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An Epic Guide to Portland's Spring 2012 Booze Events

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Image of Taste Washington Portland courtesy official site

Dogs and diamonds be damned — this spring, a guy or gal's best friends are milk thistle and coffee enemas, because there are enough wine, beer and spirits events in the next three weeks to pickle even the most stalwart drinker's liver. Here, a round-up of 10 upcoming alcohol-related shindigs that should be inked into your social calendar:

Mountains to Metro
When
: Thursday, April 19, 5-9pm
Where: The Governor Hotel, 614 SW 11th Ave.
How much: $40
What: The Governor's Heritage Ballroom will host 35 wineries from the Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge viticultural regions, with eats by the likes of Coppia, Davis Street Tavern, Irving Street Kitchen, Olympic Provisions, and Simpatica Dining Hall. This one's coming up soon, as in tonight, so cancel that blind date you had planned (it probably wasn't going to work out anyway) and chat up the folks sniffing and swilling at the J.K. Carriere booth instead.

Taste Washington Portland
When
: Monday, April 23, 6-9pm
Where: Pure Space, 1315 NW Overton St.
How much: $50 each/$90 for 2
What: Get to know our northern neighbor over drinks at this celebration of Washington wines — 75 Washington wineries large and small will be pouring everything from Merlot to Rosé at airy Pure Space in the Pearl District, complimented by eats from Metrovino, Laurelhurst Market, Bar Avignon, Wildwood, Cheese Bar, Chop Butchery, Alma Chocolate, and Saint Cupcake.

Unwine'd
When
: Sunday, April 29, 3-6pm
Where: Leftbank Annex, 101 N. Weidler
How much: $50
What: So you think you can drink? You'll need that kind of confidence, because Unwine'd is bringing a whopping 100 Oregon wineries together at the Leftbank Annex for an afternoon of serious speed-tasting. Sponsored by Oregon Wine Press, NW Palate, Travel Oregon and Carlton Farms, Unwine'd will also have 13 local restaurants and a chocolatier on hand, which is pretty much everything you could ever ask for.

Dundee Hills Passport Tour
When
: The entire month of April
Where: Dundee Hills
How much: $20 (or $15 with the secret Facebook password)
What: Regular passports serve a pretty basic function — getting you in and out of America without having to cross the frozen St. Lawrence River in the trunk of a car — but the Dundee Hills Passport gets you in and out of 30 participating wineries with 50-100% reduced tasting fees, special offers from area restaurants, shops, inns and B&Bs, and entry to win a June wine country weekend. Which is so much better than a regular passport.

Cheers to Belgian Beers
When
: Saturday, April 21, 12-9pm
Where: Metalcraft Fabrication, 723 N Tillamook St.
How much: $20 for 10 drink tickets and a requisite stemmed tasting glass
What: With nearly 50 Oregon craft breweries making signature Belgian-style beers from a common yeast strain just for this event, Cheers to Belgian Beers is a big blip on the beerdar of Portland's serious brewficionados, and you might want to brush up on your beer terminology so that you can hold your own when talk turns to banana esters, phenolic content, and fermentation temperatures.

TOAST
When
: Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29, 3-8pm
Where: World Trade Center, 121 SW Salmon St.
How much: $49 at the door, $40 in advance with code "SITE"
What: Boasting the distinction of being North America's largest public craft spirits tasting, the Oregon Distiller's Guild's "Oregon Artisan Spirits Tasting" will showcase over 50 local, national, and international artisan producers — everyone from Portland's own House Spirits Distillery to Seattle's Oola Distillery to Brazil's Novo Fogo. The event promises to pour more than 100 different spirits, which is making us reach blindly for the aspirin bottle, a Bloody Mary, and a bowl of pho just writing this.

Oregon Garden Brewfest
When
: Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28
Where: Oregon Garden, Silverton
How much: $15-$25
What: Take a day trip (or a weekend trip, or an unplanned "sleep in the car because I drank too much chocolate chile porter" overnighter) down to Silverton for the either-annual Oregon Garden Brewfest, held in the Grand Hall of Silverton's Oregon Garden, a lush 80-acre botanical paradise. More than 40 breweries will be pouring nearly 100 brews and there will be live music, tasting lessons courtesy of Women Enjoying Beer, and an Oregon Garden Homebrew Competition. Online ticket buyers are promised "quicker entry" which sounds good, so get on that.

Astoria Warrenton Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival
When: Friday through Sunday, April 27-29
Where: Clatsop County Fairgrounds
How much: $5-$10
What: Wine, beer, and crabs are a natural fit, particularly at the ever-popular Astoria Warrenton Chamber of Commerce's Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival, which fills the Clatsop County Fairgrounds with tipples, seafood, and arts and crafts booths galore. Stay overnight in quaint Astoria or Warrenton, and ditch the car — a half dozen shuttle routes have been set up, all named after seafood, which means you can now cross riding the Tuna Bus to the Crab Festival off your bucket list.

Cinco De Mayo
When: Friday through Sunday, May 4-6, 11am-11pm
Where: Tom McCall Waterfront Park
How much: $8 adults/$4 kids/free on Friday from 11am-3pm
What: It's incredibly fortunate that Cinco de Mayo falls on a Sabado this year, because you are going to require Domingo and maybe even Lunes to recover from this wild waterfront fiesta. There will be mariachis. There will be piñatas. There will be a Bollywood dance-off. (???) There will be authentic Guadalajaran artists. There will be chile rellenos. There will be an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for Largest Gathering of People Wearing Sombreros (seriously). And there will be many, many cervezas con limón.

Taste of the Nation
When
: Tuesday, May 8
Where: JELD-WEN Field
How much: $85-$185
What: You know how you're always saying that two of your life goals are to eat better and give more money to charity? Well, here's your chance to do both at the same time — not only is Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation the year's premiere food and wine event, with a carefully curated vendor list that puts you in the simultaneous presence of more Portland food and drink movers 'n shakers than you ever dreamed possible, but 100 percent of the proceeds goes to fight child hunger: with one in four Oregon children going to bed hungry at night, this is no small cause. The beverage list alone includes pours by everyone from Adelsheim Vineyard to Bull Run Distilling Co. to Oakshire Brewing Company.

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