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Thursday, June 07, 2012

The Fruit Frontier

Venue Update.  Commenters have expressed concern about the size of the venue, and I should have mentioned a key change to this year's event. Ezra and crew were caught by surprise that so many people came to last year's fest, so they secured the block of 7th Avenue next to the brewery to substantially increase the space. 

I will hand it to Ezra Johnson-Greenough: he has a flair for drama.  Last year when he launched the Fruit Beer Fest, the native Portlander selected the moments after the city's most sacred (and profane) rite ended.  As drowsy early-risers returned from the Rose Festival's Grand Floral Parade, many walked past Burnside Brewing, where the Fruit Fest was just beginning.  This year, Ezra has swaddled the fest in the activity of Portland Beer Week, making it the signature event.  Fortunately, it's not just another overhyped niche fest--it easily raced to the top tier of last year's best events, and it looks to actually be better for year two.

It's good because Ezra curates the beers, working with the brewers to come up with a diverse range of beers that stretch the boundaries of what we think of as fruit beers.  This year's taplist includes sours, Berliner weisses, IPAs, saisons, stouts, wits, weizens, and lots more.  Used to flavor these beers are coffee cascaras (cherries), lychee, oranges, currants, huckleberry, pomegranate--plus usual fruit like cherries and raspberries (and more).

Saturday and Sunday at Burnside brewing, further details here.  We may even have decent weather.


  1. This is easily the one event I have most looked forward to this year. Last year was fun and I got to partake in some fantastic Beer (the Oakshire contribution was quite good). I'm excited about the Beer line-up this year, but I am concerned about the amount of space in that parking lot. If more people attend than last year it is going to feel more than just a bit cramped in there. That concern won't stop me, and likely everyone else, from attending though. Cheers!

  2. My only fear is that a small, great event will be over publicized and turned into yet another overcrowded event where the size of the crowd takes away all the fun. (Also not happy that they released 30 more VIP tickets at last minute)

  3. Last year was a fun fest (I went on the second day) but crowded. Most beer fests turn into frat parties, and I often feel that if you can't get there when it opens, it's not worth going. We got the early tickets this year though, so I'm looking forward to it! (The sour cider too, which hopefully become a west coast "thing.")

  4. @Eric:

    They got permits to shut down 7th Ave between Burnside and Couch, which effectively doubles their space.

  5. Great blog-- thanks Jeff. My cousin is visiting Portland --I sent him this blog to find his way into some great ales while visiting.

    Good luck.


  6. @Chris

    Thanks. Yeah, I was a little slow in catching on to the info they released about that... I'm pretty happy that they did. Heading down there soon myself. Hope y'all enjoy it.


    The weather looks does look to be cooperating!


  7. The extra VIP spots were not noticed... plenty of room between 10 and 11. Got too crowded though by about 1400. Lines got too long, and idiots standing basically in front of the truck where lines could form, with full glasses (not tastes) getting hammered.

    So, same as last year, go early, leave early.

    The extra $5 for the VIP - totally worth it.