8 Ways To Celebrate Oregon Craft Beer Month

beer glass
Allison Park, Flickr

Ever since Henry Weinhard opened his brewery in 1856, Oregon has had a taste for beer. Since then, the state has made a name for itself in the beer world. It’s one of the states with the most breweries per capita and Portland itself is home to the largest craft brewing market in the United States. Talk to any Oregonian and the topic of beer will inevitably come up; when you’re from a state that has over 135 brewing companies it’s hard not to.

Which makes it no surprise that the state also has its own designated Craft Beer Month. Summer on the west coast just got a whole lot more attractive didn’t it?

Love beer? Love Oregon? You might want to consider celebrating. Here’s how.

1. Go to a festival
Oregon Brewer’s Festival, this year held July 24-28, is one of Portland’s favorite events, and with good reason: it features over 80 craft beers from around the country and your chance to get to know a handful of them quite intimately. If that’s not good enough for you, Portland International Beer Festival is just a few days before.

2. Plan a road trip that involves at least five breweries
OK, granted you could stay in Portland and probably stand on a street corner and spot five breweries, but you could also plan a road trip across the state to hit up some of the famous breweries, as well as some of the lesser-known ones. The Oregon Brewers Guild has a map that makes doing that quiet simple. You’ll only be constrained by how far you want to drive and what you want to drink.

3. Buy beer and other assorted goods
Don’t have plans for Fourth of July yet? You may want to consider stocking up on brews and various beer paraphernalia at Rogue Brewery’s Fourth of July Sale, taking place at all of their locations (there are eight).

4. Plan a weekend of “research”
Even if you can’t visit Oregon, you can still do some beer research. Start with this year’s 50 Best Oregon Beers and see which ones you can get in your home state. And when you find one that’s not available, book a ticket out west immediately.

5. Run and drink
A sporty town like Portland wouldn’t think twice about drinking and running, which is why there are such things like the Craft Dash, perfect for runners with a hankering for a pre-, during and post-race IPA.

6. Bike and drink
In Bend you can get on the Cycle Pub and work your way around town while drinking and pedaling, and in Portland you can check out the Oregon Brewery Trail bike tour. After all, in this state, bikes and beers go hand in hand.

7. Try a new style of beer
From sour beers (you’ll want to be at Puckerfest) to smoked varieties, there’s probably a variety of beer or two that you haven’t tried – and it’s about time you did.

8. Learn how to homebrew
It should come as no surprise that Oregon has its own homebrew club – brewing since 1979 of course – and if you have ever been interested in making your own beer, Oregon might be the place to start. Check out Portland’s Homebrew Exchange, which sells all kinds of homebrewing supplies. At Uptown Market you can sign up for a bi-weekly homebrewing class. All you ever needed to know in order to kick off those craft brews at home.

Festivals And Events Coming Up This Month

Festivals and Events
didy b/ Flickr

Summer weather brings festivals and events that range from open-air concerts and outdoor car shows to group hikes and more. In June, there are a number of notable summer festivals and events. Some are held annually, others are starting up for the first time this year. Count on good food, warm summer fun and great memories to be made at any of these must-see events.

Gettysburg Festival
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – June 8
It’s blues, beer and barbecue at the Gettysburg Festival this weekend featuring legendary bluesman Big Jack Johnson’s backing band, the Cornlickers, PA’s First Lady of Blues, Octavia and the U.S. Army Field Band Volunteers. Since 1981, the soldier-musicians of The Field Band Volunteers have performed for millions of listeners around the planet, representing their fellow soldiers through music.

