I don’t know how I talked my wife into this. Even I had second thoughts the night before about whether or not this was a good idea.
I woke up before my 5:00am alarm to take a bus to downtown Seattle, where I’d take a Bolt Bus to Portland, where I’d take a third bus to Saraveza for the Portland Farmhouse and Wild Ale Festival. Then I’d drink a bunch of beer and take three buses back home.
Turns out, this all was much more fun than I’d even hoped.
The weather was generally cooperative. A short wait in line for elegant glassware and entry gave me time to look over the program. Ale Apothecary Rum-barrel and White Peach The Beer Formerly Known as La Tache bottles would be for sale at 1:00pm—but only 48 of them. I sighed; I didn’t feel like fighting for one.
The early crowd was light; there was room to move from the Bad Habit Room to the tent set up outside to Saraveza itself.
The aforementioned beer was being poured, so that was my first stop. The slightest bit of rum, tart peach. Delicious. Someone comes around with a hand stamp and a counter. Would you like to buy a bottle? (Yes, I would.) This was a great way to handle the bottle sale: reward early arrivers and recognized regulars. I was in the right place at the right time.
Shortly thereafter, I recognized Larry. We hitched wagons and enjoyed de Garde Brewing’s Saison Desay (two different blends). Larry chased down the woman with the counter and secured himself a bottle as well.
Spontaneity, a lambic from Agrarian Ales (a brewery new to me) was a standout. Light, crisp, tart; roughly 40% fermented pear and apple juice from a neighboring farm.
Other favorites: Block 15 Demon’s Farm (and Second Anniversary Apricot Saison later), New Belgium Love’s Leopold, pFriem Tiny Saison, Logsdon, etc.
I ran into other acquaintances. With my ticket allotment dwindling, Mark graciously offered a ride to Hair of the Dog. I said farewell to Larry. I needed food. I knew that Brandy Cherry Fred from the Wood was newly on tap. Good conversation and the best Reuben sandwich of my life.
With two hours to kill before my bus back to Seattle, I was dropped off in downtown Portland and made my way to Bailey’s Taproom. Completely unnecessary: Barley Brown’s Vanilla Porter, a half-pint of Laurelwood’s Green Mammoth on cask and—seemingly just to use up all the cash in my wallet—a glass of Goose Island’s Lolita…lovely raspberries!
For a trip conceived in a moment and envisioned as a solitary afternoon, it turned out better than I anticipated. Some outstanding beers, a wonderful well-run event and good company.
(Of course, it felt good to have gotten that bottle of Ale Apothecary, too.)
Until we meet again, Portland. Here’s hoping for more than ten hours with you!