By Patty Mamula
For the Oregon Beer Growler
As the executive director of the Oregon Brewers Guild, one of Brian Butenschoen’s main responsibilities is publicizing and promoting the organization. Yet, he avoids publicity and promotion about himself. He prefers to stay out of the Oregon Brewers Guild picture and keep the member breweries front and center.
The Oregon Brewers Guild was established in 1992, originally named the Greater Oregon Brewers Association, and is the second-oldest nonprofit trade association for brewers in the U.S. Its mission is to protect and promote Oregon breweries.
With new craft breweries popping up daily in Oregon, the Guild continues to grow, both in size and influence. Membership includes 156 brewing companies, 125 associates that aren’t breweries but provide business services to the craft beer industry, and 3,500-plus enthusiasts called SNOBs — Supporters of Native Oregon Beer.
Brian always refers to Guild activities in the first person plural construction, as in “We print 75,000 copies of the Brew-Ha! map, showing all the member breweries.” Or, “We put on a 900-person dinner for all our supporters and friends every year.” However, since Brian is the only full-time employee, he surely deserves most of the credit for any and all Guild activities. He is the third executive director, a position he’s held since 2005.
One of the Guild’s primary vehicles for promotion is special events and festivals. Probably the best-known and certainly the most popular is Zwickelmania. The one-day open house held on the Saturday of President’s Day weekend began in 2009 and attracted 6,000 visitors to 20-30 breweries that year. Compare that to 2016 when 45,000 people visited 120 participating beer makers who provide brewery tours and special tastings.
Brian said, “It started with six of us sitting around a table and someone came up with the idea of an open house. When would be a good time? We agreed that it should be on a holiday weekend when breweries were NOT busy, when they wanted to see more people visiting them. That’s how we came up with the Saturday of President’s Day weekend.”
Now most participating breweries are so busy on Zwickelmania, they schedule extra staff and often have to control the number of people allowed through the door at one time. The event takes its name from the zwickel sample valve on beer conditioning tanks that allows brewers to take samples during the fermentation process.
What does it take, behind the scenes, to put on this event? The Guild — as in Brian — does all the promotion, signs up the breweries, handles the public relations and marketing, lists the participating breweries on the Guild website and creates maps for the six regions of Oregon. Suggested itineraries are also posted, grouping participating breweries by location.
The Guild sponsors two other main events in Portland. Cheers to Belgian Beers started 10 years ago and was held in May in 2016. Then there’s the Portland Fresh Hop Beer Fest, which has happened every fall. Now in its 13th year, the harvest celebration is slated to take place Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1 at Oaks Park.
In addition to a few other collaboration events with The Portland Mercury newspaper, like the Malt Ball, Brian tries to make sure the Guild is represented at many of the other festivals around the state. “We have tables and booths at the Spring Beer and Wine Fest, at the KLCC Microbrew Fest in Eugene, at the Oregon Brewers Festival, the North American Organic Brewers Festival and the Great American Beer Festival in Denver,” said Brian.
Events, large and small, mean planning, planning and more planning. Each one starts with a budget. Next, participating breweries are lined up. A venue is selected. People are informed about the event through public relations campaigns and marketing sales and website updates. Food vendors are arranged along with infrastructure providers who set up tents, tables, chairs and the ever-essential porta-potties.
Again, Brian is the main person responsible for coordinating and arranging these events.
Brian’s interest in beer stems, in part, from his family’s background in homebrewing. Following his great-grandfather and uncle, Brian took up the hobby in 1999 and decided to enroll in the Beer Judge Certification Program that same year. Brian also served as vice president and president of the Oregon Brew Crew, Oregon’s oldest homebrew club. Around that time he also started working at Belmont Station. He was fortunate enough to snag shifts on Fridays — free beer tasting days — which meant face time with the brewers who attended these events. He stayed on there until 2006, overlapping with his start at the Guild.
Events and promotions, important in their own right, are only part of the Guild’s duties. The other responsibility is protecting the industry.