Richmond Bacon Festival
Richmond, Virginia – June 9
A first for the 17th street farmers market, 20 restaurants will compete with bacon-centric dishes and Devils Backbone Brewery and Bold Rock Hard Cider will be pouring more than 20 craft beers. Held by a local brewer and beer distributor, the idea is to design bacon-oriented culinary creations then wash them down with a craft beer.Emmett Cherry Festival
Emmett, Idaho – June 12-15, 2013
Held since the 1930s and always during the second full week of June, the Emmett Cherry Festival serves up a taste of tradition. Cherry Festival events, concerts and carnival all happen in the Emmett City Park starting Wednesday through Saturday. Looking for some down-home goodness? This may be it. Featured are a cherry pit-spitting contest, a pie eating contest and entertainment. Nearly 40,000 people are expected to attend this family-oriented event that celebrates the arrival of the cherries.

Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters
Little Rock, Arkansas – June 27
Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters are the greatest living link to what can best be described as a gumbo of Cajun/Acadian music, Afro-Caribbean rhythms and melodies, and the blues. Held at
Wildwood Park for the Arts in western Little Rock’s Chenal Valley, the event’s gates open at 6 p.m. for outdoor
picnicking, and the concert begins at 8 p.m.

Orion Music and More Festival
Detroit, Michigan – June 6-8
Over 20,000 fans are expected to attend each of the three days of the festival, headlined by Red Hot Chili Peppers on Saturday and Metallica on Sunday with a total of 39 acts scheduled to perform. In addition to five stages, all set up on the Belle Isle baseball fields, there will be a car show, film screenings, horror movie memorabilia, food vendors from around Detroit and more. Featured at Orion Music and More is a 30-foot skate ramp where pro riders will tear up the Vans Vert Ramp while bands perform live.

USA Summer Music Festivals 2012

Summer feels like music festivals. Music festivals feel like summer. The two are interchangeable for me despite the fact that music festivals take place year-round. But while some festivals stake their claim on the cooler months, most of them schedule out consecutive days of music (and fun) during the summertime. Because of this, you’ll never make all of the summer music festivals in one summer, but you can make a few of the good ones. What follows is a list of some of the best-looking music festivals for summer 2012.Sasquatch
When: May 25-28
Where: The Gorge, George, Washington
Who: Jack White, Beck, Bon Iver, Tenacious D, The Shins, Beirut, Feist, The Roots, Pretty Lights, Girl Talk, Metric, Explosions In The Sky, The Joy Formidable, Santigold, St. Vincent, Mark Lanegan Band and more.

Bonnaroo
When: June 7-10
Where: Manchester, Tennessee
Who: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish, The Beach Boys, Bon Iver, The Avett Brothers, Skrillex, Feist, Ludacris, The Temper Trap, Alice Cooper, Tune-Yards, St. Vincent, The Black Lips, Battles, Santigold, The Antlers, Bad Brains and more.

Outside Lands
When: August 10-12
Where: San Francisco, California
Who: Metallica, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Jack White, Foo Fighters, Beck, Skrillex, Sigur Ros, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, Passion Pit, Andrew Bird, Franz Ferdinand, Zola Jesus, Die Antwoord and more.

Governors Ball
When: June 23-24
Where: Randall’s Island, New York City
Who: Fiona Apple, Beck, Passion Pit, Kid Cudi, Modest Mouse, Atmosphere, Explosions In The Sky, Built To Spill, Major Lazer, Cage The Elephant and more.

Pitchfork
When: July 13-15
Where: Chicago, Illinois
Who: Feist, Vampire Weekend, Hot Chip, Dirty Projectors, Purity Ring, Grimes, Sleigh Bells, Youth Lagoon, Beach House and more.

Capitol Hill Block Party
When: July 20-22
Where: Seattle, Washington
Who: Neko Case, Major Lazer, Grimes, Youth Lagoon, Cloud Nothings, Thee Oh Sees and more.

Lollapalooza
When: August 3-5
Where: Chicago, Illinois
Who: Jack White, The Black Keys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, At The Drive-In, Black Sabbath, The Shins, Passion Pit, Sigur Ros, The Shins, Bloc Party, Florence + The Machine, Metric, Franz Ferdinand, The Temper Trap, Band of Skulls, Chairlift, White Rabbits and more.

