Beers By the Bushel

A huge festival of fruit beers shows just how far they’ve come.

30553_545145642202739_1625622456_n“Fruit beer” used to be a punchline. In craft beer’s formative 1980s, fruit beers tended to be too sweet and fruity, hammering the palate with flavors reminiscent of Trix, cherry cough drops, or blueberry bubblegum. Some were earnest experimentations that led to better brews, but too many were marketing gambits aimed, condescendingly, at female drinkers. But thanks to Americans’ wider access to tarter, traditional Belgian beers made with fruit and wild yeast, and also perhaps to a growing national vogue for sour flavors (in yogurt, coffee, bread, cheese, kombucha, you name it), fruit beer has grown up.

The newest fruit brews, inspired by classic Belgian forebears, showcase authentic, refreshingly tart flavors, sometimes enhanced by wild yeast and wood barrel-aging. Citrus notes, from actual fruit and certain varieties of hops—the brewers of Mikkeller and Hill Farmstead earnestly coined the term “ICUs”, or International Citrus Units—are a mainstay. To celebrate this newfound bounty of beers, look no further than Portland, OR, which hosts the 3rd annual Portland Fruit Beer Fest on June 8th and 9th, drawing breweries from the Western US (CO, OR, CA, and WA, primarily). Most of the beers are being brewed specifically for this sizable street-party, so there’s almost no other way to try them (time to check out flights, in other words). How about a hoppy, mango-infused IPA, or a sour currant and raspberry porter? Maybe a tangy kiwi ale? There will also be an array of gluten-free hard ciders, some infused with marionberry, rhubarb, even hops.

Have you tried a good fruit beer lately? Which one? Tell us here.

And read on for details.

3rd Annual Portland Fruit Beer Fest

Regular Festival Hours:
Saturday June 8th 11am - 9pm
Sunday June 9th 11am - 6pm

VIP Hour
Saturday June 8th 10am - 11pm
1 hour early entry to the festival on Saturday June 8th at 10am. Also includes 5 extra tickets for a total of one festival glass and 17 tickets. Plus special beer tappings. Tickets here.

Advanced General Admission
Purchase regular entry tickets in advance and bypass the cash lines. $20 package includes a glass and 12 tickets. Tickets here.

Participating Breweries (subject to change & additions):

1. Alameda
2. Beer Valley Brewing
3. Block 15 Brewing
4. Breakside Brewery
5. Burnside Brewing Co.
6. Bushwhacker Cidery
7. The Commons Brewery
8. Crooked Stave Brewing
9. De Garde Brewing
10. Deschutes Brewery
11. Double Mountain Brewing
12. Falling Sky Brewing
13. Fort George Brewing
14. Gigantic Brewing
15. Hopworks Urban Brewery
16. Laurelwood Brewing
17. Lompoc Brewing
18. Lucky Lab Brewing
19. New Belgium Brewing
20. Oakshire Brewing
21. Solera Brewery
22. Stone Brewing
23. 10 Barrel Brewing
24. 2 Towns Cider
25. Upright Brewing
26. Widmer Brothers Brewing


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