Photo used with permission
  • Photo used with permission

The 11th annual NAOBF begins today, with the O standing for organic. From the park setting in the great outdoors to the natural foods and kids’ zone (though naturally even adults find hula hooping fun), the event, filled with suds and sounds from near-non-stop live music, is all about sustainable living.

This year, the North American Organic Brewers Festival offers 64 beverages—a few ciders and meads get mixed in among the beers—from certified organic breweries as well as regular ol’ craft breweries that recognize the benefit in striving for the Big O. Attendees can sample beers from around the US as well as Canada, England, and Germany.

The latter of those is home to Pinkus Müller, the world’s first certified organic brewery, located in Münster. Their Ur-Pils and Münster Alt will be tapped on today, Friday, and Saturday at 4pm, and will cost two tokens for a taste because it’s more expensive to import them. There’s some tragic irony in the fossil fuel usage needed to export organic beer so far.

Of the 64 (mostly) beers, half are deemed 100 percent organic—meaning the malts and hops are all certified. Another quarter are classified as simply “organic,” meaning the drink is 95 to 99 percent organic by weight. Malts are heavy; hops are light; water is cruelty-free and derived from free-range nimbus clouds. The last quarter are described as having been “made with organic ingredients,” which means 70 to 94 percent of their ingredients are organic, with 6 to 30 percent made with inorganic ingredients. Again, the point is that we can all do more.

Going over the list of available beers, here are some we’re most looking forward to:

Agrarian Ales (Eugene, OR)—Field Bier, made with a single malt and a single hop from Agrarian’s own organic hopyard.

Alameda Brewing (Portland)—The return of Yellow Wolves of Thailand, a DIPA made with Thai basil, ginger, coconut, and mangoes.

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co (Ontario, Canada)—Lug Tread, because it's an all-natural lagered ale.

Loowit Brewing (Vancouver, WA)—Gaiabolical, simply because of the clever name honoring Mother Earth. It’s spiced with certified Salmon Safe hops.

McMenamins Crystal Brewery (Portland)—Oaken Tower Barrel-Aged Ginger Beer, because a wild ale made using American and French oak barrels to age a raspberry-hibiscus ginger beer sounds amazing.

And finally, Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider (Portland), whose Overlook Heirloom, made with a blend of organic Golden Russet and Newtown Pippin apples with raw, local honey only appears once a year and only at NAOBF.

Thursday, August 13 through Sunday, August 16 at Overlook Park (intersection of N Fremont & N Interstate). Free admission; purchase of a $7 reusable, compostable cornstarch cup is required for tasting beer, as are tokens, which sell for $1 apiece.