The inaugural Kriekfest will take place on?Saturday, July 9, 2016 in the small, rural town of Parkdale, Oregon. Situated between Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge, Parkdale lies sixty miles east of Portland. Highway 35, which runs from the riverside town of Hood River, is nicknamed the Fruit Loop for its fertile farms including abundant cherry orchards. The festival?s setting next to host Solera Brewery offers striking views of iconic Mt. Hood and the surrounding orchards. The festival joins others around the state during July-long Oregon Craft Beer Month.
What is kriek you ask? The word is Flemish for cherry and Kriek beers are a traditional style?originating in around?the 17th century. They are spontaneously fermented lambic ales brewed in Belgium-aged casks with local cherries (pits and all).?As sour and wild ales grow in popularity, Lambic-style krieks are the showstoppers both among beer aficionados and those who proclaim, ?I don?t usually like beer.?
World-class examples available at Kriekfest include Brasserie Cantillon and Brouwerij Drei Fonteinen. Today, beers soured with wild yeasts and bacteria are created the world over. Cherry-growing regions are natural birthplaces for such beers and ciders. Driving along the Fruit Loop passengers are treated to pastoral views of cherry trees protected against inclement weather by Mt. Hood. Combined with the fertile Willamette Valley, Oregon cherry farmers harvest over 13,000 acres of cherries and although seasonal harvests vary greatly, the overall value of production within the state has a five-year average of over $55,000,000.
The seed for Kriekfest was planted in 2013 when local beer author Brian Yaeger was talking to Solera brewmaster Jason Kahler at the rustic brewpub in Parkdale. Kahler mentioned that he had three different barrels of wild Kriek beers aging. Noting that two other nearby breweries make world-class Krieks (Logsdon Farmhouse Ales and Double Mountain Brewing),?Yaeger suggested throwing a kriekfest behind the brewery. Solera co-owner John Hitt, who helps organize the annual SoLog festival, is instrumental in making Kriekfest not just a celebration of cherry-laced libations but a family-friendly event that supports farmers, culinary artists, and the whole hillside community.
Most participating breweries and cideries hail from Oregon. Several revered breweries from around the country and beyond will provide kegs. Some of the beers available will be highly limited annual releases while others pouring at the festival will debut at the event. Ticket sales will be limited to 500 while designated drivers and minors will be admitted free. Attendees coming from beyond the gorge are encouraged to camp at nearby campsites or find local lodging, found on the website Kriekfest.com
Kriekfest 2016 tickets are now available at merctickets.com/go/Kriekfest. Tickets are $25 (which includes 10 tickets for 4-ounce pours, starting at two tickets, and a commemorative glass) online and limited to 500. If the even doesn’t sell out, tickets will be available at the door for $28. For more information about Kriekfest, visit Kriekfest.com and follow at @Kriekfest.
Breweries featured at the 2016 Kriekfest*:
Allagash, Portland, ME
Almanac, San Francisco, CA
Block 15, Corvallis, OR
The Bruery, Placentia, CA
Cantillon, Brussels, Belgium
Cascade, Portland, OR
The Commons, Portland, OR
Culmination, Portland, OR
Double Mountain, Hood River, OR
Drei Fonteinen, Beersel, Belgium
Everybody?s, White Salmon, WA
54-40, Washougal, WA
Full Sail, Hood River, OR
Jester King, Austin, TX
Jolly Pumpkin, Dexter, MI (collaboration with Jester King)
Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, Hood River, OR
Lompoc, Portland, OR
pFriem, Hood River, OR
Rare Barrel, Berkeley, CA (collaboration with Cascade)
Solera, Parkdale, OR
Upright, Portland, OR
Wolves & People, Newberg, OR
Cideries featured at the 2016 Kriekfest*:
Spoke & Sail, Hood River, OR
Fox Tail, Hood River, OR
Hood Valley Hard Cider, Parkdale, OR
Reverend Nat?s, Portland, OR
Photo credit: Kiyokaya