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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Craft Beer Locusts Swarm Portland for CBC '15

In case you've in jail or otherwise indisposed, a swarm of craft beer locusts is descending on Portland for this week's Craft Brewers Conference. The gathering has been held here before, but that was 2001. And a lot has happened in the interim. Once you get past the home demolitions and gentrification, craft beer is arguably the hotting thing going in the city.

Given that reality, this will be one hell of a wild week here. Anyone going anywhere for a beer will be confronted with crowds of beer snobs. Numbers can be kind of nebulous, but sources say we'll have upwards of 15,000 people in town, the majority of them connected to the industry. Gonna be nuts.

Who are these people? Brewers, pub owners, distributors, retailers, scruffy beer geeks. There will also be a crap load of vendors in the convention hall, hawking all sorts of interesting stuff. And don't forget the media folks, probably the worst group of all. Just kidding.

The various media outlets have naturally jumped on the CBC bandwagon with lists of the best events and places to visit. What is it about lists, anyway? Beer geeks seem to love them. If you happen to be following along at home (or on a plane), there are some things you may want to keep in mind as you peruse these lists.

The first thing to know is that this isn't going to be the best week to truly see Portland. Even though we are an event and beer-crazed city, we aren't used to this many events (more than 100, I hear) or equipped to handle this week's flood of bodies. If you really want to experience this city at its best, stop back by when there isn't a giant beer convention in town.

As for the best places, there are some venues that all self-respecting beer fans should visit while on temporary leave here. My own short list includes (in no particular order) Hair of the Dog, The Commons, Cascade Brewing, Belmont Station and the Horse Brass Pub. I don't have any strip clubs on my list, but Brian Yaeger offers some useful assistance with that here.

Finally, there's one thing you definitely want to remember as you go about the business of festing this week. After you've had a few too many and you find yourself enjoying an outing at one of our "finer" establishments, don't forget to claim the company credit card on your way out. It's a small thing.

Looking forward to a fine week.

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