Ok, so I’ve been thinking about this whole Oregon Craft Beer Month, frustrated at the fact that we have a whole “beer month” but the excitement just isn’t there. Organization? Honestly I’d trade for Seattle beer week any day.Craft Beer Month is what it is. The intention is not to appeal to the fringe of extremely sophisticated connoisseurs who read and write beer blogs. We have so many events that do that already we've grown complacent. (Fresh hop ale season, the cask beer fest, Cheers to Belgian Beers, an organic beer fest, a winter beer fest under the Christmas tree in downtown Portland--the list goes on and on.) We don't need Craft Beer Month to be a specialty event because we already have those.
Rather, it's a huge group hug for the Oregon beer industry and an open invitation for all-comers to belly up to the bar, any bar, for some really good beer. It's not exclusive, it's inclusive. There are 140 events across the state, and if you can't find something interesting, you're just not that interested in beer. Nearly every brewery will roll out something new and special and most will throw a bash. Can't stand the OBF? Can't find anything you like from among the 150 beers at PIB? No worries--try Puckerfest or the Concordia Ale Cup or Hopworks Bike Fest or try some cheese and beer pairings with Fred Eckhardt.
If you go into Craft Beer Week thinking it is anything other than a big party, I would suggest--gently--that you're missing the point. When you're in the backyard hanging with friends and someone brings out a half-rack of Pacifico, you don't whinge that it's not Boon Geuze--you crack a bottle and enjoy it. Of course, in this case, you will have an abundance of extremely good beer, not Pacifico. So what if it's familiar? Craft Beer Month is a party, and parties are good things. There's no region on the planet that celebrates beer in more ways than we do. I expect to find a way to have a good time and celebrate that fact.