For the following recommendations, since the quotidian beer culture in town is pretty stellar even the other 51 weeks a year, these focus on events featuring out-of-towners—mostly beer and breweries not distributed in Portland—as well as ones with a fair bit of theatricality that ought to present beer not just as delectable but as spectacle.
Tuesday, April 14
The Drinking Lot
Think food cart pod serving entirely draft beer. From the beer-beer-niks behind Bailey’s Taproom comes this used-car lot-cum-biergarten at the corner of E Burnside and MLK. It will last through Saturday from noon to 10 pm and will pour a mix of local and wish-we-got-them-locally breweries (22 in all, rotating daily). Today’s line-up includes near-enough Holy Mountain Brewing from Seattle as well as celebrated Green Bench Brewing from St. Petersburg, Florida.
419 E Burnside, noon-9 pm, no cover, thedrinkinglot.com
Belmont Station’s Bell’s After Dark
As much as deep-dish pizza and tenderloin sandwiches, Bell’s is the flavor of the Midwest. Founded by Larry Bell (who’ll be there from 8-10 pm) in Kalamazoo in 1985, this homebrew shop-turned-regional brewery is perhaps best known nationally for their pair of some of the best flyover IPAs in Two Hearted Ale (available tonight) and Hopslam, a Simcoe-centric Imperial IPA. But for my money, I’d kill to get cases, or those fun five-liter mini-kegs, of their seasonal Oberon wheat ale, whose release date is virtually a regional holiday. Look for at least 10 Bell’s beers to try including Cherry Stout and for sour fans, the Wild One.
Belmont Station, 4500 SE Stark, 8 pm–close, no cover, belmont-station.com
Cascade’s Sour & Wild Invitational
Fans near and far regard our Cascade Brewing as “the House of Sour.” But what of non-Northwest-style sour ales? The team at the Cascade Barrel House, already a major destination for folks flying in for CBC, along with John and Jane Q. Portlander, can now taste how other sour brewers do. Over the next five days, at least two dozen guest breweries will have eight-ounce glasses of their coveted funky and/or tart sour beers available at the newly-liberated south side of the Barrel House. Breweries highly worth seeking out include Almanac (San Francisco), Jester King (Austin), Perennial Artisan Ales (St. Louis), Sante Adairius Rustic Ales (Santa Cruz), Upland (Bloomington, Indiana), Wicked Weed (Asheville, North Carolina) and, duh, Russian River, who have kindly sent up some Supplication and Beatification.
Cascade Brewing Barrel House, 939 SE Belmont, 3-11 pm (until midnight Fri & Sat), no cover, cascadebrewingbarrelhouse.com
• "Touched by Oak" at Lompoc Sidebar (3901 N Williams), 4-11 pm: a cornucopia of barrel-aged beers, paired with free apps on the early side from 5–7 pm.
• “Stone: Brewin’ with the Locals” at Green Dragon (928 SE 9th), 4-8 pm: San Diego County’s Stone Brewery got super busy with several P-town brewers in advance of CBC. Collaborators include the Commons and Breakside.
Wednesday, April 15
Roscoe’s SoCal Brewers Summit
San Diego has hosted the CBC more than PDX but for understandable reason: Their beer culture is almost, nearly, practically, sort of as good as ours, and their weather doesn’t suck. So conference attendees get their fix of SoCal suds, and they, and hopheads around here too, can soak ‘em all up via this Montavilla taproom’s smorgasbord. Look for some impressive area debuts from Modern Times, Alpine, and Saint Archer while LA gets in on the mix with Golden Road, Eagle Rock, and El Segundo. Don’t miss Beachwood BBQ from the O.C.! Best of all, flights will be available—of the beer kind, not Alaska Airways.
Roscoe's, 8105 SE Stark, 4 pm-close, no cover, roscoespdx.com
Apex’s Gigantic & Friends b/w New Belgium Love Fest
In this era of the sharing economy, no multi-tap space goes unused this week. To get your beer buzz going at two in the afternoon, locals Gigantic Brewing pour hand in hand with bastions of the Midwest, such as a pair of collaborations from Chicagoland brewers Solemn Oath Brewing unveiling Barrel Aged Chin Finger (a bourbon-aged petite quad) and, along with Three Floyds, Crescendo of Doom, a lager hop-bombed with German hops, natch. For the beer tickers, the white whale known as Surly Darkness, Minneapolis's most famous Russian Imperial Stout, also garners its own tap handle. Then at 7 pm, New Belgium spreads some Love—Love being the name of their foedre-aged sour base beer. Yes, it makes their La Folie something special, but we’ll get a chance to try Oscar Worthy Coffee Love, a beer one internal source said, “Sounded like a miss on paper to me but they nailed it.”
Apex, 1216 SE Division, 2-11 pm, no cover, apexbar.com
• “Block 15 Tap Takeover” at Bailey's Upper Lip (720 SW Ankeny), 4–8 pm: Save yourself the drive to Corvallis for these ultra rarities: 2011 Imagine, 2012 Super Nebula, 2013 Framboise White, and 2014 Turbulent Consequences Pèche.
• "An Evening of Solid Gold" at Tin Bucket (3520 N Williams), 5–8 pm: Discover the gold rush of non-stop Great American Beer Fest top-medalist beers including an imperial red from Santa Fe’s Marble Brewing.
• “Barley Brown’s Meet Comrade” at N.W.I.P.A. (6530 SE Foster), 6–10 pm: Craft brewers hold mash paddles, not grudges. Marks Lanham brewed many GABF-medal-winning beers at Baker City’s best (and only) brewery, Barley Brown’s, before moving to Denver to launch Comrade Brewing. Beers from both will be available.
