On Tuesday, the Oregon Beer Awards happened! The event took place at Revolution Hall, a former high school that was renovated in 2013 and turned into an entertainment venue with many bars (including one on the roof). I didn't make it up to the top this time around, because it was COLD and WINDY! I traveled by bike, as I often do, and I layered appropriately. Bundled as I was, it was still a chilly venture, and the beer that greeted me when I made it indoors was welcome indeed! A stout would seem the perfect thing in such a situation, but the two on tap downstairs were Pelican Brewing's "Father of All Tsunamis" and Great Notion's "Peanut Brother." These are both lovely beers, but they are 11.2% and 9.0% ABV respectively, and I didn't know if that's how I wanted to start my night. So I opted for Wayfinder's Helles lager. It is so clean, so crisp, and so flavorful. Year-round easy drinker, this!
Revolution Hall is a very cool place, and I highly recommend checking it out if and when you are able. It's a great summer spot, because hanging out on the roof in the sun is much much nice. In colder weather, though, it's still a wondrous place to spend a few hours. Behold! Art! Behold, Linus Pauling! Chemist, Oregonian, and all-around badass.
And then there are the bars. With more art, great food options, and a great collection of taps! In addition to the usual offerings, winning beers from last year's event were also available. Revolution Hall always has a splendid selection of suds, but this was especially the case on this occasion.
Even when it's packed to the gills, this place doesn't feel crowded. It's like being back in high school, except everybody in the halls is happy and drinking. And then you go into the auditorium, and instead of an assembly about SAT preparation, there's a cool show. In this instance, it was an awards ceremony, celebrating Oregon beer. This was the fifth annual Oregon Beer Awards, and the biggest yet in terms of entries. 1,090 beers were submitted for judging, and of those, 75 were honored with a bronze, silver, or gold medal in 25 categories. There are also awards for the Best Beer Festival (The Festival of the Dark Arts won again this year), and Best Beer Bar / Bottle Shop (go go Belmont Station), among other things. There are also three awards for "Brewery of the Year" differentiated by size. In ascending order, these winners were Ruse (which also won Best New Brewery), Block 15, and Breakside. When Breakside won, the first several rows stood up in elation and proceeded onto stage. There was a lot of love happening in that moment. There was a lot of love happening all evening. These breweries love their staff. They love the other breweries. They love the people that love to serve and drink their beer.
And they love Jim Parker. Parker was a huge part of the Oregon beer community, and very sadly, he passed a few weeks ago. On Tuesday, he was welcomed into the Oregon Beer Hall of Fame by presenter John Harris of Ecliptic Brewing (the 2018 inductee). Harris' words were stirring, as was the short film dedicated to Parker. Everybody misses you, Jim.
I'm not going to include a full list of the winners here. You can find that elsewhere, accompanied by thoughtful analysis from people that know the industry a little better than I do. But I was really glad to be a part of this evening!