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Portland's Top Boozing Events: Autumn 2012 Edition

Image of Widmer Oktoberfest courtesy official site

In mere weeks, your friend The Sun will be taking a six-month vacation, only to be supplanted by a pile of leaves lazing at your doorstep like a benign squatter. Lovely as this transition can be, it becomes a lot less charming when you think about it as indicating the wet, cold bleakness that'll ensue. In this flurry of changes, find solace in a happy constant: alcohol. Not that you weren't drinking all summer, but "coping mechanism" is a pretty solid excuse to stay in party mode. Here are nine fall booze events, from the mellow to the raucous, to nurse your wounds.

Widmer Brothers' Oktoberfest
: September 7 & 8
Where: Widmer Brothers Brewing, 929 N Russell St.
How much: $6 for a stein (required for drinking beer), $5 per beer fill-up, $1-7 for food.
What: Widmer Brothers' eighth-annual Oktoberfest promises to draw a crowd of 5,000, but since the original 'fest in Munich draws five million, it's up to Portlanders to compensate for the small size with extra debauchery. This NoPo block party will showcase craft beers and German food (which, in its carby fried glory, is a drunken dream come true), plus live music by the Sami Rouissi Band and the Portland Cello Project on Friday night.

Savor Southern Oregon
: September 16
Where: Director Park, 815 SW Park Ave.
How much: $39 in advance, $50 at the door.
What: For a perfect lazy Sunday, bask in the sunshine and gorge yourself on local fare and PNW wines at Savor Southern Oregon. Participating purveyors include Natural Selections, Park Kitchen, and Salt & Straw, not to mention the dozens of local wineries offering a total of 100 different pours. Features include gourmet cheeses, artisan chocolates, wine education stations and live music.

Pacific Northwest Brew Cup
: September 28-30
Where: Astoria's Historic Working Waterfront, 1792 Marine Dr. in Astoria.
How much: Free admission
What: Make a weekend pilgrimage to Astoria for this quaint beer fest — and bring the kiddos. Beneath the shade of the Historic Train Depot alongside the Riverwalk, 36+ craft beers, including selections from Fort George and Astoria Brewing Company, await your choosing. The Brew Cup also features food, family games, and live music by John Heart Jackie, the Resolectrics, Lost Lander, and Finn Riggins.

International Sake Day
: September 29, 12-4p.m.
Where: SakeOne, 820 Elm St. in Forest Grove.
How much: $20
What: Bargain-conscious high rollers, rejoice. Dropping $20 at gets you a flight of six exclusive imported sakes in honor of Sake One's namesake holiday. The medley includes pours from brewing partners Murai Family and Yoshinogawa, including two Daigingo sakes, which SakeOne never serves to the general public. This is a must-go for aficionados of the rice wine, as SakeOne hardly ever offers this many fine imports side-by-side.

Fresh Hop Fests
: September 29, October 5-6, October 20
Where: Varying locations
How much: Varying prices
What: Oregon Brewers Guild presents five different Hop Fests across Oregon, encouraging beerheads to traverse the state to try a multitude of breweries' offerings —like a way less bleak version of the Oregon Trail. The festivities start at the Hood River Hops Fest in Downtown Hood River on September 29 and end at the Willamette Valley Fresh Hops Fest in Eugene on October 20. For a comprehensive list of prices and locations, check out the schedule here.

Portland Cocktail Week
: October 21-25
Where: Varying locations
How much: Varying prices
What: This industry-focused event brings together the best in the bartending business to deliver unconventional cocktails to Portland's most discerning tipplers. From October 21 through the 25 bars throughout the city will be offering Cocktail Week specials. Think beautiful, smoking concoctions that look like the results of grand alchemical experiments. Stay tuned for a comprehensive schedule come October.

Salud! Pinot Noir Auction
: November 9 & 10
Where: Governor Hotel, 614 SW 11th Ave., Portland.
How much: Ticket information available soon.
What: If you shudder at the idea of a glass going un-swirled and un-sniffed, this pair of events is for you. Wine nerds will begin by congregating at Domain Drouhin in Dayton on Friday (from 3 to 6:30p.m.) for a casual tasting and big board auction, where 42 Oregon wineries will preview their best pinot noirs. Five cases from each winery will be available to the highest bidders. The black tie dinner on Saturday night at Portland's Governor Hotel will showcase a dinner to complement the featured Oregon pinot noirs.

NW Food and Wine Festival
: November 10
Where: DoubleTree Hotel, 1000 NE Multnomah St.
How much: $75
What: This is the event de rigueur to schmooze and booze in the presence of the Portland's premier purveyors of food and drink. Dozens of chefs will gather to showcase their culinary delights alongside nuanced wines produced in the Pacific Northwest. This year, 25 chefs will brawl in the "Pate in Portland" competition, wielding silky goose liver as their weapons. With one of the $75 tickets, you can taste all the results.

Beaujolais Nouveau Festival
: November 12
Where: Heathman Restaurant and Bar, 1001 SW Broadway
How much: $70
What: Presented by the French-American Chamber of Commerce and co-organized with the Alliance Francaise of Portland, this event offers a smorgasbord of food and wine to Francophiles and philistines (for a fee, of course). The celebration commemorates a worldwide tradition on the third Thursday of November, when bars begin serving newly harvested wines for fall. Festivities begin at 6p.m. with five wine-pouring stations, a wine auction, a mosaic of charcuterie, and Beaujolais nouveau wine shipped over from France.

— Taylor Thompson

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