Oregon Gardens Bloom and Brew

April 22, 2010

This Friday and Saturday, April 23rd & 24th, is The Oregon Garden’s 6th Annual Brewfest in Silverton, OR. I attended the 2nd Annual Brewfest, which was called Bloom and Brew at the time, and last year’s festival. I still tend to call it Bloom and Brew, as several places have a brew fest, but there is only one Bloom and Brew that I know of in this region. It makes it unique.

Admission this year is $15, but the price includes a mug and about 10 tasting tickets. My first year, the glasses were small eight ounces done up in a sleak beer style mug. I heard for awhile that they changed to plastic due to broken glass and a change of sponsors, but when I went back last year they gave us a nice clear coffee cup style mug that had a line on it. The line indicates a “tasting” of 1 ticket versus a full glass, which usually runs at least 3 tickets. My husband and I actually use these mugs as our official homebrew tasting mugs, even for my wines.

The tastings are done in a pavilion, and there are slated to be 39 different breweries or brew pubs represented (actual 40 – Wandering Aengus Ciderworks was a late addition), each one bringing two or three of their beers to try, most of which are bottled and distributed if one looks for it in stores. There is a little bit of food to be had, but this is most definitely a place where I have packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for.

This is an event I go to with my aunt and uncle who do not live very far from Silverton. We get there early to avoid the crowds, as when we leave usually around 3pm, it is very packed. There is no seating, and very few small tall tables. It is also very warm at that point.

After leaving the pavilion, we wander around the gardens for a bit or ride the little tram they have. Thing is, it always seems to be a rainy blustery day, so trying not to overdress for inside, but being dressed enough for outside is very tricky.

The first time I went, I drank very little except for the Spire Mountain Apple and Pear Ciders there because I did not like beer at the time. I really had no interest in going back, but then I got engaged to a guy who loved beer, so I thought I should take him. Luckily, a few weeks prior, we finally found a beer I would drink an entire glass by myself, which was a honey orange wheat. The Bloom and Brew Fest last year had quite a number of other fruit wheat beers that I found to be decent and could drink the small samples and also a glass of one, while my fiancé (now husband) was quite happy that several dark stout type beers were still to be found. Spring is a season where you can find both without much hassle as they fade the darker winter beers out in favor of the pale summer beers.

This was a must return to beer festival on my husband’s list.

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