Everyone is still currently recovering from the craziness that was Portland Beer Week. A week of 60+ events involving beer tasting, scavenger hunts, arm wrestling competitions, tap takeovers, bottle releases, and much more. The week was a whirlwind of awesome people and beers that blew my mind.
I have to applaud the ingenuity of the event planning that occurred this year. There were some events that were repeats of last year and were still were wildly successful. Every year Portland Beer Week continues to evolve with new events.
There were some repeat events this year were just as good as last year. I think these repeat events were the foundation of the beer week and made it enjoyable for the full 7 days. Even though they were repeated they were unique from past years.
The first event was the Scavenger Hunt hosted by Port City Running Tours and John Stevens. Last year the event was being held at Rising Tide Brewing Company. They had lots of space and the weather was perfect! This year the event was hosted at The Thirsty Pig with a large tent in the alleyway behind the bar. The event was just as creatively fun as last year and still promoted local beers at local bars. Since it was the day after Halloween the scavenger hunt promoted a costume friendly event. A fun fact is that John Stevens tested out the brewery running tours during Portland Beer Week’s inaugural year. Since then Port City Running Tours has been doing regular brewery running tours.
The Tales From The Brewhouse is one of the most underrated events during the week and started 2 years ago during Portland Beer Week’s first year. I heard great things about the event last year and knew I couldn’t miss it this year. Basically, beer industry people grab the microphone at Andy’s Old Port Pub and tell the funniest stories they can. It seemed as though the entire audience was in the beer industry already so everyone already knew each other.
Over The Hops was an event that continues year at In’Finiti from its inception last year. The Superhero Ladies Armwrestlers of Portland (SLAP) worked together with the Beer Mavens to host an armwrestling tournament. The whole event employs World Wresting Entertainment (WWE) style theatrics with dressing up in character and having an entourage. The event follows a set of rules specifically to competitive armwrestling with a regulatory table. This event is always a riot to see with the over-the-top theatrics acting.
The Oxbow private bottle tasting at Novare was a repeat of last year. This is a very intimate event with the brewers and owners of Oxbow Brewing Company at Novare Res Bier Café. This event is ticketed but it allows you to try some new and old bottles of Oxbow beers that are extremely rare. Not only do you get to try the beers but the brewers will explain the stories behind brewing them. On a similar and separate note, Oxbow just opened their brand new tasting room on the east end of Portland during Portland Beer Week. Check out what The Beer Babe thoughts of the new tasting room.
Another repeat event was Nosh’s Cellar Night. This is always a treat for beer geeks like me because Nosh collects some wonderfully tasty beers in their cellar. Last year Nosh broke out a keg of Sebago Brewing Company Grand Cru as well as other gems that aged quite well. Nosh is always a great stop for beer week because the heavy, rich, and delicious food they serve (like the Bacon Dusted Fries) make the perfect foundation for drinking beer.
The Blind IPA Tasting is a challenge that nobody’s ever completely accomplished yet. It’s been hosted at The Thirsty Pig for the past few years. They give you 10 different Maine IPAs in 5 oz. samples. Your challenge is to name all of them and you win $500. I’ve always had the unfortunate luck to miss this event every year. I’ve heard a few strategic practices that I won’t share publicly from people who get very close to naming all of them. My plan is to start training a few weeks out next year for the IPA challenge so I can walk away the winner.
There is so much to take away from Portland Beer Week that I can’t fit it all in one blog post. Well, I could but you wouldn’t want to read something that’s a few thousand words long would you?