Who remembers the beer fest at Kesey Square? The one where it may have been possible to sneak in under the tent flaps, and practically drown in strong, bitter red ale. You’ve probably got a fest glass or seven hiding in a cupboard, you’ll use them someday, you swear. Do you remember the years when the ice didn’t show up for an hour after the fest started, so you got early drunk on warm, foamy, strong, bitter red ale? Or the “indoor years,” before the Hilton changed its name to something more… seductive… and if you were lucky you didn’t get hit with water balloons from the brewer’s lounge and if you were unlucky you were stuck in that chaotic echo chamber with a thousand beards drunk on strong, red ale. How about the year when it was wicked hot and security was nonexistent, but Drew’s tunes were on point and nobody wanted strong, red ale? I went around with a spray bottle making people happy, or making people paranoid that I was dosing them, or both. There was one year since moving here that I didn’t go; ironically, it was at the Stein, and a lot of people didn’t go, but Chewie definitely went.
Perhaps you remember some people in tall, nicely felted hop hats. Or a giant wooden statue of Sasquatch.
Long ago in Eugene beer years, there was a man – a man for his time. I didn’t know him, but his name was Glen Hay Falconer (after whom the wooden statue is modeled), and he’s the reason I have all of these memories. Now, as opposed to then, I don’t think most folks know about Glen. He was a brewer’s brewer; a philosophizer of suds and maker of mischief, as far as I’ve heard. After he died, his family and friends came together to keep his good name alive in the form of a scholarship for brewers (who receive a felted hop hat), and a rollickin’ beer fest to fund it. It’s nice: Sasquatch Brew Fest makes beer better because it makes better brewers!
In 2022, Sasquatch Brew Fest made its triumphant return. It was a lovely rainy-sunny day in Ninkasi’s parking lot, and deciding what to drink was a chore, in the best way. People were a little too well-behaved and the pours were a little too just-to-the-line, but then, I enjoy a little shitshow with my beer fests. I got to take my Dad for the first time! He was well-behaved, too.
The 2023 Sasquatch Brew Fest is June 10, also at Ninkasi’s parking lot. Ninkasi Co-founder Jamie Floyd has been an organizer of the fest and is on the scholarship committee, and he and the brewery have been generous as hell to the local beer community. This is just one way.
Should you attend the fest (it’s on your calendar now, right?), which you should, you may see and taste beer with a reference to Glen, or Falconer, or brewed with Falconer’s Flight hop blend. This is part of the lore: “Glen Beer.” It’s got a discernible idiom, as deciphered by his friends. Big, bitter, red. Ish. But don’t be too specific; it’s about the vibe. Could be an IPA.
Now, this week’s events. A little slim, but plenty to enjoy. Orval Day!
Now – March 26
Beergarden & PublicHouse – 7th Annual March Madness Blind IPA Tasteoff Challenge. Details here
Oakshire, 6-10pm – Tuesday Beer Release: Notre Famille. Join us every Tuesday at 6pm to sample the new beer and hear about it – the recipe, the inspiration, the history – directly from our team!
Oakshire, 11am-10pm – Oakshire Inspires: Walama Restoration Project. Walama Restoration Project (WRP) is a non profit organization dedicated to environmental stewardship and biological diversity through education and habitat restoration. WRP is based in Eugene, OR and has restored over 600 acres in the greater Willamette Valley area since 2001. $1 per pint donated
The Bier Stein, 5-7pm – Thursday Tasting Series feat. Wildcraft Cider Works
The Bier Stein, 11am-10pm – Orval Day!
Oakshire, 6-10pm – Tuesday Beer Release: Fruit Farm Peach
Sasquatch Brew Fest at Ninkasi. More details TBA