffee beer and doughnut thing, people chime in on Facebook or Snapchat, “Are any of the donuts going to be vegan?” said beer festival organizer Brian Yaeger. “We get people showing up and asking where the gluten-free beers are, or stating that the event would be more inclusive if the brewers considerately used decaf coffee. And you wouldn’t believe how many people ask if kids are allowed to attend and if so, will there be non-alcoholic drinks for them. So Bakers Dozen FREE is our way of saying, “We hear you. You’re on a gluten free, caffeine free, alcohol free, animal free diet. And you deserve a beer fest of your own.” Up from Baker’s Dozen’s three sessions, this event is expected to sell out and hence will occur over three sessions on Saturday, April 1. To commemorate Baker’s Dozen Free, tickets will be free, with the usual online ticketing fee of $14.99, available at

Admission includes samples of every non-caffeine-infused, coffee-infused, enzymatically-deglutenized, unfermented-beverage and cruelty-free donut bite. Examples of treats, er, “treats” featured at the event include a collaboration between Lunarmollusk Brewing Company and Slumptown Coffee Roasters. Queue up early for the beer everyone will be raving about on Intreppd: a Cracker Barrel-aged, hazy IPA made from flax seeds with zero IBUs and zero ABVs dry-hopped with Folgers flavor crystals. Pair these with whatever’s available from the spinning display case of Voodoo’s vegan offerings.

Bring your partner. Bring your Tinder date. Bring your kids. Bring your Mormon, Celiac, PETA-supporting neighbors. Bring everyone because this is the beer festival everyone’s been clamoring for that doesn’t exclude anybody’s restrictions.* (*Event organizers are working on Bakers Dozen Tree-nut-free for April 1, 2018.)

Pertinent links: Ticketing ($Free online, $Priceless at the door.)Facebook:


Twitter: @BakersDozenFreePDX

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The Rural Brewer Spotlight: Siuslaw in Alsea

Alsea is the smallest town in all of Oregon with a brewery. Give or take, 164 people call it home. When I wrote the Oregon Breweries guidebook, I made it to each and every brewery in operation across the state. Several have opened since it was published and it burns me that I haven’t made it to all of those, as well, but, let’s face it, for city folk like me in Portland, it’s not often I find myself in Alsea. Truth of the matter is, I’d never heard of Alsea (named for the Alsea River and/or the Alsea tribe of Native Americans) until Siuslaw BrewingSiuslaw field (named, presumably, for the Siuslaw National Forest that occupies a tiny part of Alsea’s Benton County) put it on my map.

The 2nd The Rural Brewer Fest will be my first time trying their beer. It sounds pretty bad-ass since, get this, Duane and Jesse (the brewer) Miller grow their own hops. OK, a few other breweries do that, too. But they also grow some of their own barley and malt it themselves.

The farmhouse brewery—or rather, forest-house brewery—in Alsea is located in Benton County about halfway between I-5 and the coast 30 miles southwest of Corvallis. As such, its nearest breweries are ones like Block 15 and Flat Tail, but keep going and then the next closest ones are 45 miles farther including Yachats Brewing and Wolf Tree Brewing. Yeah, those are so rural they’re also featured at The Rural Brewer fest (as returnees!)

Wanna see it for yourself? As Miller said via FB DM, “We have a beautiful piece of property on the Alsea River and welcome all who want to stop by and see what we are doing. We brew many styles and continue to perfect our recipes. Hopefully we will meet up sometime!”

Those styles include an IPA and a Double Black IPA. A Blonde Belgian and a Strawberry Rhubarb Ale. There’s a wide range but as for what they’re bringing up to Portland, Grass Clippings is a cream ale brewed with barley grown on the farm (and again, malted there too), using a method that retains the fresh barley flavor.


The Rural Brewer Fest Spotlight: Chetco

Chetco photo

Photo: Chetco Brewing’s Facebook page.

Interested in attending the 2nd The Rural Brewer Fest on Sat., July 23 at the Hawthorne Hophouse? Get your tickets here.

Down in Brookings, named for a man named John Brookings, some 6,374 people reside in the picturesque coastal hamlet. That’s about 1% of Portland’s population. But whereas Portland has roughly one brewery for every 10,000 residents, Brookings–home to Chetco as well as Tight Lines and Misty Mountain breweries–boasts a 1:2,100 ratio. Clearly those who’ve followed in John Brookings’ footsteps love local beer. And while the first two aforementioned breweries didn’t even open until 2013, Chetco didn’t take long in establishing itself as a world class brewery by winning a silver medal for Block & Tackle Stout at the 2014 World Beer Cup.

While that onyx ale achieves a unique viscosity after aging for six months, and the resulting notes of baker’s chocolate achieve the right balance between a sweet and dry stout, it hardly seems like a fitting sample to enjoy at a summertime beer festival. Instead, brewer Mike Frederick, who co-founded the brewery with his wife Alex, will be pouring The Chetco Effect. This summer ale is a light, bright ale dry hopped with Sorachi Ace to give it a crisp lemon finish. It’s named for a weather phenom in Brookings (that you can read about here but they lost me at “adiabatic” in the first sentence.)

