Image of the North American Organic Beer Fest courtesy brx0 via Flickr
You work very hard (stop laughing) and you're likely due for a sabbatical, which is great timing, because you were going to have to take June off anyway. Why's that? Because the entire month runneth over with so many do-not-miss Portland booze to-dos, you and your future 30-day hangover simply do not have time for sober pursuits, like, for example, your job. (FYI: In this particular case, honesty is probably not the best policy when filling out your PTO request, ok?) Now that you've cleared the way for a seriously soaked June, start stocking up on tickets to these 11 must-drink events.
Portland Rose Festival CityFair
When: May 20-June 17
Where: Tom McCall Waterfront Park
How much: Varies
What: It's been far too long since you drank too many Long Island Iced Teas and made out with a sailor, right? Say, around a year? The annual Portland Rose Festival has crept up on our fair city once again, and with it the Rose Festival CityFair, a three-weekend-long Waterfront wonder that commences this weekend and includes rides with fun/slightly-terrifying names like Megadrop and the Big Sling, a food fair, and the Rogue CityFair Pub, all of which will undoubtedly leave you happily smelling of beer, elephant ears, and Sailor Jerry spiced aftershave come Monday.
Memorial Weekend in Wine Country
When: May 26-28
Where: Willamette Valley
How Much: Tasting fees vary
What: Much like female gray squirrels, wine country is at its liveliest twice a year — Thanksgiving weekend and Memorial Day weekend. Wineries that are otherwise shy and retiring throw open their doors, corks from new releases fly willy-nilly, and there are sipping specials to be had from the Red Hills of Dundee to the charming downtown flatlands of Carlton. So put the Planet Earth documentary on pause and take a road trip to wine country this weekend, or, if you're really more of an in-town taster, help Buckman's ENSO urban winery celebrate its one-year anniversary with cheese pairings and Chateaneuf du Stark tastings (Sat-Mon, 12-10pm).
When: Friday, June 1, 5-10pm
Where: Oregon Zoo
How Much: $35
What: Sure, you're used to hanging out with some pretty wild animals at most big Portland beer events, be they of the beer geek or frat boy persuasion, but on June 1 everything gets just a little more literal when the Oregon Zoo hosts its popular annual Zoo Brew fundraiser. Zoo Brew features more than 60 regional breweries, over a half dozen cideries, live music by Cool-Ade and DJ Angry Little Man, beer-themed games, and informative beer workshops that address questions like "Have you ever wanted to brew your own beer?" (Yes!), "Do you know where coloring beer comes from?" (High school!), "Do you know how to smell your beer?" (I thought so, but now I feel kind of insecure about it!) and "What do you smell in your beer?" (Future regrets!).
Amnesia Single Hop Fest
When: Saturday, June 2, 12-10pm
Where: Amnesia Brewing, 832 N. Beech St.
How Much: Free admission, pay as you drink
What: This N. Mississippi Street brewery's second annual Single Hop beerfest showcases local beers made with one variety of hop, proving that it does not actually take two to make a thing go right. A grand total of 12 Portland craft brewers are on the tap list, and Amnesia will be grilling up their normal bun-clad fare — Old Country Sausage brats, veggie brats, and cheeseburgers, as well as serving Olympic Provisions' frankfurters poached in Amnesia's own Altbier and served with a specialty house mustard the brewery makes with their single-hop Goldihops beer.
When: Saturday, June 2, Session 1: 11am-2pm, Session 2: 3-6pm
Where: Green Dragon, 928 SE 9th Ave.
How Much: $10
What: Firkin is more than just a tricksy phonetic bypass of obscenity regulations: According to Wiki, it's also equal to nine imperial gallons, 72 pints, a quarter of a barrel, or a half a kilderkin. Thankfully, you won't be tested on any of that at Green Dragon's 5th-annual Firkin Fest, all you have to know is which session to show up for (there are two), and that your $10 is equal to five 4-oz firkin tasters, and that there will be local artisan cheese, charcuterie, and chocolate in attendance.
When: Wednesday, June 6, 6-8pm
Where: Ecotrust Building, 721 NW 9th Avenue
How Much: $10
What:'Tis rare that an environmental organization lures people to their event with promises of "giggle water,"but Ecotrust does just that in its Speakeasy 721 invite and frankly, I like it. On June 6, local band Boy and Bean will fill the Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center with jazzy tunes while Portland's crème de la catering crème joins forces with local distillers and artisan mixers to create six sublime pairings that read like a DOC menu: "New Deal Distillery, Simpatica, B.G. Reynolds Syrups." In case you're wondering what to wear, "period fashion will be admired, but not required," so if you've been glued to the new Great Gatsby trailer like some of us, put your inner flapper to good use choosing an ensemble of Daisy-worthy glad rags.
