This was the 8th annual Brewfest in Silverton. The event kicked off with a Brewers' Tasting dinner Thursday evening...a six course meal paired with six different beers. Then came the main event Friday and Saturday, featuring more than 90 beers and ciders from 45 different breweries. Live music, food, tasting lessons and beer trivia courtesy of Women Enjoying Beer, as well. Sounds pretty good, huh?
|The Tasting dinner menu|
In an effort to boost attendance and event prestige, the Oregon Garden did something smart: they enlisted Chris Crabb, the presiding guru of beer event promotion in Oregon. Chris has run the Oregon Brewers Festival forever and is well known in the beer community. She does her job well, always.
I suspect Chris contributed a lot to the pre-event messaging plan. Because she knows the value of getting the beer media involved, she enlisted the help of many bloggers. In exchange for chatting up the event, we were given access to the tasting dinner, the festival and other goodies. (That's disclosure)
|The pavilion Friday afternoon, before it got crazy|
The beer list was decent enough. A close review of the 45 breweries reveals that 25 came from Oregon. That number rises to 27 if you include Redhook and Kona, both (Portland-based) Craft Brew Alliance brands. The only other state with significant representation was California with 8.
|Women Enjoying Beer...Emily and Ginger|
The bottom line is this was a well-organized, fun event. Of course, I wasn't there during the peak times, so I may have missed things that didn't go right. It must have been nuts inside the pavilion when things got crazy at night. That's something they'll have to adjust for as the festival grows.
The only unforced error I saw, and it may well be due to some entrenched policy at the Oregon Garden, is they were charging $5 for festival parking. Seriously? Most of the folks attending this festival drove significant miles to get there. Why would you greet them with a frivolous fee for parking? When you hit your ultimate attendance goal, start charging for parking...the next year.
Well, that about wraps her up. The next Oregon Garden Brewfest is set for April 26-27, 2013.