“The Guild participates in decision making at the local, state and federal level. We stay out of lobbying and leave that to our individual members,” said Brian. “But we alert members and our board, by email and meetings, to legislative issues and other concerns.”
Oregon is one of the few states where the entire legislative congressional delegation is part of the Small Brewers Caucus, he said. “They all support the lower excise tax for U.S. brewers. Last June, Sen. Wyden sponsored a bill to give all alcohol manufacturers some excise tax relief. It has 24 co-sponsors in the Senate and more than 100 in the House.”
Every June, right before Oregon Craft Beer Month in July, Brian holds a press conference about the economic impact of craft beer in Oregon, including information about the number of direct and indirect jobs created, number of barrels produced and sold here, the amount of charitable contributions and other economic indicators. For more information about the industry, upcoming Guild events or to learn how to become a SNOB, go to oregoncraftbeer.org.
By Alethea Smartt LaRowe
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Midway between Clackamas and Estacada, and less than a half mile from the banks of the Clackamas River, you can find some excellent beer served out of a bright red barn near the back of a residential property. Nestled among bucolic pasture land and Christmas tree farms, Bent Shovel Brewing may require a little effort to reach, but you will be rewarded with a solid lineup of at least eight (and up to 11) different brewed-on-premises beers, along with a guest cider tap.
Rick Strauss, an IT professional by day, is the brewer, and his wife Shelly handles other aspects of the business. Their barn was originally a repository for “too much stuff,” but it eventually morphed into Rick’s man cave where he has homebrewed for nine years. After entering his brews in some local competitions, Rick cultivated a peer group that acted as a sounding board and helped him refine recipes and processes.
In 2011, Rick won Best in Show at the Cheers to Belgian Beers homebrew competition and was awarded an opportunity to scale up and brew his recipe as a guest at Block 15 Brewing in Corvallis. While brewing at Block 15, as Rick was shoveling out the mash, Nick Arzner, the owner of the Corvallis brewery, said “Hey, we’ve never put that much grain in the mash tun before” and Rick replied, “I guess I’m going to bend your shovel.” The idea stuck and the resulting beer was released by Block 15 as Bent Shovel Belgian Dark Strong.
Beyond that experience, Rick also gives a lot of credit to the Green Dragon Brew Crew, with whom he brewed for a couple of years — the organization ultimately serving as a launch pad for his brewery. “That’s where I got my first taste of bringing a product to market and I am thankful that Rogue pays for the program and supports the homebrewing community. That experience helped me get to where I am today.”
Rick is like many homebrewers who have gotten lots of positive feedback on their beers. “You say ‘What if I started my own brewery?’ I figured I wasn’t getting any younger. It’s pretty physical work. And if I’m going to do this, let’s do it now because you only live once.” When the decision was finalized in May 2014, Rick instantly knew what he wanted to name his new brewery. With Nick Arzner’s blessing, Bent Shovel Brewing was born.
Officially open since Labor Day weekend in 2015, the brewery consists of a 5-barrel brewhouse. Rick can have 20 barrels of beer in production at one time and he typically brews in 10-barrel batches. “At this point I’m brewing what interests me,” Rick says. “That’s the great thing about beer consumers in this area. They’re adventurous and they’ll drive across the county to find this little place. Our focus is to always put our best beer in front of the consumer!”
Many of Bent Shovel’s beers are “classic styles, exceptionally well-executed.” Their pilsner has been really well-received as has their Schwarzbier, which should be on tap again this summer. Other favorites are the Clashing Plaids Irish Red and CiPinON IPA, which was originally released last December. Made with orange peel with a hint of piney bitterness, the beer is light and refreshing, making it the perfect summer IPA.
Currently Rick is self-distributing kegs to about 20 accounts. The majority of his sales are in Sandy, Gresham, the Clackamas/Sunnyside corridor and Sherwood, but you can usually find a Bent Shovel beer at The Civic Taproom & Bottle Shop in Southwest Portland. Rick does not have any imminent plans to bottle or can, but definitely intends to bottle in the future.
