There are a number of wonderful things about living in Portland Oregon, not least of which is the pervading ideal of trying to be different, or, as is often said here, weird. The people of Portland do, in fact, work hard to keep Portland weird. Whether its naked bicycle races, supporting local businesses despite the fact that these businesses sell wares at prices that put shops in Beverly Hills to shame or women rocking more body hair than me, Portlanders just do things differently. While the women with excessive body hair run a close second to what I love most about Portland, the best aspect of this city, in my humble opinion, is its obsession with great beverages.
Be it wine, beer or coffee, Portlanders love, and demand, a great drink – except for the hipsters of course who demand that all beverages contain Pabst Blue Ribbon because…well…I guess because they are hipsters. For the rest of us, however, we want a great cup of coffee. We want an amazing glass of wine. We want a beer that has flavor, character and, in some instances, puts a little hair on our chests regardless of our gender.
Because of this demand for hairy chests, etc, we are lucky to be able to participate in (i.e. drink) such events as the NW Coffee Beer Invitational.
The NW Coffee Beer Invitational features 16 unique beers brewed from 16 different local breweries and each have integrated coffee from local coffee shops into their beers. It is quintessential Portland and it is truly a beautiful thing. People of all ages (so long as they are of age) are lingering around conversing, drinking and thanking the fore fathers of Portland that the hairy gal next to them decided to move to a different part of the tent that contains this glorious festival of beer.
Additionally, everyone here seems to legitimately be in a good mood and enjoying the various offerings of coffee beer. This is Portland. This is what we love. We love to cram into small tents set up in small parking lots and drink beverages that are sure to wreak havoc with our bodies over the next several weeks. We love to huddle under the tent awnings to escape from the abrasive and rarely seen sun. We love to love whatever it is we love so long as we can believe that it’s a local thing; a weird thing.
As I stand under the awning so as not to feel the heat of the 60 degree sun, I find that I have a smile on my face. A smile that says I like this town, I like this coffee beer (whichever one it may be) and I like the infectious buzz of those around me whether the buzz is from the coffee, beer or the exhilarating feel of hair sprouting from one’s chest be they man or woman.
60 degrees? Dude, I hope you wore sunscreen.
As a fellow Portlander, I can vouch for all of the above except the body hair anomaly. I am not nor do I know any furry chicks. Frankly, I don’t care to know how smooth they are, either, though. Moving on.
Forget coffee beer, that’s so 2008. What you want to hone now are your Beer Float skills. That’s right, you start with a stout dark enough to block a sun flare and thick enough to stand a fork up in, drop in a small moon of French Vanilla or chocolate ice cream, grab a straw, and become one with that sofa or deck chair. It’s glorious.
But wait until the heat wave hits and we get above 65. Safety first.
2008 or no, the beer was pretty darn good. In regards to the beer floats…tell me when the festival starts!
Soon as you buy an ice cream scoop.
Nathan, somehow I missed this blessed event. Can you name a fave or two from this surreal happening?
Sorry you missed out! I think my favorite offerings were (in no particular order):
1. Fire on the Mountain’s Spanish Coffee
2. Walking Man’s Happy Feet Brown
3. Chetco – Black Thunder (I think??)
4. Burnside/Kells – Lager w/coffee
5. Somebody’s Brewing – Puttin’ Hair on your Chest Stout
All of the beers were very good and it was interesting to see (and taste) the varied ways in which coffee was incorporated into various styles of beer.