Monday, August 1, 2011

WTF Brewfest??

What a weekend!

First off, I can't even say how thankful I am that we are finally having nice weather! And its been consistent! This is what I live for...especially when I can spend my weekends on the boat, perusing farmer's markets, and experiencing all that summer in Portland has to offer!

If you are a Portlander, you know that the Oregon Brewer's Festival, lovingly dubbed "Brewfest", is the biggest (and there are quite a few) brewer's festival in Portland. Always the last weekend of July, it showcases beers from all over the Northwest, many of them made right here in town. Although I'm not a beer drinker (hello gluten!), I always go because I love the atmosphere...tons of wasted people being wild and loving life. I have a blast everytime, despite being sober in a sea of drunks.

This year however, I was pleased to hear that Brewfest would have a gluten free beer for the first time ever! Deschute's Brewery's Gluten Free Pale Ale (which I love), was among the beers being showcased. I was so excited that I'd finally be able to participate in a ritual that is so loved by Portlanders and out of towner's alike.

All my friends planned on going Saturday afternoon and staying all day, and sure enough, when Joe and I arrived, we immediately ran into people we knew. It was super packed, and everyone seemed to be having an amazing time already. We made a beeline for the Deschutes trailer, eager to try their GF concoction, only to find....nothing. The sign for Deschutes brewery had a makeshift sign up advertising some beer that was definitely not gluten free. When I inquired, I was informed that they were out. OUT. As in, nothing left. I was so disappointed. And then I was kinda angry. Here's my deal. People like me who are gluten free usually don't expect to be included in festivities involving beer. Like I said, I've had a blast in the past sober, simply because thats what I went in expecting. But when you go out of your way to advertise that you will be offering a gluten free beer, you open the doors for celiacs and gluten intolerant people to finally come where they may not have before. Once we are there, and have paid our money to get in, we don't really have any options besides that one gluten free beer, and its not like admission and tokens are refundable. So we naturally expect that what we came for will be there. So Joe and I were stuck with an extra mug and wayy too many tokens (we had leftovers even after Joe blacked out...).

I think what annoyed me most about the whole deal is that when we got to the front of the line to buy tokens, I specifically asked about the GF beer, making sure I hadn't been misinformed that it even existed and finding out where it was located. The guy assured me it existed, sold us tokens, and pointed us in the right direction. I understand that it would be overwhelming to keep up with all the beers and which ones had run out, but when you have an entire demographic that comes for one specific beer for health purposes, you'd better be on top of your ish...

I'm normally a big complainer, since I know I'm one of the most high maintenance eaters on the planet. I'm usually happy that people even consider accomadating my requests. But when you advertise something, you should really pull through on it, especially because if you don't, you are losing an entire demographic of people. I do plan on sending an email so that they don't make the same mistake next year. If you feel the same, please send an email as well, requesting not only that they serve gluten free beer, but that they bring enough! I'll be contacting the festival director, Art Larrance, at, I encourage you to do the same!

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