Guest blog by Jon Abernathy, Beer Connoisseur, author of Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon and founder of TheBrewSite.Com.
This Thursday the Old Mill District’s annual Fermentation Celebration returns to herald the start of the summer craft beer season here in Central Oregon! This is a great “mini” brewfest that’s unique from other beer festivals, taking place across the entire Old Mill shopping district with an open-air walking tour format (check out the event map here). Nearly all of the region’s breweries and cideries are on hand pouring beers and hard ciders, and this year there’s also wine tasting and even an alcoholic kombucha on tap.
I’m excited to see all of Central Oregon’s cider makers represented — including two that are brand new, Tumalo Cider Company and Doc Fields Cider. Tumalo Cider is bringing Semi-sweet, which they say “has a sweet yeasty apple nose, a tart start on the palate, a full apple body with a familiar beer yeast hint, and finishes medium dry.” Doc Fields has Strawberry Kiwi which purports to have “subtle undertones of strawberry and kiwi.”
Of the 23 breweries pouring (plus Tranquilo! which is brewed by Silver Moon), all but three are pouring tasty warm-weather beers under 6.5% alcohol by volume — perfect easy-drinking, thirst-quenching beers to enjoy while walking around the Old Mill along the Deschutes River. And there are a great selection of styles: IPAs and ISAs, Pilsners, summer ales, Kölsches, fruit beer, even a couple of Saisons. And those three stronger beers? Two 7% IPAs and Minotaur from The Ale Apothecary, a specialty wild ale brewed with blackberries in wine and bourbon barrels. (Pro tip: get a taste of that one before it’s gone!)
Don’t forget the homebrewers! That’s another great feature of this beer fest that you rarely find elsewhere: the local homebrew clubs will be on hand, pouring a wide variety of samples of homebrewed beer! (And because of OLCC regulations regarding the sale of home brew — it is all free.) Both the Central Oregon Homebrewers Organization from Bend and the Cascade Fermentation Association from Redmond will have pouring stations and volunteers from the clubs will be talking about brewing beer, beer recipes, and answering questions on how to make beer. Be sure to stop by and try a few samples! And if you’re curious about homebrewing, feel free to ask about it! (Bonus — I might be pouring homebrew as well, so come by and say hi!)
If I have any suggestions, I would seek out the Pilsners to sample (Crux, Bend Brewing, Ochoco, and Craft Kitchen all have Pilsner varieties to try), as well as a variety of IPAs (Shade Tree, Silver Moon, Deschutes Brewery, Cascade Lakes, and Boneyard all have some to try).
Don’t discount the others though– from the Saisons offered by Juniper and Immersion, to Wild Ride’s Quencher Session Ale and Silver Moon’s Mango Daze, to Atlas Cider’s new Dragonfruit hard cider, there’s definitely something everyone will enjoy!
Cheers to a fun beer festival season!