So, even after the bizarre entry pricing, the first annual Bend Brew Fest exceeded my (lowish) expectations. It was a decent event; my dad and I got there about 1:30 when the crowd was still very light, so we had a good run of the place. And it was great weather for it, too: started out sunny and hot, with a nice breeze, and as the day wore on clouds moved in to alleviate the heat.
Decent beers, too. I was pleasantly surprised to find there were beers from breweries I’d never heard of, like Walking Man Brewing out of Stevenson, Washington, and Snipes Mountain, from Sunnyside, Washington. And of course, the “regulars” were there: Deschutes Brewery, Bend Brewing, Cascade Lakes, Rogue Ales, Full Sail, Bridgeport Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing. For posterity’s sake, others I remember:
- Old Lompoc
- Lagunitas Brewing Company
- Dick’s Brewing Company
- Terminal Gravity Brewing Company (improbably located in Enterprise, Oregon)
- Far West Ireland
- …and some others I can’t remember.
I was a little disappointed to not see Silver Moon Brewing (note to self: talk to Tyler about fixing his 403 Forbidden website error) there, since they’re local and all. Oh well, maybe next year.
The crowd grew during the day, and I imagine they had a pretty good turnout Saturday night. The (free) music wasn’t bad, either. When we first got there, there was a lone accordian player up on the stage, and it only got better from there.
I also ran into Kasey as we were leaving, which is ironic since we (my dad and I) had been talking about how we hadn’t run into anyone we knew, but probably would once we left.
Now, how they can improve upon the brewfest for next year:
- Cheaper admission! Like, at least 10 dollars cheaper.
- More brewers. 20 brewers and 40 beers is a good start, though.
- Space the beer serving stations and tables farther apart; there needs to be more room for people to line up, and/or browse among the various brands.
- Break the beer serving section into two distinct areas, to promote movement and more effectively use the space (put food and general seating in between).
- Complimentary water. The Oregon Brewers Festival has stand-alone water coolers that are self-service; spending three dollars for bottled water doesn’t do it for me.
- Set up a website for the event, and list all the brewers and the beers that will be there. Also use it for publishing photos of the event, etc.
- More food vendors. There were six, which isn’t terrible for a first time, but more variety would be cool.