The conference unofficially started last night with an optional Thursday Portland Brewpub Crawl. Bloggers Bill Night from It’s Pub Night and Charles Culp from An Ear For a Beer did a fantastic job setting it up and chaperoning us. By our count, we had 46 attendees.
We started by visiting Widmer’s pilot brewery at the Rose Garden, home of the Portland Trailblazers. We tried a number of beers, including an interesting berry beer, and heard from the brewer. The Widmer folks were nice enough to open up just for our group.
We then traveled by Light Trail to the Deschutes Street Fare. Deschutes had closed off one block in front of their Portland brewpub and had set up with beer, local food vendors, and bands. It was a fantastic street party but even better was the treatment they showed us. Handing out 46 Press passes, they herded us past the $10 ticket station at no charge. Thanks, Deschutes!
We then went on to the Lucky Labrador, which has a large German-style beer hall attached to the brewery. Most folks couldn’t resist ordering pizza (delicious) along with a beer and those who were interested went on a tour of the facility with the brewer.
We rounded out the evening by traveling via Street Car to the Old Lompoc brewery. The brew pub is a funky place with a number of side rooms. We tried a final beer before finishing out the evening.
The best thing about evenings like this at a Beer Bloggers Conference is that it gives those of participating the chance to meet each other, before the actual conference even begins. Thanks to Bill, Charles, and our four participating Portland breweries!