Feast Portland: Drinking local in the Pacific Northwest

Feast Portland 2017-Photos by Peter Hsieh

Feast Portland 2017-Photos by Peter Hsieh

While most people attend food festivals for the food, I like to drink what is available locally and there is no better place than going to Feast Portland to taste what the Pacific Northwest is all about.   If you’ve never been to Feast, you can rub elbows with culinary names like Aaron Franklin, Gregory Gourdet, Chris Consentino, and Tom Douglas.  But what’s often overlooked in most reviews from these food festivals is the way we quench America’s thirst. The thirst for fine wines, craft beers and cocktails, and upcoming drink trends.

While Feast is comprised of many parts. From the intimate Hands On Classes to the newer Fun Sized Events, this festival has a little something for everyone. However, If you want to partake in what the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in liquid form, make sure the Grand Tasting, the Dinner Series, and of course the Drink Tank is part of your itinerary.

For those Wine enthusiasts, the Grand Tasting located at Pioneer Courthouse Square (No announcement has been made yet for 2018 location) is your ticket to try the BEST wines in the Pacific Northwest AVA region.  If trying something new and local is your repertoire, the Dinner Series is your best bet. (See the Smith Teamaker info below).  If you want to be a part of the new drinking trend, Drink Tank would be your best bet.  Last year’s feature included the thirst more more Beaujolais and Rose wines, Pilsner beers, American single malts, and the ever underrated party pleaser, the Punch.

With that said, and if you like to drink what the Pacific Northwest has to offer, make sure you log on to Feast Portland on June 7th to see this year’s lineup. But more importantly, make sure you log on at 9am on June 8th to purchase your tickets. Pro tip: The more intimate events will SELL OUT! So make sure you purchase accordingly.

The following are some of my drinking experiences from last year’s Feast Portland.  The award winning artisans and purveyors who perfects their craft in the beverage industry.  Though we drink to have a good time, let’s not forget the impact of the 2017 Oregon wildfires.  So make sure you support your local wineries.  Without further adieu, here are some of the consumer drinking trends to look out for.

Feast Portland 2017-Photos by Peter Hsieh

Feast Portland 2017-Photos by Peter Hsieh

Increase Popularity of Sparkling Wines: You probably already know Oregon & Washington shares lots of award winning wines and also shares designated wine growing regions in popular American Verticultural Area (AVA).  But what you probably haven’t heard much about is the popularity in sparkling wine.  Although Oregon already has more than dozen sparkling wine producers, Washington State has just more than a handful producing bubbles during this decade.  Many of these producers use the methode Champenoise, where bubbles come from the secondary fermentation inside the bottle.  This traditional method as adopted the same way as making Champagne, is the most expensive of all sparkling process.

While I’m not a traditional bubbly drinker, I was eager to try Treveri Cellers as this was the same wine Hillary Clinton’s executive chef chose for their White House State Department Dinners.  On the nose, I do appreciate the fruitiness of light citrus and on the tongue a slight perfect for a balanced paring.  Even their version of 100% Gewürztraminer (From Yakima Valley AVA), which traditionally is thought as a dessert wine, contains acidic undertones (7.5g/L total acidity)  and was perfect for seafood paring. All wines are $20 and lower price point and ready to drink, perfect for any occasion.

Feast Portland 2017-Photos by Peter Hsieh

Feast Portland 2017-Photos by Peter Hsieh

Tea-Breaking out it’s ordinary shell: While Portland is arguably best known for their Craft Beer scene, Tea is making a debut with the help of Steven Smith Teamaker.  Smith, best known as the founder of Tazo tea company, created the small batch tea shop and tasting room for Portlandians.  Similar to beer houses, Smith Teamaker offers flights (Four tea flights) along with flavor profile cards.  This enables you to try before you buy to take home.  Also just like beer, they offer tea on Nitro (Nitrogen). Typically with beer infused with nitro, there is a better mouth feel and a complexity all on it’s own.  Lucky for you, they offer a Marsala Tea on Nitro.  It’s a way to have a more robust drinking experience.  Don’t be surprised to see an expansion of Tea Houses in the near future, as there is an occasion for tea anytime during the day.