Bumbershoot
When: September 1-3
Where: Seattle, Washington
Who: Jane’s Addiction, Skrillex, Gotye, M83, Awolnation, Keane, Passion Pit, City and Colour, Mudhoney, Low, Heartless Bastards, Lights and more.

Summer Music Festival Style

Bonnaroo 2011: why you should go


Bonnaroo 2011
is bound to be fun. I say this with confidence because I packed a car (and a cooler) and pitched my(embarrassingly huge, but purchased as a gift by my mother) tent at Bonnaroo last year. I had scored some V.I.P. passes to the festival last minute and decided, without much hesitation, that it was about time I experienced a camping music festival for myself. As soon as I rolled into the parking/camping lot for the festival, I knew I’d made the right decision.

My fiance and I pulled into the muddy lot and put our borrowed car in park. We pulled out said giant tent and began to piece together the puzzle that putting it together wound up to be. We did this with PBRs in hand and serendipitously, it seemed, everyone around us was doing the same thing: wrestling with tent instructions and alternating stakes with beer-filled aluminum cans. The sun was setting in that neon pink and orange light, the kind of colors that consistently paint the sky on the best summer nights. Our neighbors were also from Brooklyn, and also really really excited to be hanging out beyond the Tri-State borders for a few days.

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We entered the festival last year just in time to catch The Temper Trap’s show. We’d never heard of them before, but just a song into their set we found ourselves asking people around us, “Who are these guys?”, knowing that it didn’t actually matter who they were–the experience of being at this festival was already speaking for itself, above and beyond the name or online merch. store url for any specific band.

We traveled all over in 2010. From New Orleans to Grenada, Costa Rica to the Blue Ridge Parkway, we certainly didn’t stay in one place for very long. And yet when all was said and done, those four days we stayed in that one place, Bonnaroo, will never be forgotten.

Although general admission tickets are now sold out for the upcoming Bonnaroo 2011, V.I.P. tickets are still available. And after having had V.I.P. tickets myself, all I can say is this: you’ll be showered and not walking miles each morning to get into the heart of the festival. The 4-day party takes place in the small town of Manchester, Tennessee and the dates this year are June 9-12.

Not sure if you want to invest in the sonic adventure yet? Well, here are some highlights that just might remedy your uncertainty.

  • Silent Disco. Everyone’s wearing wireless headphones, but dancin’ to the same song. From the outside looking in, everyone’s shakin’ their thang in utter silence. Inside? It’s a party.
  • Planet Earth. Bonnaroo is paving the path for eco-friendly festivals. Local food, composting, free water… the Bonnaroo green initiatives know no limit.
  • Yoga. Imagine hundreds (or thousands depending on how many people can rise and shine in time) doing sun salutes in unison as the Bonnaroo day breaks. It’s truly a sight to behold.
  • Artists’ Market. I was impressed with the wide expanse of legitimate artist booths at Bonnaroo last year. More handmade local goods, less made in China duplicates. That’s the idea and Bonnaroo holds to it. My handmade purse I purchased last year is regularly referred to as the ‘Bonnaroo Bag’ at home.
  • Bonnaroo Cinema & Comedy. If you need a break from all of the music listening, good-food eating, and fine-beer drinking, you can always chill out at Bonnaroo Cinema or Comedy tents to change up the kinds of shows you’re seeing.
  • Good vibes, anyone? Never before have I entered a certain community and felt so immediately welcomed and loved. There was something in the air at Bonnaroo last year, some kind of love and peace cocktail, if you ask me. And this, above everything else, is what will bring me back this year if I can make it.
  • Travel. Few people actually live in Manchester, Tennessee. Because of this, Bonnaroo is a time for travel for most attendees. It’s a time to pack the bags and file into cars, trains, buses, and plains and get there, one way or another. Talk to anyone who has traveled to Bonnaroo and they’ll back me up when I say: Bonnaroo is as much about getting there as anything else.
  • The MUSIC. Last, but of course not least, Bonnaroo is about the music. Some artists highlighting this year’s roster for me: Robert Plant & Band of Joy, Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Mumford & Sons, Primus, Florence + the Machine, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Explosions in the Sky, Gogol Bordello, Beirut, Ratatat, Atmosphere, Portugal. The Man, Band of Skulls, Man Man, Jessica Lea Mayfield, The Black Keys, and, you guessed it, many many more.

