CORVALLIS -- About 1,200 microbrew-beer connoisseurs and crafters are expected to converge Saturday on the Benton County Fairgrounds for the third annual Septembeerfest. Organized by the Heart of the Valley Homebrewers club, the event brings together those who know the meaning of terms such as grain bill, sparge and wort as well as those who simply enjoy pouring one of the oldest beverages on the planet into a glass and drinking deep.
Local microbrewers such as Block 15 will be there to unveil a secret-recipe barrel-aged brew. Participants can select samples from among almost 50 specialty beer varieties not available in major grocery aisles.
Joel Rea, the owner of Corvallis Brewing Supply, and the official self-described beermonger of the event, said that in addition to many local and regional microbreweries, samples will come from California, Hawaii and Pennsylvania. Even five beers from the prestigious Weihenstephan Brewery of Freising, Germany, which dates back to the year A.D. 1040, will be available. Although he’s anticipating a good turnout, he’s hoping it stays at 2,000 or fewer, to keep a more intimate feel.
What will not be available this year is home-brewed beers, the result of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s stepped-up enforcement of a 1979 law which limits consumption of homebrewed beer to the place where it was made. That is a restriction that homebrewers hope to repeal.
“We hope that (ban) will be short-lived,” Rea said. The members of the homebrewers club and others intend to seek its overturn during the 2011 Legislative session in January.
However, the Septembeerfest is expected to have enough microbrewed craft beers to suit those who attend. Flavors of beer will range from fruit-flavored beer to a heavy black ale made with several varieties of toasted hops.
The “official” beer of the event is a wheat beer from Ninkasi Brewing dubbed “Weizelweizen.” (For a complete list of Septembeerfest beers, a description and alcohol content, see this article under the Entertainer link at gazettetimes.com).
Organizers have gone to great lengths to assure that participants can sample beers and still get home safely.
To encourage designated drivers to attend, they have waived the $10 admission fee for them. Foods from Block 15, Nina the Pretzel Queen and El Sol de Mexico will be available. Music will be courtesy of Wild Hog in the Woods, the Beaver Country Hot Air Band and the El Kabong Orchestra.
A shuttle will pick up those headed for Septembeerfest every half hour at Reser Stadium at 26th Street and Western Boulevard, at the Block 15 microbrewery at the corner of Southwest Jefferson Avenue and Fourth Street, and Squirrel’s Tavern at 100 S.W. Second St.
Corvallis Transit buses will be running free on Saturday because of the 38th Fall Festival in Central Park, and that means those who would like to hitch a ride to the Septembeerfest can simply jump aboard the C3 bus, which will take them to the fairgrounds.
Tasting is under tents, so that rain would not stop the fun, but might not be necessary. Corvallis’ forecast for Saturday calls for warm, sunny weather.
At press time, the microbreweries that were to have entrants in the event included Block 15 and its mysterious barrel-aged entry, of Corvallis; Oregon Trail Brewery, Corvallis; Calapooia Brewing Co., Albany; Deschutes Brewery, Bend; and Rogue Brewing Co., Newport.
The proceeds from Septembeerfest will benefit the Linn Benton Food Share. Sponsors include Corvallis Brewing Supply, Squirrel’s Tavern, the Calapooia Brewing Co., Block 15 Brewing, Brew Design, Ninkasi Brewing, and Brew Station.