While we Oregonians, and Portland residents in particular, are known for being a friendly and tolerant bunch, we are also known for our beer, wine, and food snobbery. It’s nothing personal. If you’re a Budweiser, Coors Light, boxed wine kind of guy or gal, that’s cool. You’re entitled to drink those inferior products. Just don’t expect me to join you.
In all seriousness, though…
I like a good glass of wine, I like a tasty beer out of the bottle or on draft. I’m not a lush. I just enjoy it. The art of it. The subtle nuances of flavor, the pleasing aroma, the color, the process. Beer and wine is an experience, not just a drink or a way to let loose.
I hit up all of the beer and wine festivals that I can and, here in the Portland/Metropolitan area, that keeps me pretty busy during the spring and summer.
Of course, I don’t have to stay on the Portland side of the river to participate. Just over the bridge in Vancouver, for the fifth consecutive year, the Craft Beer & Wine Fest of Vancouver is taking place, June 9-11. With more than 150 wine vendors, fifty craft beer brews & bourbon, food, wine, and music, it’s an event not to be missed. And I haven’t missed it. Not yet. Not ever.
Really, it’s how I kick off my summer. The weather is perfect. Not too hot, yet, but usually clear, warm, and sunny. The kids are in school for one final week and the streets are still lined with locals before the start of peak tourist season. I cross the Glen Jackson Bridge and am ushered in a world of wineries, breweries and distilleries from all over the Pacific Northwest. I’m drawn to the various vendors through a combination of large plastic signage, music, good looking ladies passing out samples and of course, the innate desire to smell, swirl and taste beer.
Music wafts through the air, the smell of delicious hot food teases my nostrils, and the promise of a malty, hoppy beverage provides the icing to this adult-oriented cake.
It’s not just the delicious food, it’s not just the interesting and unique beverages, it’s not even just the music. It’s the people, it’s the chance to mingle with friends and neighbors, strangers and critics in the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. It’s the chance to take in the fresh air, the scenic surroundings, the thought-provoking architecture, the flora and fauna that Portland and Vancouver have to offer.
Every year I go, I get my fill Foodie Fill, my Beer snobbery fill, my music, friends, and nature fill. And yet, when the next festival rolls around, I am ready to go. All over again.
Living in Portland is great. Living in Vancouver is amazing. Anyone lucky enough to call the Northwest home, and the Portland/Metropolitan area in particular, knows how lucky and blessed they are, to call this neck of the woods home. And, if you like beer, wine, good food and music, there’s no place better.