Now Rick’s early successes in brewing have come full circle. At the dart throw for this year’s Cheers to Belgian Beers, the result was once again dark and strong. Rick decided to brew the same beer he made in 2011, but with the current yeast strain (58 Lioness). The stainless steel-fermented beer called Namesake is a limited release — the festival received one keg, several more kegs were delivered to a couple of key accounts and some was reserved for a tap at the brewery. The remainder is being put away until this fall and will be re-released along with a whiskey barrel-aged version.
The unique setting is only part of the charm of Bent Shovel. Drinking beer served directly by the owners/brewers is a “great opportunity to get acquainted with our customers,” says Rick. “People wouldn’t think twice about going out to a rural area for a glass of wine, especially a rare vintage that’s only available at the winery. We just happen to be a brewery that has a similar vibe.”
Bent Shovel Brewing has expanded its hours for the summer. You’re welcome to bring outside food to enjoy with your beers, as this is the perfect spot for a picnic.
Bent Shovel Brewing
[a] 21678 S. Latourette Road, Oregon City
[h] Fridays 3-8 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays Noon to 8 p.m.
By Alethea Smartt LaRowe
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Love to drink beer but short on funds? For a few hours of your time you can gain free entry to most festivals, a T-shirt, the requisite drinking vessel and some tasting tokens. All you have to do is sign up to volunteer. Options usually include pouring beer (OLCC license required at some fests; be sure to check online to verify), handling token sales and recycling duty. For those with more experience, you can become a supervisor, thereby earning even more tokens. Taking the last shift of the day or of the festival often gets you free food and pitchers of beer or a gift certificate to a local business. Most volunteer tasks are for adults age 21 and over. Many festivals donate some or all of the net proceeds to local charities, so be sure to toast yourself for your efforts!
The Oregon Beer Growler also uses volunteers to help run our booth at festivals. Interested beer lovers should follow our Facebook page for sign-up announcements or email email@example.com.
Event: Spring Beer & Wine Fest
Dates: April 3-4
Location: Oregon Convention Center, Portland
Description: Sampling, seminars and chefs teach the masses about pairing beverages with everything from cheese to chocolate. Brewers from all over the West Coast flock to the Spring Beer & Wine Fest, pouring rare beers and perennial favorites.
Volunteer Info: http://www.springbeerfest.com/volunteers.htm
Event: The Rogue Valley Fermentation Celebration
Dates: April 24-25
Location: Harry & David Field, Medford
Description: This inaugural celebration will gather some of the best beers and whiskeys from across the Northwest, in addition to regional wines and ciders. Local foods to compliment craft beverages will be available at the event.
Volunteer Info: http://roguebrewfest.com/volunteer/
Event: Cinco de Micro
Dates: May 1-2
Location: Salem Convention Center, Salem
Description: The fourth-annual Cinco de Micro Brewfest features favorite local and Northwest brews, eateries and distilleries, musical entertainment and the unique opportunity to taste hard-to-find, spring-release brews. Proceeds benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Salem.
Volunteer Contact: Stephanie Compton firstname.lastname@example.org 503-581-7383, ext. 20
Event: Cheers to Belgian Beers
Dates: May 8-9
Location: Metalcraft Fabrication, Portland
Description: Cheers to Belgian Beers is back for its ninth year in 2015. The Belgian-style Ale Festival will feature a single yeast strain for the beers entered, determined by a dart throw to diversify the color and strength of the beers.
Volunteer Info: http://ocb.events-connect.com/
Event: Brewer’s Memorial Ale Festival
Dates: May 15-16
Location: Rogue Ales Brewer’s on the Bay, Newport
Description: This annual event was created in memory of Rogue brewmaster John Maier's faithful companion Brewer, who passed away on May 20, 2006. Brewer grew up in the brewery and eventually rose to the rank of CEO of Rogue Ales. The dog-friendly festival is held inside the brewery and includes more than 50 microbrews, live music and many dog-themed events.