Mike loves brewing single-hopped IPAs and beers in general. “I just think it’s a fun thing,” he said to me over an IPA. “You get those particular characteristics.” One characteristic of some of Chetco’s beers that no other brewery has is that they boast his homegrown hops. The Fredericks have some 80 bines in their backyard, eleven varietals strong. Within three weeks of his first home brewed batch from the kit his wife, Alex, gave him, not only did he graduate to all-grain brewing but, said Mike, “I had ordered hop rhizomes so I could grow my own.” The brewery’s rooted in their DIY ethos having self-financed. Even the system comes with a good story, a nano-story that Mike sports on the back of his T-shirt. “A good friend lends you his awesome home brewing system. A great friend lets you open your microbrewery with it.” The friend in this tale is James Smith from Arch Rock Brewing up Highway 101, which, incidentally, has some gold medals under/over its belt so if anything The Rural Brewer Fest proves it’s that a beer trip to Oregon’s South Coast is in order!

The Rural Brewer spotlight: Boring


Interested in attending the 2nd The Rural Brewer Fest on Sat., July 23 at the Hawthorne Hophouse? Get your tickets here.

Some city folk think rural towns are boring. But this place that’s more of a suburb of Portland—15 miles east sandwiched between Gresham and Sandy—is truly Boring. And it’s where John Griffith’s road to becoming a nanobrewer began in back 1989 when he grew obsessed–his word choice–with homebrewing, thanks to the likes of Charlie Papazian.

Griffith has never stopped championing the DIY approach to better beer. After years of dreaming about starting his own brewery, a little fate and a lot of paperwork allowed Griffith to brew commercially in an accessory building on his own property. Visitors used to have to look for the little sign he sets up out front on the sleepy street and then were greeting not by stainless steel equipment but his goats and chickens, who are happy beneficiaries of his spent grains. He launched Boring Brewing with a 5-barrel brewhouse in 2013 and earlier this year, March of 2016, he opened a Taproom (located at the corner of Hwy 212 and Richey Road next to the Boring Station Trailhead; you can get three crowlers for twenty bucks if he puts them on special.) Last year, Griffith produced just over 100 barrels.

Here seems like a fine time to interject: the city’s named after William H. Boring, a Union Army veteran who moved here after the Civil War. The town adopted its name in 1903. Also fun to note: Boring (population 8,000) is the sister city to Dull in Scotland.

As a radiology administrator, Griffith has worked in health care since 1983 and took up homebrewing in ’88. He did take also a weekend course in brewing science at University of California, Davis. In 1993 his porter took first place at the state fair.

The first Boring beer, RyPA, which he’d been honing since it was still the 20th century, went into fermentation tanks in late 2012 and debuted in early 2013. Hoppy Blonde, a true light-bodied blond with just enough of a floral kick to keep it from being, hm, uh . . . banal, has become his bestseller thanks to having more permanent tap handles than the others. Riffing off the name, Griffith introduced Big Yawn IPA as an even hoppier option. “I got feedback on the RyPA,” he said with an implied scratch of his head. “It didn’t have a big enough hop character for the Portland crowd.” For the sake of comparison, Big Yawn makes folks open wide for its 7.5 percent ABV backed with 75 IBUs. This, my friends, is the beer you’ll get to sample again at this year’s The Rural Brewer Fest.

Wooos and Brews: Oregon Brewfest 2014

Illustration: Kenneth Huey

Illustration: Kenneth Huey

This year’s Oregon Brewers Festival has something for every kind of beer lover, and there are many kinds of beer lover. The festival has beers for hopheads, sessionistas, fruitheads and those drunks who always grab the highest-ABV brew on the board—this year that’s Dogfish Head Burton Olde English at 11 percent.

There are 88 beers from 85 breweries. Actually, though, there are about 200 beers to sample this year thanks to the Dutch—more on them in a minute.

Here’s what to expect at the 27th annual installment of Oregon’s biggest, drunkest party.

Summer Beer Fests

This story on tips for tackling beerfests during the summer high season was published on the Brewers Association’s in June, 2011. In case it’s not just my ‘puter on which the link is dead…:

Whether you’re just thawing out from the long winter and are itching for a change of scenery with a buddy or your kids are almost on a two-month vacation, now is the time when the adventurous road trip meets the jovial beer festival as the high season for each occurs simultaneously.

Take advantage of slightly lower gas prices by topping off the tank, then plugging in some destinations in the ol’ GPS. Whichever direction your summer vacation has you heading, rest assured there’s a beer fest near where you’re going. The phenomenal resource,, started a decade ago by Michiganders Paul Ruschmann and his wife Maryanne Nasiatka, lists roughly 200 fests taking place between now and the end of summer.

Before you even arrive at your beer bash(es) of choice, know that you can never try every beer available. Can’t be done. Which brings us to using, whenever possible, public transportation (or if not, find a designated driver). So, with safety being the most important rule (remember: hydrate! Between alcohol and sun, drink tons of water) let’s talk strategy.

