Looking at the lineup of brewers planning to pour during the 2012 Hood River Hops Fest on Saturday, Sept. 29, veteran quaffers couldn’t be blamed for a fresh flush of excitement.
Yes, fresh beer will be here, but the names on the labels are even fresher. With new breweries popping up right and left, the festival will give beer-lovers a chance to sample production from craft brewers based in Hood River, sure, but also from as far away as Astoria, Bend, Eugene, Pacific City, Chico, Calif., Seattle, Wash., and Ontario, Ore.Hood River’s finest will be represented by Full Sail, Double Mountain, Pfriem Family, Big Horse, Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, and Solera Brewing (Parkdale).
Yep, six craft brewers for a county of 22,000 people — one for every 3,666 people. Factor in pours from Everybody’s Brewing in White Salmon and Walking Man Brewing in Stevenson, and one could rightly say that Gorge dominates the lineup.
Portland, however, which loves to celebrate itself as home to more craft breweries than any city in the country, will send a host of entrants. Among them will be relatively new names Breakside (just over two years old, and expanding like a … beer belly), Burnside and Gigantic (an ironically named 2012 arrival).
Craft beers in Ontario, Oregon? Yep. Beer Valley Brewing has been kicking out strong ales for the last five years. Thanks to a host of awards for its beers, the Pelican Brewery from Pacific City has earned a little more reknown. Look for contributions from Ninkasi, Sierra Nevada, Fort George, Widmer, Lucky Lab, New Old Lompoc, Terminal Gravity and other familiar names.
The Hops Fest moves up a week this year, from its longtime station on the first Saturday of October. With the blessing of the weather gods, the event will have a better chance of dodging showers and delivering warm weather perfect for sipping suds.
Gates open at noon, and close at 9 p.m. The event venue hasn’t changed, either, based on the public parking lot between 5th and 7th streets, Cascade and Columbia streets (just south of Full Sail’s brewhouse). Live music, beer-friendly food and a Kids Zone will expand the attractions to something for the entire family.
Admission is $6 for adults, which includes a beer mug. Taste tokens are $1 apiece.