What’s New on Whiskey:

First of all, I’m a purist. I’m “Old-Fashioned” and like my drinks the traditional way.  To make a traditional whiskey, there are many components in the production process.  It usually consists of a percentage of grains (which can be malted) such as corn, barley, rye, or wheat. It has to be distilled to no more than 80% by volume to be named American whiskey and barreled no more than 125 proof.  To finish the product, whiskey is traditionally  stored in charred oak barrels.  However,  some new strides for continuing pushing the envelope of whiskey are now seen in the Pacific Northwest and for the better.

Feast Portland 2017-Photos by Peter Hsieh

Feast Portland 2017-Photos by Peter Hsieh

In terms of agriculture, Skagit Valley Malting (SVM) source grains from local farming community and marrying it with their custom single vessel malting system. The result? Cleaner grains and better yields.  In addition SVM continues to develop new varietals for great taste and to grow as organically as possible.  The twice nominated James Beard company malts other grain other than barley or wheat, including oats and rye to add value to their product line.

In terms of barreling, Santa Fe Distillery (New Mexico) produces a 100% malted barley Colkegan Single Malt that’s unlike any other. There’s no peat, but instead uses Southwestern mesquite for more of a BBQ flavor that adds dimension and notes its geography.  Aged in various oak casks.

In terms of identity, American Single Malt Commission is a group formed to to help define American based producers in this category through education. The complex ways of each brand’s grains to be roasted, fermented, distilled, then aged has to fit within the commission’s standards. (ie. made from 100% malted barley and distilled entirely at one distillery)

Trend on Beers: With the number of craft breweries amass to over 6,000 for year 2017 figures by The Brewer’s Association, surely you’ll find one brewery within minutes from your hometown. With the increase in supply, the means of transporting has changed over the years as well.  More canned beers will be seen at your favorite to-go shelves.  With that said, an increase of number of the lighter IPAs and Lagers style will be the stars of 2018. Some of the more popular craft breweries has already started seeing these trend who wants to simplify from the heavy ABV styles.

Figueroa Mountain Brewing out of Buellton, California is one of these breweries who understands the consumers and trends. Just recently, they’ve launched Lagerville, a celebration of lager beer styles with 30 other breweries this May. German styles like Pilsner, Helles, and Dunkel are flowing from taps along with Gold Medal GABF brewery names like Russian River Brewery and Firestone Walker Brewing.

An increase in women brewing today has also been on the rise. The mystique of a brew-house catering to a 6′ man is as common nowadays as barrel-aged style beer in can.  Through a female group in the beer industry called the Pink Boots Society, more women in the beer profession has been rising up in a traditional male setting.

Feast Portland 2017-Photos by Peter Hsieh

Feast Portland 2017-Photos by Peter Hsieh

Punch: The Old New Party Drink-The origination of punch came from the Sanskrit word meaning “Five” as it originally had these five ingredients: alcohol, lemon, water, sugar, tea or spices.  As a party favorite, it can be both alcoholic for adults and non-alcoholic for the little ones.  Typically, there usually is a sour (ie. citrus) and sweet component (ie. sweet tea) in the punch you make.  But nothing defines Party and summertime, like a big bowl of punch over an insurmountable amount of ice so you can enjoy the party as well.

If you like to be a part of this great event, DON’T hesitate and wait until the last minute.  All events are conveniently located within the greater Downtown Portland area which can be reached via the Tri-Max (available from the airport) public transportation or a short walk away.

And if you like to Drink Local, this is the perfect gathering Festival the best Pacific Northwest has to offer while spotting those new drinking trends for the upcoming year.


September 13-16, 2018

Schedule June 7th 9am

Tickets Available June 8th 9am


Craft beer lover, BBQ enthusiast, Wine taster, Tequila aficionado, All 'Kine Hawaiian and occasional marathoner to burn all this off.

Be first to comment