The Oregon Brewers Festival is one of the nation's longest running and best loved craft beer festivals. Situated on the west bank of the Willamette River, with towering Mt. Hood as a backdrop, it is the ideal venue for anyone who loves craft beer. With a laid back attitude and scores of award-winning beers, the festival reflects the essence of the city of Portland, and is the crowning jewel of Oregon Craft Beer Month.
Better known as the "OBF," the festival was the brainchild of Art Larrance, co-founder of Portland Brewing Co. Art had traveled to the original Oktoberfest in Munich and knew what a big beer party was like. His goal was to re-create a similar atmosphere here in Portland and bring attention to the resurgence of microbrews.
Art and partner Fred Bowman collaborated with craft beer veterans Dick and Nancy Ponzi of BridgePort Brewing Co. and Kurt & Rob Widmer of Widmer Bros. Brewing Co. to produce the first Oregon Brewers Festival in 1988. Despite the limited number of microbreweries nationwide at the time - or perhaps because of that fact- the festival was overwhelmingly successful and has never looked back.
Craft beer has come a long way since then. In 2010, there were 1,759 breweries operating in the United States; 1,716 of these were craft breweries. Small and independent craft brewers have propelled the number of U.S. breweries from less than 100 to more than 1,700 in 30 years. You can find craft beer in grocery stores and service station marts, on restaurant menus and hotel mini-bars, in cans, bottles, growlers and kegs.
The OBF was at the forefront of exposing craft beers to the public, and it continues to do so: this weekend, 84 craft breweries from all parts of the nation will serve more than 30 beer styles to nearly 80,000 beer lovers from around the world. Another 50 specialty beers will be available for tastes in the Buzz Tent. OBF encourages you to gather with your friends, or make some new ones, and raise your mugs in celebration of great craft beer.
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