• "Devil's Sixpoint" at Devils Point (5305 SE Foster), 9 pm-?: New York’s Sixpoint Brewery tap-takeover at Devil’s Point gentleman’s club. Of course. If something seems sticky, it might just be Resin IPA.
• Sassy's Bar (927 SE Morrison) 9 pm-?: Mid-Valley brewers get in on the strip-club takeover, too, with Ninkasi and Oakshire tapping that Eugene sexiness. Three beers apiece will definitely have you seeing double here.
Thursday, April 16
Boneyard’s BEERGASM FEST at Green Dragon
Truth in advertising. Bend’s Boneyard has curated a night of jaw-dropping breweries providing a pair of kegs apiece. Special guests include not-so-newcomer Bagby Beer Co. (Jeff Bagby, formerly of Pizza Port, is one of the most decorated brewers) from San Diego, Santa Barbara's Hollister, Melvin (the Alpha Kings from Wyoming), a slice from Chicago via Piece Brewery, and treats from above-mentioned pillars including Three Floyds, Almanac, Surly, and Alpine.
Green Dragon, 928 SE 9th, 5–10 pm, $25, BoneyardBeer.com/Beergasm
“Beer Machines” presented by Deschutes and Columbia Distributing at Pure Space
Steam-punk inspired beer-dispensing mechanisms actually take center stage over the variety of 20 Deschutes beers and bands and entertainers galore.
Deschutes Brewery Public House, 1315 NW Overton, 8 pm–1 am, $25, deschutesbrewery.com/event/beermachines
• “Amber Waves” at Castaway Portland (1900 NW 18th), 5-10 pm, $25, amberwavesevent.com: Some 25 breweries showcasing artistic, amber ales benefiting PICA. Presented by Dogfish Head & Victory Brewing.
• “Snakebite Ale + Cider + Punk Rock” at Star Theater (13 NW 6th), 7:30-?, $10: Ten bucks gets you into Cider Riot!’s punk-rock tour de force with Gigantic, Beau’s, and micro-brasserie Trou de Diable. Beers, ciders, and one brewery-cidery collaboration beverage called Snakebite (Kölsch-style ale with apple cider) alongside Northwest punk pioneers D.O.A. and more plus DJ Erock spinning classic punk vinyl.
Friday, April 17
Imperial Bottle Shop’s The Bruery Pop-Up Beer Dinner w/ Coquine Supper Club
What’s a week of beer overkill without an epic beer-pairing dinner? Southeast Division’s newest bottleshop, Imperial, shuts its doors to all but 40 lucky diners who’ll feast on rare Bruery beers (and six courses). Pairings include pours of Sourrento—a limoncello-inspired sour ale—with smoked green faro, artichokes, schmaltz (that’s chicken fat, not the brewery), rosemary, and brown butter bread crumbs through dessert of “Freckle,” a mole-spiced imperial stout, alongside Carolina Gold Rice Pudding with cinnamon, vanilla, orange, and dark chocolate.
Imperial Bottle Shop, 3090 SE Division, 6–9 pm, $88.50 including gratuity, imperialbottleshop.com/events.php
Horse Brass Pub’s “Pioneers of Craft Beer”
A fitting tribute to veterans of Oregon’s craft brewing industry at the pub that started it all here, the Horse Brass under the guidance of Don Younger, R.I.P. Attending pioneers include Deschutes’ Gary Fish, Full Sail’s Irene Firmat and Jamie Emmerson, John Harris from Ecliptic Brewing (formerly McMenamins, Deschutes, and Full Sail), Kurt and Rob Widmer, Alan Sprints from Hair of the Dog, Ken Grossman from Sierra Nevada and Portland and beer luminary Fred Eckhardt, the dean of American beer writers. Drop your jaw as you hoist a pint with the folks who made this whole microbrew thing happen in the first place.
Horse Brass Pub, 4534 SE Belmont, 6-9 pm, no cover, horsebrass.com
Saturday, April 18
Baker’s Dozen, 13 Coffee Beers & 13 Doughnuts at Culmination
In the self-interest of full-disclosure, I created this event as a fitting way to wrap up the Craft Brewers Conference. Wake up to a repast of a baker’s dozen doughnut samples (mainstays like Blue Star and Coco Donuts alongside new favorites like Tulip Bakery and Sweetpea Baking) and a baker’s dozen of the perkiest coffee beers. Special creations include Breakside Salted Caramel Mocha Stout, Oakshire Orange Mocha Frappuccino, and HUB Double-Shot Survival. The only keg of Funky Buddha Brewing’s Maple Bacon Coffee Porter from Florida should be reason enough to attend. Admission includes a total of 13 3-oz beer samples, 13 gluttonous doughnut morsels, and complimentary Ole Latte coffee. Breakfast sandwiches will be available. In a city that boasts nearly 60 breweries and and equal number of coffee roasters, plus an outsized love of artisan doughnuts, this brunch time beerfest just makes sense.
Culmination Brewing, 2117 SE Oregon, 10 am-1 pm, $20, bakersdozenpdx.eventbrite.com
Sour Sunrise at the Hop & Vine
If having our fair hamlet overrun with brewing industry types for the week leaves you with a bitter taste, arise on the Saturday it's officially over with a brunch at the Hop & Vine, tarted up by a trio of Bay Area sour-beer specialists: Almanac Beer Co., the Rare Barrel, and Sante Adairius. Tickets are for twin flights only; the three-course meal is extra, and include a light "mimosa-esque" sampler tray and a dark "coffee-ish" tray.
The Hop & Vine, 1914 N Killingsworth, seatings at 10:30 am, noon, and 1:30 pm, thehopandvine.com/soursunrise