For more information on Bonnaroo, check out their website.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

Top North American rodeos to check out this summer

North American rodeosIn honor of the approaching National Day of the American Cowboy, which I wrote about earlier in the week, I wanted to highlight some of the best rodeos North America has to offer.

Even city slickers can enjoy a rodeo; it is, after all, a sporting event. With a lot of beer. And grilled meat. And a lack of giant foam fingers and face-painting (not a bad thing, I might add).

In all seriousness, rodeos are great family fare. There are usually parades and drill team exhibitions, down-to-earth people, great camaraderie, and you can watch some truly amazing human, equine, and bovine athletes perform in independent and team events. At day’s end, you can always count on a big barbecue, live music, and a dance. The below rodeos are all located in places of great historic interest if you love the Old West or Americana. Git boot-scootin’.

Calgary Stampede
It may be surprising to learn that Canada has a cowboy culture, but Alberta does, and is home to this world-famous event, which is an integral part of the community. Critter lovers should note that the Stampede places extreme emphasis on animal welfare, which you can read about here (FYI, the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) also has strict animal welfare regulations in place, so contrary to belief, livestock are not being tortured for the sake of entertainment). Events ranging from steer wrestling and women’s barrel racing to junior steer riding will be happening July eighth through the 17th.

[Photo credit: bronc, Flicker user Bill Gracey;North American rodeosSheridan WYO Rodeo
Located in the heart of Yellowstone Country at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains, Sheridan has no shortage of pastoral pleasures to go with its Western heritage. Rodeo Week–July eighth through the 17th–kicks off with a parade, and night rodeos are held the 13-16th. Part of the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour, Sheridan WYO also features events like the Indian Relay Races (Those of you who are offended by the non-PC-ness of the name…remember we are not in Berkeley, and there’s a $25,000 payout prize), and a public Boot Kick-off event featuring live music, food vendors, and more.

Cheyenne Frontier Days
Know as the “Daddy of Em All,” the world’s largest outdoor rodeo has celebrated the American West since 1897. From July 23rd to the 31st, crowds from all over the world gather to watch arena events. You can also visit Cheyenne’s excellent Old West Museum, tour historic homes and “Behind the Chutes(don’t miss if you want to see what goes on before that gate swings open and bulls and broncs cut loose),” and attend Western Art Shows, concerts (Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow headline this year), a carnival midway, an Indian Village handicraft/historic recreation, and more.

Days of ’76 Rodeo

Held in one of the Old West’s most historic and notorious towns, this Deadwood, South Dakota event has been named Best PRCA Small Outdoor Rodeo four times, as well as PRCA Midsize Rodeo of the Year since 2004. This, the 89th year, runs from July 26-30th, and features two parades and lots of local Native American culture. The entire city of Deadwood is a national historic landmark located in the Black Hills Territory, so be sure to plan on an extra day or two for exploring.

Pendleton Roundup
Eastern Oregon is at the heart of the state’s cowboy country, and Pendleton is one of the ten largest rodeos in the world. Have a last-days-of-summer trip September 14-17th, when the weather is hot and sunny (it does happen in the Pacific Northwest, really). Bareback and saddle bronc riding, team roping, bull riding, Indian relay races, wild cow milking, children’s rodeo, and parade: it’s all here. Trivia: Pendleton is one of the first rodeos to have women officially compete. In 1914, Bertha Blanchett came within 12 points of winning the All-Around title.

[Photo credit: team roping, Flickr user Al_HikesAZ]