For its 17th consecutive year, the Pacific Northwest Brew Cup returns to its old stomping grounds on the waterfront beside the Columbia River Maritime Museum, Friday, Sept. 28, through Sunday, Sept. 30.
Hosted by the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association, the popular all-ages event offers three days of suds, tunes and choice bites, and features about 40 different beers and ciders from breweries all over the region.
This year’s brews were curated once again by Jack Harris and Brad Depuyt of Fort George Brewery. Local breweries representing the North Coast and Southwest Washington are always invited.
“We try to offer a wide variety of styles to keep it approachable for all attendees, but generally tend to be hop-heavy,” Depuyt said. “IPAs and hop-forward beers are by far the biggest sellers in the craft segment and consistently growing.”
Fresh off their 2017 People’s Choice win for their Huckleberry Wheat, The Prodigal Son will return to Brew Cup from their pub in Pendleton — as will Portland’s Ecliptic Brewing, which took the “Thar She Blows” honors last year, when a keg of their Starburst IPA became the first to go bust on Saturday afternoon. This year Ecliptic will hope for a repeat with their Carina Peach Sour Ale.
Fort George will be bringing a Pecan Porter. “It’s an American-style porter brewed with toasted pecans and brown sugar,” Depuyt said. “With the fall weather changing and a lot of hoppy beers in the lineup, we thought it would be nice to bring a full-bodied, smooth and slightly roast-y offering.”
Besides a wide variety of beer and cider on tap, Naked Winery and WineKraft will be there, as will Astoria’s own Pilot House Distilling, who will pour cocktails with their small-batch spirits.
“It’s always amazing how many people want cocktails at a beer or wine festival,” said Cristina Cary, of Pilot House.
Pilot House will also be selling their canned cocktails, though these need to be consumed off site at a later date. But never fear: There will still be plenty of booze on hand. “Bloody Knuckles Bloody Marys are always a huge hit!” she said.
While beer may take center stage, the music is free and should keep the waterfront bouncing.
Sarah Lu Heath, executive director of ADHDA, said they like to consider Brew Cup “as much a music festival as a beer festival.”
The beats drop at 1 p.m. Friday, beginning with live DJ sets. Portland’s Hillstomp will bring its raucous, bucket-and-slide folk blues to the stage at 7 p.m.
“Love it down there,” Hillstomp’s guitarist and vocalist Hurricane Henry Christian said. “I wear my Fort George hat ’bout every day. It’s the coolest place on the coast with actual life there.”
With so much beer flowing, even a musician’s got to set limits. “Right now I’m a one-before, one-during and maybe one-after,” Christian said. “If two before, things get a little … loose.”
Homegrown indie pop group Holiday Friends will take the stage Saturday night. Expect some tracks off their new album, “Teenager,” which came out in late July.
“We’ll be playing a mix of everything,” singer-guitarist Scott Fagerland said, “including stuff we’re still workshopping. It’s good to try new songs in front of an audience; it really informs us how to finish the song and record it.”
Brew Cup regulars the Brownsmead Flats will close things out at 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. “I love when the kids are out dancing,” ADHDA President Dulyce Taylor said of the Flats’ shows.
The Brew Cup has long been the ADHDA’s biggest annual fundraiser.
Last year, the event netted the association north of $80,000, according to Heath. The money funds the nonprofit’s operations, downtown landscaping and clean-up, and popular projects such as the 13th Street Alley Activation and Art Walks.
Brew Cup draws quite the crowd. Last year, “we had 3,000 pieces of glassware purchased,” Heath said. Considering that not every participant drinks, some share a mug, and that there are many under-21 patrons, the association estimates there were more than 3,500 attendees.
All weekend long, Purple Cow Toys will provide fun and games for kids.
Sunday Funday has added a variety of family activities, including a cornhole tournament beginning at 11:30 a.m. and fish-print t-shirts run by the Columbia River Maritime Museum. You can bring your own t-shirt or purchase one for $5. Things will finish up with a hula hoop competition (complete with trophy) and a downtown raffle.
In line with the ADHDA’s mission to support local business, simply write your name on a receipt from a downtown business and enter to win a gift basket filled with $600 worth of merch.