Tomorrow, call in sick. Or call in pre-hungover if you wanna be honest. For today marks the beginning of the 29th annual Oregon Brewers Festival, a beerfest so big it has not been contained to a mere weekend for several years now. And though the fest opens its gates at noon, there’s the matter of the pre-fest Oregon Brewers Brunch & Parade. This year, the official foundation-layer is Laurelhurst Brewing but since it’s sold out, drag your behind into the Green Dragon. The overflow brunch starts at 9 am and $15 gets a buffet, a beer, and the chance to join Rogue’s Monk’s March led by Rogue Leader (an oxymoron if ever there was one) Brett Joyce.

The parade route this year crosses the river via the Hawthorne Bridge and after the inaugural fest cask is tapped by the grand marshal, beer writer and Belmont Station owner Lisa Morrison, you can make like a kid at a birthday party—only instead of darting for fallen candy from a bashed piñata, scrounge up as many four-ounce beer samples as you can before the weekend crowds push you out.

The line-up this year boasts 88 breweries and some 111 beers all in all. Scanning the beer list, it’s clear the breakout style this year is Berliner Weisse, gose, or other like-minded Lactobacillus-soured beers. Having said that, hops still rule the roost with over 20 IPAs (including offshoots like India Session Ales, Imperial IPAs, or other ones that bastardize the beloved acronym by featuring adjuncts ranging from now-normal citrus peel to sake rice and Earl Grey tea).

As such, we've compiled a list of beers we're most looking forward to. And even then, since some are quote-unquote normal styles and some are kooky one-offs with less-than-normal additives, we’re presenting two separate lists. Still, with those 111 beers, a Top 10 didn’t cut it so we went to eleven!


1. 54° 40' Brewing 70 percent Ultra Pilsner. (This Washougal, Washington brewery specializes in Continental light biers.)

2. Brauerei Nothhaft Rawetzer Premium Export Festbier. (German-style beers from local breweries are cool, but try this actual German beer found in the International Beer Garden.)

3. Burnside Brewing Co Cedar IPA. (The cedar chips used for aging should lend a great woodsy, earthy touch to the hop profile.)

4. Georgetown Brewing Co Gusto Crema Coffee Ale. (We drink cold brew coffee all summer long so why not a beer with cold brew? Instead of a stout base, this golden cream ale with flaked oats and corn provides but a platform for the java.)

5. Hopworks Urban Brewery Hellifiknow India Pale Lager. (We dunno about the disco affect that accompanies the marketing of this beer, but this IPL should put a little boogie in your soul.)

6. Lang Bräu Schwarz & Weiss. (Part German schwarzbier—toasty black ale—and part weissbier—fruity white beer—this should be a tasty way to see the beer world in black AND white.)

7. Van Moll Luikse Vechter Luikse Bier. (We love Liege-style waffles. We may love Liege-style beer made with spelt and hardly any barley...nor any pearl sugar nor bacon, brie, and basil.)

8. Melvin Brewing 2x4 DIPA. (Simply put, this is one of the most auspicious award winning hop bombs. Do not miss.

9. Natian Brewery 50 Shades of (Earl) Grey. (IPAs are perfect on their own but that hasn’t stopped brewers from making black IPAs and wit IPAs. We’ve had grey IPAs before and the bergamot unleashes spectacular bitter orange peel notes. We didn’t list this under weird fest-beers because we’d love to see it become a quotidian style.)

10. Shiga Kogen No. 10 Imperial India Pale Ale. (One of the visiting Japanese breweries began as a sake brewery in 1805. For such a new style, we suspect this tastes like a beer that could be deemed traditional in 211 years from now.)

11. Y Market Yellow Sky Pale Ale. (Adding citrus fruit has become almost de rigueur for pale ales. This Japanese brewery’s use of Japanese yuzu fruit ought to fare rather well.)

“Fest beers”

1. Coin Toss Brewing Co Orange Sunshine. (As just mentioned, adding citrus peel or zest is nearly normal nowadays. But in addition to five pounds of heirloom navel orange zest, this Oregon City brewery then poured in the juice of 200 oranges. Jui-cy!)

2. Deschutes Brewery Sagefight IPA. (You don’t see a lot of sage beers—beers with sage rather than wise or sagacious suds—but when you do these herbal ales are often delicious.)

3. Ex Novo Brewing Co All of the Things. (This tart Berliner Weisse is loaded with juices, hops, and habaneros for funsies.)

4. Iwate Kura Beer Japanese Herb Ale Sansho. (An import from the Land of the Rising Sun containing sansho peppercorns, the berries of the spiny Asian shrub, sounds too interesting to pass up.)

5. Jing-A Brewing Co. Guizhou Smoked Chili Porter. (This Chinese brewery is quickly making a name for itself and this beer’s slow-burn should keep that rep. going.)

6. Laht Neppur Brewing Co Flaming Peach & Slanted Rock Brewing Co Señor Jalapeacho. (Last year, this truly spicy and juicy beer dazzled. This year we have TWO beers with sweet peaches and spicy peppers. Can’t wait to see who brews the third one next year.)

7. Lakeland Brewing Co Lipstick on a Pig. (Black peppercorns. Basil. Strawberries. Are we sure Salt & Straw Ice Cream didn’t brew this beer up?)

8. Old Town Brewing Kentucky Refresh-Mint Mint Julep Beer. (Last year, Old Town Brewing had the most buzz-building beer with candycap mushrooms. This year, they segue from forest foraging to the Kentucky Derby. We had the chance to preview this beer at the pub. It smells like a fistful of freshly picked mint sprigs. Whether it tastes like a bourbon-soaked julep or a squeeze out of your tube of toothpaste depends on your personal palate.)

9. PINTS Brewing Co Lemon Curd ESB. (Perhaps the weirdest thing about this beer is that it comes from the traditionalist brewer Alan Taylor. The Brits probably would never add Meyer Lemon to their Extra Special Bitter. But Taylor’s not in Great Britain, is he?!)

10. Rogue Ales Habanero Cherry Imperial Golden Ale. (Habanero peppers add the fire. Montmorency cherries bring the sour. Rogue brings them together.)

11. Zoiglhaus Brewing Co Birra Pazza al Pesto. (Only listed last because we went in alphabetical order, this is our pick to be the most buzzed beer of the fest. It’s made with full on pesto sauce. And it’s also from Alan Taylor of Pints/Z-haus. We’ll see if he’s cheered for his darning or jeered for darning his brand new brewpub’s rep.)