When is the OBF held?
The OBF is always held the last full weekend in July. "Full" means that all four days of the festival must fall in July. If Saturday or Sunday falls in August, the festival is moved back a week. The 2009 event will take place July 23, 24, 25 & 26.
Where is the OBF held?
The OBF is always held at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. The event takes place between the Morrison and Burnside Bridges. There are four entrances: under the Morrison Street Bridge, at SW Oak Street, at SW Pine Street, and along the Seawall at Pine. The SW Oak Street entrance will put you closest to the token and mug sales.
Where can I find parking?
As this event draws more than 70,000 people over the four days, downtown parking can be scarce. We have a few other suggestions: we have an on-site bike corral where you can park your bike for free - enter the festival on the northeast side of the park, along the seawall. Last year, nearly 400 bicycles were checked in. Also, public transportation is always a good idea when alcohol is involved. The MAX line drops off only one block from the festival at SW First and Oak Street.
Why is there a line to get in?
You will see a line for this entrance. Don't let it scare you. It moves quickly. Why a line at all? The Oregon Brewers Festival policy is to check the identification of all who enter the festival to ensure they are of proper drinking age. To help the line move quickly, please have your ID ready, and make sure it is one of four types accepted by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
What is the appropriate ID to get in?
No matter what your age, please be prepared to show proper identification in order to gain access to the festival. Valid ID includes an Oregon Identification card, any state driver's license or ID card with photo, a passport, or a United States military identification card with photo. We are unable to accept any foreign driver's license (with the exception of Canada). Note that the identification cannot be expired at the time of the festival.
Can I bring my child?
Minors are allowed during all hours of the OBF with a parent; guardians are not acceptable. Minors are encouraged to attend the root beer garden, in which complimentary handcrafted root beer is served in cups (no mugs allowed) for all minors and designated drivers.
Can I bring my pet?
Animals are not allowed on the festival site with the exception of ADA animals. This restriction is due to Oregon State Health Department regulations in regards to the on-site restaurants.
What does it cost to enter the festival?
Entrance into the Oregon Brewers Festival is free, if you want to walk around, check out the food vendors, or listen to the live music. In order to consume beer at the OBF, you must purchase a taster package. Taster packages are available in $10, $20 and $50 increments. All packages include a 2009 souvenir mug, which is required for consuming beer (mugs from previous years will not be filled); a souvenir program that offers detailed information on the beers at the event and a map of the taps, indicating which beers are pouring out of which trailer; and various quantities of tokens, which are used to purchase beer. Patrons pay four tokens for a full mug, or one token for a taste. Additional tokens may be purchased at $1 apiece.
- $10 package: one mug, one program, four tokens
- $20 package: one mug, one program, 14 tokens
- $50 package: two mugs, two programs, 38 tokens
Mugs are good throughout the event weekend, so if you leave and plan to come back, then take your mug with you. The mugs are plastic, as glass is not allowed at public parks. We offer recycling bins at every exit for the mugs.
Beer servers do not accept cash. Tokens cost $1 apiece and it takes four tokens to fill your mug, or one token for a taster. Mugs and tokens are non-refundable. However, the tokens are good at the next year's festival. So if you buy 20 tokens and don't use them all, you can save them for next year, or the year after that. They also make good toys for your cat if you have hardwood floors!
Taster packages and additional tokens are sold under the same tent, located immediately south of the main entrance at SW Oak Street. The mug/token sales tent is open from 11:30 am to 8:30 pm Thurs - Sat, and 11:30 am to 6:30 pm on Sunday.
When do mug and token sales cease?
Mug and token sales stop precisely one-half hour before the taps are closed. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday this is 8:30 p.m. On Sunday, this is at 6:30 p.m. Be aware of this when scheduling your visit to the festival. Because lines do exist, we recommend that you don't come to the festival on Friday night at 8:15 p.m. Chances are that by the time you get to the front of the line, we will close and you will be unhappy. We want you to be happy. So come prepared and allow yourself plenty of time.
When do taps close?
Taps close at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and at 7 p.m. on Sunday. That means no more beer is poured after those times. You can hang out for a little while after that, but security will do a sweep about one-half hour after the taps close asking you to leave.
Does the OBF accept credit cards or checks?
Neither the OBF mug/token sales booth nor the food booths accept credit cards or checks (credit cards are accepted at the souvenir booth). The festival does offer two ATM machines on premise: one is located at the base of the stairs to the Battleship Oregon Monument, north of the mug/token sales booth. The second is located at the eastside of the entrance to the north beer tent.
How can I find the beer I want?
There are two beer tents located at either end of the park. These are referred to as the North Tent and the South Tent. Each tent features four semi-trailers that pour 10 beers apiece. The taps are numbered starting at the first tap at the South end of the park. The South end contains Trailers One through Four. Trailer One pours taps 1-10; Trailer Two pours taps 11-20; Trailer Three pours taps 21-30; and Trailer Four pours taps 31-41 (this includes our special Collaborator beer). On the North end of the park, Trailer Five pours taps 42-51; Trailer Six pours taps 52-61; Trailer Seven pours taps 62-71; and Trailer Eight pours taps 72-81.
There is a map of the taps inside the souvenir program.
Will any of the beers run out?
Yes. Be prepared for beers to run out toward the end of the evening and by Sunday afternoon. Why? The OBF purchases 15 kegs from each of the participants to place them on a level playing field; three kegs are poured on Thursday, five on Friday, six on Saturday, and one on Sunday. For a variety of reasons, some beers appeal to the sampling appetites of many, and therefore sell faster - so there is a good chance that the beer "everyone is talking about" will probably run out by 7 p.m. on Friday night. However, it will be pouring again on Saturday afternoon. If you are coming to taste certain beers, we recommend you come earlier in the day.
Why is there only one beer allowed from each brewery?
The purpose of our festival is to promote as many breweries as possible, not as many labels. Each brewery that enters the festival is made aware of this policy, and makes a decision about which beer it wants to promote.
Is there any food on site?
There are seven on-site restaurants offering a variety of great food and non-alcoholic beverages. These restaurants do accept cash but do not accept tokens.
Can I bring outside food and beverage into the venue?
Yes, you may bring in your own food and non-alcoholic beverages; however, beverages, such as a water bottle, must be sealed; otherwise, security guards will empty them at the gate. This is to eliminate outside alcohol being brought in.
Is there anything to do besides tasting beer?
Tasting beer is the focus of the OBF, but there are many other educational activities as well. Joining the breweries are industry exhibits by hop growers, homebrewers, breweriana collectors, and national beer writers. Oregon Beverage Works presents the Crater Lake Soda Garden with free handcrafted root beer for minors and designated drivers (no mug purchase required). Great live music is offered throughout the weekend. A souvenir booth sells OBF merchandise (cash or credit accepted) and a handful of beer related vendors sell their wares.
Is smoking allowed?
Tom McCall Waterfront Park is public property and the OBF does not have the authority to require no smoking on the festival grounds. We do request that smoking is kept outside of the main tents. If you must smoke, please do not litter: use the butt cans located throughout the festival grounds.
Why are there so many out-of-state beers?
Oregon is home to 96 breweries. There are more than 140 places you can go to and drink an Oregon brewed beer owned by an Oregon brewery. You can pick up a six-pack of local craft beer at almost any grocery store, and you can try special, seasonal brews right where they are made. It would be easy to create a festival simply featuring Oregon's wonderful beers. However, the goal of the Oregon Brewers Festival is to create a balance of local beers with beers that are not generally distributed throughout the Portland area, thus exposing the local public to beers they might not have the opportunity to try. We are also fortunate that many of our local breweries brew beers specifically for this event, so the public still has the opportunity to try beers they have never before tasted.
Is there any alcohol besides beer on the premises?
Handcrafted beer is the only alcohol you will find on the premises. ÝThere are no non-alcoholic beers, wines, ciders or meads available.
Are there any gluten-free beers this year?
Unfortunately not. The brewers choose which beer they wish to send, so contact your favorite brewery and begin campaigning for them to submit a gluten free beer for 2010!
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