Little Rogue Valley Woody: A Beer Festival As Geeky As A Whiskey-Soaked D&D Conference
With nearly 30 breweries, Bend boasts the highest per-capita beer producers in the west. But with more beer than its residents can drink, of course, exporting out of the Central Oregon region is essential—and festivals like “Little Woody” are some of the best showboats for what Bend is producing (as well including plenty of other breweries in the Pacific Northwest).
For the second year, the Little Woody is hosting a weekend festival in Medford, with its particular theme of small-batch beers “aged in wood barrels.” All told, at last count, 25 breweries, cideries and distilleries will be represented.
The event promises such vast diversity and complexity of ingredients, styles and flavors, you may want to bring a pen and pad or some other brand of recording media, just to keep track. Or, wing it, wallow in the sensory amazement bound to overwhelm.
Bend’s Deschutes Brewery leads with The Descendant, a second-generation sour embellished with farmhouse flavors of brettanomyces yeast, a mountain of blackberries, and a long nap in oak barrels. New Belgium of Fort Collins, Colorado, ups the ante with Transatlantic Kriek (cherry lambic), whose intense cherry nose precedes a tart-sweet flush of crisp effervescence, and a Blackberry Barleywine, a “Lips of Faith” release; strong and wintery as the perennial snows of the high Rockies.
A brief smattering of smaller and more local venues include: Fremont Brewing of Seattle brings two vastly different beers; Sisters Imperial Ale (dedicated to sisters everywhere—a little bitter, a little sweet), and deceptively simple-sounding Summer Ale, one grain, one hop, tangerine flowers in a glass. The increasingly popular Fort George Brewery from Astoria, Oregon has Anni Are You Oak Aged?, a Whiskey barrel aged behemoth, with four malts (one cherry-wood smoked) and a pair of hearty hops, for a time and wood enhanced toasty spice; and, Silver Moon Brewery (from Bend) has One-eyed Elf, a brown porter aged in spiced Rum barrels and Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Tranquility Imperial Stout, whose lengthy title says it all.
Come early for best selection, and stay late for maximum indulgence. Designated drivers recommended—and admitted at reduced price!
5 – 10 pm, Friday, April 22 – Saturday, April 23. Harry David Field, 2929 S. Pacific Hwy, Medford. $5+.