Tasty Tuesday : Organic Brewers Festival 2015

The NAOBF logo.

Seeing as how beer is made from natural ingredients, you’d think that it would logically follow that beer is organic. In Europe that’s just how it’s done. In fact, the Europeans make organic beer as a matter of course. But in North America, not so much. That’s why Craig Nicholls started the North American Organic Brewers Festival to feature those brewers in NA who create their beers organically.

A photo of a dark beer being poured from a pitcher into a clear plastic beverage container branded with the event logo. PHOTOGRAPHY © Timothy R. Horn

PHOTOGRAPHY © Timothy R. Horn

Since its inception eleven years ago, the NAOBF (as it’s known to the festival faithful) has become the largest celebration and exposition of organic brewing in the world. And a major proponent of sustainability and recycling. In years past, the festival has generated only four bags of trash for the entire four days of the festival.

The festival strives to be the most earth-friendly beer festival in North America. Recycling containers are provided and organic cotton and hemp t-shirts are worn by the volunteers. Vendors at the festival also promote sustainable living.

Bottles of Pinkus Müller beer

Because this festival is so highly respected within the organic brewing community, Pinkus Müller, of Münster, Germany, a family-owned organic brewery since 1816, is sending 4 kegs of their beer to the NAOBF. This is a major coup. Pinkus has never before supplied kegs for draft beer to anywhere in North America. Ever. The first keg will be tapped Thursday at 4 PM. When these kegs are empty, that’s it. No more draft Pinkus till next year.

Other organic brewers at the event will include; Widmer Brothers, McMenamins, Kells, Lompoc, Coin Toss, Fort George, Hopworks, Lakefront from Wisconsin, Uinta from Salt Lake, and Samuel Smith of England. There will be 35 breweries from all over North America and Europe at the event.

A bottle of Samuel Smith Rasberry Ale and a mason jar with Samuel Smith's Rasberry Ale in the jar.

Since the North American Organic Brewers Festival is committed to ‘being green’ there is a reward for either arriving at the event by bicycle or on public transportation. If you ride your bike, not only is there valet bike parking, sponsored by Hopworks, you will receive a beer token for presenting your valet ticket. The same if you take MAX and show your ticket at admission.

For those planning to drive to Overlook Park, the is no parking at the event. You must park in the Overlook neighborhood. If you do drive, please be considerate of, and polite towards, those living in the neighborhood.

The NAOBF is a family friendly event, and minors are welcome with parents. There will also be live music, organic food, a root beer garden with complimentary Crater Lake Root Beer for minors and designated drivers, and a kids area.

The festival opens Thursday, August 13 at noon and runs through Sunday, August 16. The gates close at 9 PM Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 5 PM on Sunday. Event admission is free. A $7 reusable glass is required for tasting beer, as are tokens. Tokens sell for $1 apiece. A full glass of beer costs four tokens and a three-ounce taste costs one token.

Listen now as Steven Shomler and Ken Wilson talk with Craig Nicholls, founder and organizer of the North American Organic Brewers Festival.

Ken Wilson
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