Volunteer Contact: Al Jorgenson email@example.com 503-241-3800
Event: Eugene Beer Week
Dates: June 1-7
Location: Eugene Beer Week takes place at more than 20 venues including breweries, bars, restaurants and other beer-centric businesses.
Description: Have fun and help promote craft beer in Eugene and craft beer culture in the Willamette Valley with the annual Eugene Beer week. With more than 60 events last year, the festival plans to expand even more for the 2015 celebration!
Volunteer Contact: Mike Coplin firstname.lastname@example.org
Event: Sasquatch Brew Fest
Date: June 6
Location: Hop Valley Brewing, Eugene
Description: The annual Sasquatch Brew Fest will be hosted outdoors in the “Fermentation District” of the Whiteaker neighborhood. This celebration features food vendors, a silent auction, raffles, a beer dinner and a homebrew contest. Winner of the “Best of Show” award will be announced live during the festival.
Event: Molalla Brew Fest
Dates: June 11-13
Location: 123 Ross St., Molalla
Description: Celebrating the craft beer industry in and around the Pacific Northwest, the Molalla Brew Fest features more than 25 taps, plus wine, hard cider, draft root beer, food concessions and great local bands.
Volunteer Contact: Kristy Wheeler 503-970-8859
Event: Portland Fruit Beer Festival
Dates: June 12-14
Location: Burnside Brewing Company, Portland
Description: A weekend-long, street fair-style outdoor festival at Burnside Brewing, the Fruit Beer Festival features more than 40 refreshing, well-crafted fruit beers, most of which have been brewed specifically for this event.
Volunteer Info: http://www.fruitbeerfest.com/
Event: The Oregon Garden Brewfest
Dates: June 19–21
Location: The Oregon Garden, Silverton
Description: Enjoy 65 breweries pouring 130 beers, ciders and meads from producers throughout Oregon and across the country, plus 12 great regional bands on two stages and food from local vendors. The brewfest is held indoors, but guests are welcome to explore the 80-acre botanical garden.
Volunteer Contact: Beth Mauer email@example.com 503-874-2533
Event: Eastern Oregon Beer Festival
Dates: June 19-20
Location: Union County Fairgrounds, La Grande
Description: La Grande Main Street Downtown organization is pleased to announce the second-annual Eastern Oregon Beer Festival will be a two-day event with special beers never before poured in the Pacific Northwest, regional food and craft vendors and music and entertainment.
Volunteer Info: http://www.eobeerfest.org/volunteer/
Event: Portland International Beerfest
Dates: June 26-28
Location: Holladay Park, Portland
Description: Drawing more than 150 brews from at least 15 countries to a beer garden setting, the Portland International Beerfest puts Beervana on the map, letting locals punch their passport with worldly offerings like barrel-aged strong ales, barley wines, sours, imperial stouts, farmhouse ales and double IPAs.
Volunteer Info: http://www.portland-beerfest.com/volunteerinfo.php
Event: Portland Craft Beer Festival
Dates: July 3-5
Location: The Fields Neighborhood Park, Portland
Description: This new festival’s goal is to host an annual premier craft beer event that enables all breweries within the city limits of Portland to showcase their beers on a common stage. Aside from beer, there will be selections of Portland-crafted ciders and wines, as well as locally based food vendors.
Volunteer Info: http://www.portlandcraftbeerfestival.com/volunteers
Event: Oregon Brewers Festival
Dates: July 22-26
Location: Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland
Description: Celebrating its 28th year, the Oregon Brewers Festival brings more than 80 craft brews to Portland for a five-day brewfest, the largest gathering of its kind in North America. One of the country’s longest-running and best-loved craft beer festivals, the event features scores of award-winning beers, live music, food vendors, beer memorabilia and homebrewing demonstrations.
Volunteer Info: http://www.oregonbrewfest.com/index2.php?p=volunteer
Event: Bite & Brew of Salem
Dates: July 23-26
Location: Riverfront Park, Salem
Description: The Bite & Brew of Salem is a three-day festival featuring more than 15 bands on two outdoor stages, several local eateries, more than 60 beers on tap, Willamette Valley wines and endless entertainment for kids of all ages.
