This past Saturday I attended the 2008 FredFest here in Portland, Oregon. The festival celebrated the 82nd birthday of Fred Eckhardt. "He more than any other, influenced the beer scene in Oregon, encouraged its young brewers, helped educate beer drinkers to expect more from their beer and wrote about the resulting beers and the scene that was growing here in a way that made people want to join the party"-John Foyston-Oregonian.
I have been fortunate over the past 15 years to have met Fred at homebrew meetings (Oregon Brew Crew), beer/food pairing events (beer and ice cream anyone?) and at events all over the City of Portland.
If you looked up "Racantour" in the dictionary, you would see his face attached as an illustration. For anyone who hasn't heard; Portland is to beer in America as Munich is to beer in Germany. We have an amazing number of national, regional and teeny, tiny brewers in this great little city.
Fred was one of the earliest supporters of the drive for good beer here in Portland. Kind of like
a founding father....only for beer, think of him as the Benjamin Franklin of beer.
The event at Hair of the Dog had all of the charm of a Oregon Brew Crew meeting, in fact I would venture a guess that 75% of the people in the room either are or have been members of the OBC. This event was all about the beer and the crowd wasn't the U of O frat-boy/sorority-girl crowd that shows up for the Summer Beer Festival.
Drinking in and around brew kettles, grain bins, fermentation tanks and an array of hoses, pumps and other hazards lent a big dose of that "gritty" Portland edge that I am glad to see still exists.
This little festival/birthday for Fred featured an amazing array of beers brewed especially for this day, they included:
1 BridgePort Brewing Bourbon Barrel aged Old Knucklehead Firkin
2 Laurelwood Brewing Bourbon Barrel Aged Olde Reliable Barleywine
3 Widmer Brewing Altbier!!!
4 Lompoc Brewing Oak aged LSD
5 Deschutes Brewing Br. Abe Belgian ale
6 Rockbottom Brewing Oak aged IIPA
7 Cascade brewing 2006 Wild Blackberry ale ( Flanders red style)
8 Lucky Lab Brewing Double Alt
9 Hopworks Urban Brewery 2007 Kentucky Christmas
10 Hair of the Dog Cask Fred from the Wood
11 Full Sail Brewing Bourbon BBL aged 1998 Old Boilermaker
12 Rogue Brewing Brewer Ale
13 Roots Brewing 2006 Pinot Noir Oak aged Epic
14 Ninkasi Brewing Dry Hopped Cask Tricerahops
16 Jim 2007 Holiday Ale Fest Collaboration with HOTD
I have to say that the festival was all imagined it would be. The atmosphere was festive and this really did seem like a wonderful (large) birthday party for Fred.
Personally I am an avowed "Hop Head" so all of these big, huge, gargantuan IPA's and Imperial IPA's were right up my alley.
Another highlight of the day was meeting my blog friend Heather Anderson (from Gild the Voodoolily) and her charming husband Scott. While Heather claimed that she was more of "girly" beer drinker, I can attest that any woman that can hammer down 10-12 Belgian ales, Barley wine and an Alt or two to boot, is part Viking (apparently she actually is).
Heather (representing) & Norm
Just in case they run out of beer-