In its 10th year, the annual Pouring at the Coast Brewer’s Festival is taking over an entire weekend, including St. Patrick’s Day, from Friday through Sunday, March 15 to 17.
The centerpiece of the event, presented by the Seaside Chamber of Commerce and Seaside Brewing Co., remains the Craft Brewfest and People’s Choice awards from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Seaside Civic & Convention Center.
This year, however, organizers have added a few other activities targeted toward the several dozen brewers and other employees representing the breweries.
Josh Allison, co-owner and brewer at Reach Break Brewing in Astoria, described that as one of the appealing qualities of Pouring at the Coast: It doesn’t stagnate.
“Some events, it seems like, year after year, they stay the same,” he said. “Pouring at the Coast always seems to be trying to one-up themselves.”
This year, the festival’s lineup of events includes a Brewers B-Ball tournament, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, at Clatsop Community College’s Patriot Hall. According to Brandy Stewart, the chamber’s membership and events coordinator, the tournament will pit teams from the different breweries against one another, and the public is welcome to spectate. There also will be a Brewers Brunch held Sunday morning at Seaside Brewery.
A couple of years ago, the organizers discontinued the Oregon Coast Brewer’s Dinner, which generally kicked off the festival Friday night and included participation from Seaside High School’s culinary arts program. To compensate for that loss and continue enhancing the festival weekend with extra offerings, the organizers are experimenting with these new activities, Stewart said. The goal is to encourage the vendors and public to stay at the beach longer, thanks to a fuller menu of options.
“People enjoyed the festival when it was a little bit longer duration,” Stewart said.
In cold suds
Pouring at the Coast features a wide selection of beers — and some ciders — created by more than 30 independent craft breweries from across the Pacific Northwest. In the past, about 1,200 people have filtered through the Craft Brewfest, sampling beers, talking with brewers, eating food, playing board games and socializing.
The $20 admission fee purchases each participant a tasting glass and five tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets are available for $1 a piece.
The breweries themselves benefit by participating in Pouring at the Coast, which is an “awesome festival to work,” Allison said. Not only do they receive direct feedback on their beverages, but they also get to enjoy camaraderie with other brewers, compete with their best products and receive valuable exposure — all within an idyllic coastal setting.
“There is so much you get from an event like this,” Allison said. “The whole package is just a really fun time.”
Historically, beer has been a center of social life within communities, with public houses being “the place everyone could get together and enjoy themselves,” he said. Pouring at the Coast demonstrates craft beer’s power to bring people together in a way that remains engrained in them culturally.
“Everybody that is there as an attendee is always having a great time,” Allison said.
Another addition to this year’s Pouring at the Coast is a beer garden and live music from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Convention Center. Though many of the breweries will leave at the end of the Craft Brewfest, there will be a couple left behind to have beer available for the concert, Stewart said.
For those who enjoy craft beer — from connoisseurs to casual drinkers — Pouring at the Coast is “something you don’t want to miss,” she said.