Beer lover’s event a hit in Eugene; chocolate flavored brews win high honors

Nicole Rund

Both nights of the festival featured beers for tasting, live bands and a sale of music CDs and records. The focal point of the event was the 77 different breweries represented, offering hundreds of microbrews served by volunteers. Food was catered by Eugene’s Wild Duck Cafe.

The Microbrew Fest is the main fundraiser for the Eugene based, news and music, public radio station KLCC. The music sale featured thousands of old and new records, CDs and tapes.

Admission included a souvenir glass and two tickets for tasting the microbrews. Festival-goers were also treated to live music by Eugene based reggae band Sol Seed on Friday night and soul, alt-rock and funk band Jelly Bread on Saturday night.

With alcohol being in plentiful supply at the event, Lane Transit District offered free bus rides to and from the festival and a line of taxis waited outside. Designated drivers were admitted into the festival at a discount.

Each booth had multiple brews to sample with the description of flavors and alcohol content were posted for each.

Each year the festival presents a Collaboration Brew where local breweries create their own version of a specific type of beer. This year’s theme was named A Tour of Belgium. For $5, attendees could buy a passport which enabled them to taste samples of 14 local versions of a Belgian style beer. Some of the breweries in the collaboration included: Sam Bonds, Falling Sky, McMenamins, Oakshire and Ninkasi.

“It’s like being a kid in a candy store. So many beers that I wanted to try, but you can only drink a small subset of all the great stuff that’s there,” three-time festival-goer Tiarella Cygnet said. “This year, even though I’m not a stout drinker, on the advice of a friend, I decided to try the Cocoa Cow Chocolate Milk Stout made by Sunriver. It was absolutely delicious.”

This brew won the Sponsor’s Choice Award and also first place in the People’s Choice Beer Award. Chocolate brews were a crowd favorite as the Cherry Chocoholic Baltic Porter from Rusty Truck Ale won second place in the People’s Choice Award. Third place went to Sam Bond’s Filbert Brown Ale.

Santa’s Sauce from Portland Cider won the People’s Choice Award for best cider beer. Due to its popularity, Santa’s Sauce sold out.

Both nights saw many taking to the dance floor. From 7-10 p.m. both days, a free photo booth was available where friends could dress up in funny hats and pose for photos together. The sound of a gong outside Heathen Brewing Company’s booth was heard in the room every few minutes.

Some of the beers were served in unique ways: Portland Cider House served from a converted VW Bus, Rusty Truck Ale had taps set into the side of a shiny old red truck and Silver Moon Brewing had their taps on the side of a silver van.

The KLCC Microbrew Fest is an annual event and will be held again February, 2016.