Before the fest

* Buy tickets in advance: Nothing could be worse than driving through the country or through the night just to arrive at a festival that’s sold out.

* Scope out the outlying area: Heading to the 14th Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival? So long as you’re visiting the Wolverine state, tour some nearby breweries like Dark Horse or Jolly Pumpkin. is a great resource.

* The early bird gets the beer: Arrive before gates open to beat the crowds. There may be a special beer with limited availability that you don’t want to miss out on trying.

Navigating the festival grounds

* New to you: A new brewery opens almost daily, according to the Brewery Association’s Erin Glass. There WILL be breweries you’ve possibly never heard of, and definitely some you’ve never tried.

* Pick a style and try ‘em all: Whether it’s summery Pilsners or thirst-quenching IPAs, focus on one or only a few styles to get a sense of the nuance each brewer brings to their interpretation.

* Limiting the unlimited: Some fests dole out samples only with drink tickets, while others make pour for the asking. Request a “short pour” so you can try more offerings. If tasting requires tickets and one gets a few ounces but two or more lands a full pint, always take the sample.


* Pre-partying: Don’t drink beforehand. Seems obvious, but I’m stupefied every time I see people “pre-loading.” There’s no shortage of great beer once inside the grounds. Don’t be that guy.

* The overserved: The idea of leaving a smorgasbord of beer before gates close may sound crazy, but the longer the day draws out, the more others get sloppy because it’s just a fact that some folks just don’t get it.

*Shortchanging the festivities: If camping’s an option—take it! Extend the fun and don’t worry about unsafe driving. Besides, once the fest proper ends, the bottle sharing begins.

Some awesome fests coming up

Portland, OR didn’t earn the name Beervana for nothing. The granddaddy of beerfests is the 24th Annual Oregon Brewers Fest (July 28-31). Nearly 80,000 beer lovers from around Oregon, the country, and indeed the world flock to this riverfront festival boasting around 80 breweries across the Pacific Northwest. Do it up by attending the Brewers Brunch and parade beforehand starring a brass band, marching monks, and Portland Mayor Sam Adams!

Of course, it’s beerfest here all summer long starting with the 1st Annual Fruit Beer Fest (June 11-12) at Burnside Brewing featuring a lineup of Belgian-meets-Beervana-inspired fruit beers. The 7th Annual North American Organic Beer Fest (June 24-26) celebrates saving the planet via beer. And the 3rd Annual Nano Fest (August 27-28), hosted at Rogue’s Green Dragon pub, proves that good beers come in small non-packaging breweries.

Woe that you can’t beertrip to two distant places on the same weekend. The second weekend in August will see two of the most unique craft beer celebrations. An hour and a half drive south of Denver, Manitou, CO hosts the 9th Annual Craft Lager Fest (August 13-14) that is not only focused on the beloved bottom-fermenting beers, but takes fun in the sun to a new level by being entirely solar powered.

August 20 will see dueling beerfests each completely deserving of a pilgrimage, but are on opposite sides of California. The 15th Stone Brewing Anniversary Celebration (San Marcos in San Diego County) is so popular and so awesome, there’s an A Session and a B Session. Splurge for All Access ticket and attend both as well as the beer geek magnet Rare Beer Section.

If you’re heading to the San Francisco Bay Area in “NorCal,” hurry up and buy your tickets to the 9th Annual Russian River Beer Revival and BBQ Cook-off. This is one of my favorite fests because admission includes all-you-can beer from 30 local breweries plus all-you-can bbq from 30 pit teams!

Finally, since it’s impossible to drive to Munich for Oktoberfest, pack up your lederhosen or your dirndl and drive to Ohio. The 46th Annual German-American Festival (Oregon, OH near Toledo, August 26-28) is family-friendly and attracts some 25,000 of your new best friends. The 35th Annual Oktoberfest Zinzinati (Cincinatti, OH, September 16-18) will be twice as big, meaning twice as many people doing the chicken dance!

Pack it up

Half the fun is in the getting there. Stash plenty of water bottles or jugs in your car. Fill a bag with your favorite snacks including some to keep in your pocket during the festival(s) you’ll be attending. Grab a notebook if you don’t already keep a beer reviewing journal to keep track of the new beers you tried and the unique breweries who made them. Make sure your camera’s battery is charged before you leave and don’t forget to keep taking pics after the first samples. I always have a kit on my trunk for the unforeseens (a wide-brimmed hat, a dollar bill, a roll of T.P., packet of Advil, change of underwear because I knew someone who did that and once needed it). Also, bring an empty growler for the brewpub you’ll discover along the way and a sixer or some special bottles to share with the new friends you’ll be making.

Beer Traveler: It’s the Beaches

This beach-themed Beer Traveler was my first submission taking over this long-running column and as such represented a dual honor. It’s fair to say beer + travel were already front-of-mind for me. Now if only I could rack up enough miles to fly front-of-plane. Served up for this theme: Orange County (CA), Virginia Beach (VA), Honolulu (HI), and Tampa/St. Petersburg (FL).