Portland Beer Week
When: June 7-17
Where: Locations vary
How Much: Event prices vary
What: If you've ever thought there should just be a whole entire week devoted just to beer, nothing but beer, beer sweet beer, this time someone heard your prayers — because here comes Portland Beer Week. Because a true beer week cannot be constrained by conventional measures of time, Portland's biggest beer geniuses have planned 10 days of university-level beer seminars, unique brewfests, state-themed Brewers Nights featuring the industry's most prominent brewmasters, and of course, a Brewers Pop-A-Shot Tourney. Need a quick cheat sheet to the can't-miss events? I have it on good authority that it would be poor form to miss the Kickoff Party, Wake up Your Senses seminar, Sour Beer Blending Symposium, Beer & Food Pairing seminar, and Portland Beer and Cheese Fest.
Portland Fruit Beer Festival
When: June 9-10
Where: Burnside Brewing Co.
How Much: $20 general admission, $25 VIP
What: You know how sometimes, you sit there staring at your reflection in a half-drunk Old German can, wondering what's missing in your life? Well, reading over the Portland Fruit Beer Fest's 23-beer lineup, it's pretty obvious — your life is missing a beer brewed with entire strawberry rhubarb pies. Which leads to the next point — although the Fruit Beer Fest is technically part of Portland Beer Week, it deserves its own shoutout, because it features a beer brewed with entire strawberry rhubarb pies. Crust included. Breakside Brewery has dreamed up this mind-boggling Strawberry Rhubarb Pie beer, Oakshire Brewing is pouring a creamy chocolate orange stout, Widmer Brothers has married Oregon marrionberries and hibiscus flowers, and not to be outdone, Burnside Brewing Company's produced a "Red Light District" beer made with 44 pounds of Belgian chocolate and 400 pounds of strawberries aged in Pacific Rum barrels.
Rosé in the Rose City
When: Thursday, June 14, 5-8pm
Where: Montgomery Park, 2701 NW Vaughn St.
How Much: $25
What: No longer does the tagline "Drink Pink" elicit wine connoisseur scorn — these days, all the cool kids are drinking White Zin's rosy-cheeked second cousin twice removed. And the North Willamette Vintners have come up with a brilliant plan to spread the gospel of pink wine throughout the land — by inviting 18 premium local producers to NW Portland's Montgomery Park for the first-ever Rosé in the Rose City tasting event, where you can sip sweet rosé, dry rosé, and knowing you, too much rosé. Calculate your summer cellar budget before you go because if you fall hard for something and want to take it home, you'll get a special on-the-spot discount.
Portland Cider Summit
When: Saturday, June 23, 11am-7pm
Where: Elizabeth Caruthers Park, South Waterfront
How Much: $20 online, $25 at the door
What: Don't let the official sounding title fool you into polishing your favorite protest sign — this summit's all about that blessed union of fruit, yeast, lactic acid bacteria and time. Although for those of you itching for a new cause, Summit sponsor NW Cider Association does point out on their website that a Craft Cider Revolution is at hand. Not to be outdone by Oregon Beer, they've named June 22-31 the official Oregon Cider Week and the Summit will serve as a kickoff brewhaha, bringing more than 50 crisp craft West Coast, British, French, and Basque ciders to the South Waterfront's Elizabeth Caruthers Park. There will be eats by Lebanese lovely Ya Hala restaurant, apple-pressing demos by Portland's own Bushwhacker Cider, and the Portland Aerial Tram will be offering 2-for-1 rides, because everyone knows you don't drink (cider) and drive (up to OHSU), duh.
North American Organic Brewers Fest
When: Friday, June 29-Sunday, July 1
Where: Overlook Park
How Much: Free admission, glass and tokens extra
What: Is there anything more "summer in Portland" than a festival that simultaneously promotes organic beer and sustainable living? Not really, nope. So here's the drill — take the Max or ride your bike/unicycle to Overlook Park and stash it in the Hopworks Bike Corral (save your tickets from either mode of transport, you get a discount on your cup for being such a greenie), purchase your reusable, compostable cornstarch beer-tasting cup and as many tasting tokens as seems prudent, then Save The Planet, 1 Beer At a Time. (It's the official event slogan, after all.) Need a snack break? Viva! Vegetarian Grill will hook you up with a Polish Soysage. (Once again, not making this up!)