Volunteer Contact: Krista Unruh firstname.lastname@example.org 503-307-6256
Event: Bones and Brews
Dates: Aug. 1-2
Location: Rogue Ales Public House, Portland
Description: Bones and Brews is an annual event held by Rogue as the annual meeting of Rogue Nation Citizens. More than 30 different beers, ciders and sodas from Rogue and other breweries are featured. Local barbecue restaurants and catering companies set up shop to cook new and classic barbecue dishes and participate in a friendly competition. Rogue Nation Citizens also form barbecue teams and compete for People's Choice Awards.
Volunteer Contact: Al Jorgenson email@example.com 503-241-3800
Event: Oakridge Keg & Cask Festival
Date: Aug. 8
Location: Uptown District, Oakridge
Description: This small festival in front of the Brewers Union in Oakridge gives a taste of the many small breweries and wineries in Oregon. Now in its fifth year, they are expanding to include additional food and craft vendors as well as a slate of musicians.
Volunteer Contact: George Custer firstname.lastname@example.org 541-225-8484
Event: Bend Brewfest
Dates: Aug. 13-16
Location: Les Schwab Amphitheater, Bend
Description: Four full days of hop, yeast and malted barley bliss on the banks of the Deschutes River. Featuring more than 170 different options of beer, cider and wine and a fine selection of food from local vendors.
Volunteer Info: http://bendbrewfest.com/volunteer.html
Event: North American Organic Brewers Festival
Dates: Aug. 13-16
Location: Overlook Park, Portland
Description: Designed to raise awareness about organic beer and sustainable living, the NAOBF serves up nearly 60 organic beers & ciders from around the nation. From summery saisons to rich and hearty stouts, the festival offers beers to please every palate. There’s also live music, organic food, sustainability-oriented vendors and nonprofits, and a children’s area.
Volunteer Info: http://www.naobf.org/volunteer-signup/
Event: Nano Beer Fest
Dates: Aug. 14-16
Location: Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub, Tigard
Description: Featuring more than 25 different special and seasonal beers from smaller nanobreweries in Oregon, Idaho and Washington as well as live music and meet-the-brewer sessions. Beer stations are set up under a large tented area in the back parking lot, with seating there, along the creek side of the pub and on the patio.
Volunteer Info: http://nanobeerfest.com/volunteer.asp
Event: The Little Woody
Dates: Sept. 4-5
Location: Des Chutes Historical Museum, Bend
Description: To commemorate one of Central Oregon’s hallmarks — craft beer — and lend a nod to the historic techniques used by brewers with oaken casks, The Little Woody features small-batch beers aged in wood barrels by top Northwest breweries.
Volunteer Info: http://thelittlewoody.com/volunteer/
Event: Eugene Brews Cruise 5K
Date: Sept. 7
Location: Hop Valley Brewing, Eugene
Description: This year’s Brews Cruise will be a Labor Day celebration! Runners will start at Hop Valley Brewing and wind their way to Railroad Boulevard, continuing on down River Road. Loop back around for a tour of the Maurie Jacobs Park paths and return to the North Whiteaker District for a finish line celebration at Hop Valley.
Volunteer Contact: email@example.com
Event: Oregon Brews & BBQs
Dates: Sept. 11-13
Location: Granary District, McMinnville
Description: Oregon Brews & BBQs is all about great food, great regional brews and a whole lot of fun! This event features more than 50 taps serving craft beer from at least 35 breweries for your enjoyment throughout the weekend, delicious barbecue and other food delights, as well as live music.
Volunteer Info: http://oregonbrewsandbbq.com/volunteer/
Event: The Taste of Oregon’s Old West
Date: Sept. 12
Location: Cottonwood Canyon State Park, between Condon and Wasco
Description: This new festival showcases the beverages (including beer), food and recreation to be found in the beautiful John Day River basin. Every year, the event will rotate through the four sub-regions of the Eastern Oregon Visitors Association: John Day River Territory (Sherman, Gilliam, Wheeler and Grant Counties), Northeast Oregon (Wallowa, Baker and Union), Oregon’s Rugged Country (Umatilla and Morrow) and Southeast Oregon (Malheur and Harney).
