Common Questions

Oregon Brewers Festival

Common Questions

When is the OBF?

The OBF is always held the last full weekend in July. “Full” means that all five days of the festival must fall in July. If Saturday or Sunday falls in August, the festival moves back a week. The 2017 takes place July 26-30.

Where does the OBF take place?

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 sea wall at Pine. The SW Oak Street entrance will put you closest to the token and tasting mug sales

Where can I find parking?

As this event draws around 80,000 people over the five days, downtown parking can be scarce. The closest SmartPark is at SW Naito and NW Davis Street. Our on-site Hopworks Bike Corral, located under the Morrison Street Bridge, lets you park your bike for free and it is manned by volunteers. Public transportation is a great idea when alcohol is involved, and the MAX line drops off only one block from the festival at SW First and Oak Street.

Where is the Hopworks Bike Corral located?

The Hopworks Bike Corral allows you to park your bike for free, where it is watched over by volunteers. It is located just outside the southeast corner under the Morrison Street Bridge; park your bike there first, then enter the festival at the Morrison Street Bridge entrance. Nearly 2,000 bikes are annually parked in the bike corral. This year, the Bike Corral will act as an official drop off point for BIKETOWN bikes.

How much are tickets?

The Oregon Brewers Festival is not a ticketed event, and there is no admission charge to enter the festival grounds. In order to consume beer, the purchase of a 2017 14 oz. souvenir tasting mug is required and costs $7. The festival WILL NOT fill previous year’s tasting mugs or glasses.

Beer is purchased with wooden tokens, which cost $1 apiece. Patrons pay five tokens for a full beer, or one token for a taste. The purchase of mugs and tokens is made on-site, under the same tent, located immediately south of the main entrance at SW Oak Street. The mug/token sales tent is open from Noon to 8:30 pm Wed – Sat, and Noon to 6:30 pm on Sunday; mug and tokens sales stop one half hour prior to the taps shutting off. Mugs and tokens are non-refundable.

Is there anywhere to buy mugs and tokens in advance?

You can pre-purchase mugs and tokens at a few locations around town, including Cascade Brewing Barrel House, Raccoon Lodge & BrewpubBelmont StationRogue Ales & Spirits Portland pubs and Deschutes Portland Pub. Mugs are $7, tokens are $1 apiece. Buying in advance saves you a line at the festival!

Is there a line to get into the festival?

Depending on the time of day, you may see a line at each entrance. It usually moves quickly. Our security company checks the identification of EVERYONE who enters 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 as proof of age in order to gain access to the festival. Valid ID includes a valid state driver license with a photo; a valid ID card issued by a state with photo, name, date of birth and physical description; a valid passport; or a valid United States military identification card. 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. Parents of minors ages 14 to 20 will be required to sign a form accepting responsibility for the minor while onsite. DO NOT purchase a mug for your minor. Minors receive free handcrafted soda in the Crater Lake handcrafted soda garden, served in provided plastic cups (no tasting mugs allowed) for all minors and designated drivers. We also have a face painter in there from 1-5pm Friday through Sunday. The Crater Lake Soda Garden is located on the riverside of the festival, three tents north of the Pine Street Esplanade entrance.

My friend is 20, can he/she come with me?

No, our OLCC license only allows for minors when accompanied by a parent.

Can I bring someone under the age of 21 as my designated driver?

No, our OLCC license only allows for minors when accompanied by a parent.

Can I bring my pet?

Animals are not allowed on the festival site except for ADA recognized service animals while performing their qualifying services. Service animals are working animals, NOT pets. Emotional Support Animals or Companion Animals are not considered service animals under the ADA. We reserve the right to ask you to confirm that your animal is a service animal and ask what specific duties it performs. If you refuse to respond or choose not to communicate that information, we reserve the right to deny entry to your service animal.

Can I bring outside food and beverage into the venue?

Yes, you may bring in your own food and non-alcoholic beverages; be prepared for security to check what you bring in.

Can I bring a blanket or sand chairs?

Yes, but there is limited grass area for setting up a picnic; you’ll want to arrive early in the day to claim a spot.

Can I bring my mugs and tokens from past years?

The 2017 souvenir tasting mug is the only vessel that will be filled. Do not bring in mugs or glasses from past years hoping to use them. The 2017 mug is valid throughout the event, so if you leave and plan to come back, take it with you. If you forget your mug, you will have to purchase a new one. Tokens, however, never expire and may be reused at any future festival.

When do you stop selling mug and tokens?

Mug and token sales stop precisely one half hour before the taps close. On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday this is at 8:30pm. On Sunday, this is at 6:30pm. 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 8:15pm. 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.

Is there an app for the beers?

The best way to find out what’s pouring is to follow Oregon Brewers Festival on Untappd and choose to receive Venue Notifications; you’ll receive push notifications via Untappd on your mobile device when a new beer is tapped in the Specialty Tent and the main festival.

When do taps close?

Taps close at 9pm on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and at 7pm on Sunday. That means no 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.

Why aren't the mugs made of glass?

The Portland Police Bureau has required the festival to use plastic for safety reasons, and the Portland Parks Bureau no longer allows glass in the park. This year’s mug is a high-quality, clear, 14-oz. BPA-free mug.

Does the OBF accept credit cards or checks?

The OBF mug/token sales booth does NOT accept credit cards or checks (credit cards are accepted at the souvenir booth and at one food vendor). The festival does offer eight ATM machines on premise: four are located at the base of the stairs to the Battleship Oregon Monument, north of the mug/token sales booth. Two are located at the south entrance to the north tent, and two are at the north entrance to the south tent. These ATMS have steep service fees, so you are wise to come with cash in hand.

How can I find the beer I want?

The festival is divided into two areas: north and south, with Oak Street being right in the middle. Each area features five semi-trailers that pour at least nine beers apiece. The taps are numbered starting at the first tap at the south end of the park, closest to the Morrison Street Bridge. One through five is on the south end, six through 10 is on the north end. Because the beers are delivered to the park only two days before set up, it is impossible to position them in a set order; when they arrive, they are loaded onto a trailer. You are more likely to find beers by distributor rather than by style or alphabetical order. The best way to locate the beer you want is to check the map inside the program guide, available at no cost.

Will any of the beers run out?

Yes. Be prepared for beers to run out toward the end of the evening and by early Sunday afternoon. The OBF purchases a minimum number of kegs from each of the participants to place them on a level playing field; kegs are tapped on a schedule, rather than just flowing until they run dry. 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 6pm or 7pm on Friday and Saturday night. However, it will be pouring again when we open the next day. If you are coming to taste specific beers, we recommend you come earlier in the day.

Is there any food on site?

There are six restaurants offering a variety of food and non-alcoholic beverages on site. These restaurants do NOT accept tokens; most only take cash, although one (Gustav’s) accepts credit cards.

Is there anything to do besides tasting beer?

Tasting beer is the focus of the OBF, but there are many other activities as well. Joining the breweries are exhibits by homebrewers and breweriana collectors. The Crater Lake Soda Garden offers free handcrafted soda for minors and designated drivers (no tasting mug purchase required), or will sell to drinkers for $1. Live music is offered all five days. A souvenir booth sells OBF merchandise (cash or credit accepted) and a handful of beer related vendors sell their wares.

Can I smoke?

No. The Portland City Council passed a total smoking ban in city parks in 2015, so smoking is not allowed at the Oregon Brewers Festival. This includes both tobacco and marijuana.

If it's called the Oregon Brewers Festival, why are there so many out of state beers?

It’s called the Oregon Brewers Festival because it is a beer festival held in Oregon, not because it features all Oregon beers. The goal of the OBF has always been to create a balance of local beers with beers from outside the state, 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 taste beers never before available.

I don't like beer. Is there wine or cider?

Craft beer is the only alcohol you will find on the premises. We do NOT sell any non-alcoholic beers, wines, ciders or meads.

Are there any gluten-free beers this year?

Yes, we have three gluten-free beers this year from Omission, Deschutes and Ghostfish. All three are denoted as being Gluten Free by their description in the program and on the map inside the program.

Is there water available for drinking?

We have four rinse stations – two at the north trailers and two at the south trailers – that pour potable (safe for human consumption) water. Additionally, most of the food vendors sell bottled water.

Is the event ADA accessible?

Yes. Fencing and other crowd barriers are placed so as to provide an accessible route. The Pine Street concrete access lane across Waterfront Park is left open during setup and throughout the event. The event is located close to accessible public transportation (one block from a MAX Light Rail stop on SW 1st Ave) and an accessible route is available from the public transportation stop to the event. There is accessible paved parking available (at a cost) across the street from the festival grounds, with an accessible route with signage from the parking lot to the activities. There are ADA restrooms available in multiple locations. There is accessible ADA beer service available at two locations on either end of the park (four locations total). These areas are located on the south end between Trailers 2 and 3 and at the north end of Trailer 5; and on the north end between Trailers 7 and 8 and at the south end of Trailer 6. All four locations are marked with ADA access signage and offer dedicated servers who will get the attendee any beer they request from any of the five trailers on the respective section of the park. Food and other beverage options are located on an accessible route, with all self-service items available from a seated position. Accessible tables provide knee space: tables are a minimum of 27″ high, 30″ wide and 19″ deep, with tabletops no higher than 34″. Companion seating is available in the same area.

How do brewers qualify for the event?

The Oregon Brewers Festival is open to craft breweries, as defined by the Brewers Association: annual production of six million barrels of beer or less; less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer; and a brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation (flavored malt beverages are not considered beers). If a brewery meets these guidelines, they are welcome to apply.

The exception is Widmer, Portland and BridgePort; these three breweries were the original founders of the Oregon Brewers Festival in 1988, and therefore are grandfathered in.