Volunteer Contact: Janet Dodson firstname.lastname@example.org 541-786-8006
Event: Single Batch Bier Fest
Date: Mid-late September (TBD)
Location: Oakshire Brewing Public House, Eugene
Description: The Single Batch Bier Fest celebrates creative, single-batch brews, and the annual hop harvest season including fresh-hopped beers, pumpkin beers and other fall varietal favorites.
Volunteer Contact: Meridy Wheeler email@example.com
Event: Mount Angel Oktoberfest
Dates: Sept. 17-20
Location: Downtown Mount Angel
Description: This year marks the 50th anniversary of this philanthropic event that celebrates the harvest, Bavarian style. Along with 50 food booths and a large arts and crafts show, the traditional Biergarten, family Weingarten and interactive Alpinegarten entertainment venues have something for everyone.
Volunteer Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Event: Newberg Oktoberfest
Dates: Sept. 18-19
Location: Memorial Park, Newberg
Description: It’s the third year for this family-oriented event brought to you by the Rotary Club of Newberg Early Birds along with local sponsors. Highlights include the grand opening parade, craft brews, live music, a wiener dog race, lederhosen contest and children’s activity tents.
Volunteer Contact: Chris Irwin email@example.com
Event: Bend Oktoberfest
Dates: Sept. 18-19, 2015
Location: Oregon Avenue, Bend
Description: Sample traditional Bavarian foods, beers from Central Oregon breweries, wines and ciders and listen to live music at this 10th-annual celebration of Oktoberfest. This all-ages festival offers something for everyone, including wiener dog races and absurd games of skill like yodeling, stein holding, hammerschlagen and more.
Volunteer Info: http://bendoktoberfest.com/volunteer/
Event: Independence Fresh Hop Fest
Dates: Sept. 18-19
Location: Riverview Park, Independence
Description: The Independence Hop & Heritage Festival happens every last full weekend in September. It features vendors who sell local crafts and foods along with contests like pie eating, scarecrow building and homebrewing.
Volunteer Info: http://www.hopfestival.org/#!contact/c5fi
Event: Southern Oregon Brew Fest
Dates: Sept. 18-20
Location: The Expo, Central Point
Description: Celebrate abundance and reap the rewards of harvest time at the Southern Oregon Harvest Festival and Brew Fest. Featuring more than 60 craft beers, a fierce homebrew competition, plus food, music and lots of old-fashioned fun for the whole family.
Volunteer Info: http://www.attheexpo.com/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=3
Event: Pacific Northwest Brew Cup
Dates: Sept. 25-27
Location: Various locations, Astoria
Description: Now in its 14th year, this festival features more than 30 Northwest beers on tap, along with live music, food vendors and activities for the kiddos. Enjoy some limited-edition beers at the Brewer’s Reception on Thursday night and fuel up at the Brewer’s Breakfast on Saturday morning.
Volunteer Info: http://pacificnorthwestbrewcup.com/volunteer/
Event: Hood River Hops Fest
Date: Sept. 26
Location: Downtown Hood River
Description: The Hood River Hops Fest is a beer lover’s dream, serving up 65 fresh-hop beers from more than 45 regional breweries. Fun for the whole family, this festival offers a full lineup of live music, great local food, arts and craft vendors and a children’s area.
Volunteer Info: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hood-River-Hops-Fest/127886120593522
Event: Sisters Fresh Hop Festival
Date: Sept. 26
Location: Sisters Village Green Park, Sisters
Description: This fifth-annual event features brews from around the state of Oregon and their unique fresh hop flavors. All breweries that participate bring at least one fresh-hop beer (meaning the brews are made with hops straight off the bine)!
Volunteer Contact: Jeri Buckmann firstname.lastname@example.org 541-549-0251
OBG Blog Archives
Welcome to our archive pages! Read stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler from June 2012 to January 2018. For newer stories, please visit our new website at: