Category Archives: EVENTS

Adventures in Beerlandia: British Pubs, Oktoberfest and Northwest Beer Festivals

I first met my English friends Bo and Helen Barcan on a ship sailing from Bergen, Norway to New Castle upon Tyne, Scotland. Cyclists, themselves, they knew what it was like to go more than a few days without a bath, and promptly and graciously offered up the shower in their compartment since the only water available in my compartment, in peasant class, was potentially ocean spray, and we’d have to encounter some pretty wild weather and rough seas for that to happen.

Further sealing our newfound friendship was their eagerness to prove to me that British food is a lot more than fish and chips (they too were vegetarians). When we parted ways at the ferry dock, I had their phone number and address securely penned in my address book, along with a standing invite to dinner if I ever made it to Bristol, in the south of England.

A month later, after cycling across Scotland along Hadrian’s Wall, ferrying across the Irish Sea, cycling around the perimeter of Ireland, sailing back across the Irish Sea, and, finally, cycling across Wales, I rolled up to the steps below the front door of their Westbury Park brownstone walk-up.

And thus began my British culinary and beer tour, which eventually launched me into the beer garden at Munich’s Oktoberfest.

In Scotland and Ireland, I temporarily became a piscatarian—a fish eating vegetarian—simply because I could not find enough nutritious veggie fuel to power my daily mileage of 60 to 75 miles. Fish and chip shops were everywhere, and I couldn’t resist the convenience of running in for a quick “take away” package of folded newspaper filled with greasy deep-fried cod and thin crispy potatoes.

I eagerly headed to Bo and Helen’s with hopes of putting an end to this artery-clogging habit.

In the days that followed, I was introduced to authentic Indian cuisine (for the first time in my so-called sheltered culinary life; it’s now my favorite ethnic food), home-prepared gourmet vegetarian meals and traditional English pub grub with some not so healthy vegetarian twists.

Chip Butty anyone? These little sandwiches consist of white bread, buttered and filled with piping hot chips and tomato sauce. In Ireland, I had already eaten way too much colcannon—boiled or steamed cabbage (or kale) mixed with mashed potatoes and cream. But that didn’t stop me from diving into a pile of the English version at a small pub in the English countryside. The Brits call it Bubble and Squeak (although,come to think of it, in Ireland, I had also heard people referring to this same dish as colcannon). In any case, if you’re not familiar with this British delicacy, it’s primarily sautéed cabbage or leftover vegetables, mixed with creamy mashed potatoes. The only way I could continue to eat this stuff nearly daily was to keep cycling (it’s amazing what you’ll eat when you’re famished).

The other thing I discovered in English pubs, something that is now widely commonplace in the U.S. (OK, this is aging me, but they weren’t widely used here at the time) were beer bar mats: the little card coasters advertising a brewery or brand. As a bike traveler, I found them to be ideal souvenirs due to their light weight, and, in fact, they soon became only the second thing I’ve ever collected in my life—apart from foreign postage stamps I horded as a kid. Over the years, I amassed a pile of both stamps and coasters from around the globe.

In the pubs, I also learned a thing or two about beer; enough to actually spark an interest that has stuck with me even today. In any case, I was gobsmacked to learn that beer, what the English call bitter, is served in pints at just under room temperature (ale, on the other hand, is beer made with hops and barley and is served at room temperature). The term for what we call beer in the U.S. is actually what Brits call lager. The beverage they actually call “beer” is dark ale served a bit below room temperature, not cold.

Got that?

I love the British lexicon, especially words like gobsmack (awesome, awed) blinkered (narrow-minded), bladdered (drunk), bugger (get off, shit, jerk, cheap), bollocks (no good), cheesed off (pissed off), shag (mutual sex), gormless (clueless) and “Bobs your uncle” (an expression I take to mean something like: “that’s it!”).  These were productive days, indeed, for a writer with a life-long fascination with words borne out of my father’s insistence that I use a dictionary to look up the words I was always asking about in the days of my youth, much like I continue to do these days with an internet browser.

After all the beer and food, it was time to push off for the Portsmouth-Cherbourg ferry and take a 14-day detour in France, before finally arriving in Munich, just in time for the mother of all beer drinking events, Oktoberfest.  An important part of Bavarian culture, more than 6 million people attend this massive beer fest every year—although only a small percentage are actually Bavarian; the rest mostly come from the U.S. and other western countries.

What began as a wedding celebration for the Bavarian crown prince Ludwig 1  to Princess Therese of Saxony on October 12, 1810, has morphed into the world’s largest “peoples’ fair.” Tradition prescribes that it runs during the 16 days up to and including the first Sunday in October.

Shortly after arriving in Munich, I visited the local visitor’s bureau, which quickly pointed out to me that with it being Oktoberfest season, and my having arrived without a hostel or hotel reservations, I only had one option remaining: Camping Thalkirken.

What a zoo. Imagine a pastoral, plebeian Burning Man camp flying the Teutonic flag rather than the freak flag.

Located in the Isar River Valley about a 15-minute bike ride from the city center, the 11-acre site holds 300 tents, 150 motorhomes and 100 dormobiles (campervans), and hundreds of partying campers during Oktoberfest, a place where the hardiest revellers sleep only a few wee hours before sunrise.

Camping Thalkirken is truly a crazy mini-city with every thing you need on site, including cooking facilities, a restaurant, and even a lounge (with televisions and table games). Less than 7-minutes from the tent sites, you’ll find a heated swimming pool and the Isar-Canal, frequently filled with an army of overly-intoxicated tubers. With tents spaced just a few feet apart, the only time the campground was even minutely quiet enough to catch some z’s was between 2am and 5am.

Just before sunrise, the entire campground would begin to fill with the hiss of igniting camp stoves, and the clatter of cooking and coffee pots as the revellers arose to make their way to Theresienwiese, located near Munich’s city center, to ensure their place at the front of the gate to, of course, be first in line for the beer tents.

Who the hell wants to drink beer at 8am? Apparently, from what I witnessed, a lot of Oktoberfestians.

So I don’t know what I was thinking, but I figured if the only way I was going to escape the lines and get into a beer tent without my own reservation, I too would have to head out at the crack of dawn. Also, seeing as it was the end of September and with daylight hours rather limited, I was bound and determined to stuff as much into one day as I could. (Note to self: that’s usually a mistake).

In the afternoon, I left my bike locked up at Oktoberfest and headed to Dachau by train.

Yep, that’s right: Dachua Concentration Camp, after a morning of beer sampling…yeah, real bright.

Dachau was a significant interment camp for a number of reasons. First used to imprison any German national who, for political, ideological, or racial reasons, was viewed as an adversary of the National Socialists, the SS later imprisoned Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals at the camp. In addition to serving as a model for all later concentration camps, it also was used as a training camp for the SS. For 12 years, more than 200,000 people from across Europe were taken to Dachau and its subsidiary camps; 41.500 of them were slaughtered or summarily shot.

The modern day memorial site includes the former prisoners’ camp, the intake area, baths, and the crematorium. On April 29 1945, American troops liberated the survivors. My father was one of those troops, which is why I had long felt obliged and compelled to visit.

Next to the baths and the execution furnaces, the most difficult part of visiting this wretched memorial comes toward the end of the tour at the International memorial: A sculpture designed by Nandor Glid, a Yugoslavian artist who spent time in a forced labor camp during the war, strikes at the heart. The sculpture, a mash up of fence posts, barbed wire and a human skeleton, commemorates the many who in desperation committed suicide by jumping into the barbed wire fence that surrounded the camp. As you reach the end of the memorial, you come to a stout wall built with 36 stone blocks. Just in front of it sits a large square urn with the ashes of unknown concentration camp prisoners. The block wall holds the ironclad words: “Never Again,” written in Yiddish using Hebrew letters, and in French, English, German and Russian.

As I exited the camp that day, I felt like I had just experience the worst-best day of my life. It was the worst because it just killed me to think I lived in a world where something like this could happen. It was the best simply because I couldn’t think of an experience in my life that had ever moved me so deeply.

I headed back on the train to Munich with a mash up—like that sculpture—of emotions, feeling hollow and disheartened, depressed and empty; yet grateful and hopeful.

Back at Oktoberfest, I was no longer in the mood to deal with crowds or interested in beer sampling. Before I unlocked my bike and began the trek back to Camping Thalkirken, I grabbed a Radler—a half sprite and half beer beverage just inside the gate, and reflected on my day and just exactly what I had taken in.

As crazy and juxtaposed as these two experiences—Oktoberfest and Dachau—were, when considered side by side, I realized that this is exactly what I love about travel.

It’s not the same as a vacation where you mostly expect everything to be safe, easy and fun. Traveling is more about living in the present with all its inconsistency, risks and unknowns. In fact, the only constant when you’re living in the moment is change, which you must give yourself over to. To travel sanely, you have to stay open and present.

In retrospect, I think my rather rash uneducated decision to take on both of these uniquely German experiences on the same day was actually quite perfect. It definitely gave me an interesting perspective on Oktoberfest, which is another kind of human insanity in its on right, on its own scale.

Beyond the crowds—recent estimates put tbe number of annual visitors at 6.5 million—the volume of beer that flows inside the beer tents is staggering: some 7.1 million liters are consumed during the 16-day festival.

Another fascinating thing about Oktoberfest is that all the beer originates from breweries within Munich city limits. The goal is to get inside one of these breweries’ 14 beer tents and get your stein filled with one of six local beer brands.

The Armbrustschützenzelt (the “Crossbowman’s Tent,” named after a competition that’s been a part of Oktoberfest since 1895) is one of the bigger tents, with around 7,500 seats. Inside they serve beer that American beer aficionados are sure to recognize, Paulaner, a brewery established in the early 17th century in Munich, and named after Saint Francis of Paola, the founder of the Order of Minims.

The Löwenbräu-Festhalle—look for the tent/building featuring towers with lions sipping from beer steins on top—serves the also familiar Löwenbräu.

Bavarians and others who enjoy traditional (and authentic) Bavarian folk music head to the Augustiner tent, which pours the eponymous beer that some say is the best in Munich. Augustiner’s Oktoberfest and Edelstoff are the only beers at the festival that are still served from traditional wooden barrels.

Besides the beer, many also come to Oktoberfest to partake of the wide variety of traditional foods offered: hendl (chicken), ochsen (ox), steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), schweinebraten (roast pork), würstl (sausages), brezn (pretzels), knödel (potato or bread dumplings), reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), kasspatzn (cheese noodles), sauerkraut and blaukraut (fermented green and red cabbage), and always a few Bavarian dairy and meat delicacies including obatzda (a spiced cheese-butter spread) and weisswurst (a white sausage).

If there was one thing I owe to my Oktoberfest experience it is that it opened me up to the possibility of visiting an American beer festival. Had I not been to the largest in the world, I don’t think I would have been very interested in a beer gathering. I’m fairly discerning when it comes to partaking of a public party, but now I feel very lucky: two of my two favorite beer fests happen to be very close to home.

And the thing I’ve noticed is that most of the beer drinkers at these events aren’t there to tie one on. Some come to collect a beer mat or two to help remind them later which brew they loved best, in the same way serious wine tasters make notes when they find a new wine they enjoy. But most come simply to try something new and meet like-minded people.

In England, you toast Cheers! In Ireland, it’s Slainte! In German, Prost! And here in American, just about anything goes, including “Nice to meet you!”

Celebration of Beer Weekend at Skamania Lodge in Stephenson, Washington

10/08/2011 to 10/09/2011

Now in its third year, and well on its way to becoming a perennial favorite for Northwest beer lovers, Skamania Lodge’s Celebration of Beer fest offers a terrific opportunity to taste a perfectly sized selection of great Northwest beers from top craft brewers like Amnesia, Full Sail, Fish (awesome organic beer), Lompoc, Salmon Creek, Prodigal Son, Laht Neppur, Snipes Mountain, and Yakima Craft breweries, as well as one of my all time favorite ales: Walking Man.

Unlike wine, tasting and dumping isn’t the usual modus operandi. Use your tickets carefully. Try a small ounce or two, and when you find something that really turns you on, go ahead and use more tickets to get a full pour.

To really enjoy the full scope of this event, eat while you taste and book a room in advance so you don’t have to drive; Skamania Lodge offers an awesome packages that includes lodging, tickets for food and beer, two keepsake beer mugs, and the beer-centric Kegs and Eggs Buffet on Sunday. Tickets to the beer tasting are sold at the door: $20 for 20 tickets and a mug or $40 for 50 tickets and 2 mugs

On Saturday, from noon to-1pm, attend Beer School, led by Full Sail Brewery’s head brewer Jamie Emmerson, and learn what the elements are that makes beer taste so good.

From 1pm to 5pm, savor, sample and, vote for your favorite brew. After 3pm, brewers roll out their seasonal or unreleased beers for tasting.  From 5pm to 9pm enjoy an Oktoberfest Buffet in the Cascade Dining Room, featuring a special menu of beer themed foods prepared from beers from the tasting an with. $34.95 per person.

On Sunday, October 9, from 9am to 2pm., enjoy Skamania’s famous Sunday Brunch featuring all the traditional favorites, as well as a sampling of foods from across the Pacific Northwest. $28.95. Contact Information

Oregon Brewers Festival

July 26-29, 2012

If you love micro-brewed or craft beer, this is your festival. Always held the last full weekend in July, 2012 Marks the 25th anniversary of this iconic brewfest. The top craft beer festival in the U.S., it’s also one of the nation’s longest running. Some 80,000-beer lovers converge of this 4-day event, sampling 20 styles of award-winning craft beer poured by 80 craft breweries from across the country. The “Buzz Tent” offers another 50-plus rare and specialty beers. In addition to beer tasting, there is a line up of live music, as well as beer-related vendors, beer memorabilia displays, beer home-brewing demonstrations, and an assortment of food available.

Taps are opened at noon and shut-off at 9pm on Saturday; Sunday until 7 pm. Admission to the festival grounds is free, but if you want to taste beer, buy a souvenir mug for the current festival year ($6). Beer is purchased with wooden tokens, priced at a buck apiece. Patrons pay four tokens for a full mug of beer, or one token for a taste. Free handcrafted root beer is served in the Crater Lake Root Beer Garden for minors and designated drivers.

By the way, stay super safe and take the bus, a taxi or MAX Light Rail (located just one block west of the festival on SW Oak Street). The festival also offers free, on-site bicycle parking Contact Information

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Mojolocity: Meet, Plan, Go!

Over the years, the inspiration and motivation for many of my month-long to year-long travel adventures have come to me in quiet Ah ha! moments. I’ll be out on a long bike ride, just pedaling blissfully along, or at home mindlessly chopping veggies for dinner and hear something on the radio, and then the next thing I know this idea starts floating through my head. Suddenly, it hits me: “Holy smokes! That’s it! That’s what I need to do. That’s where I need to go.

Now, how can I make this happen?”

When it comes to travel dreams, execution isn’t my stumbling block. Money, on the other hand, now there’s the thing that has stymied me a time or two.

But I have rarely let tight funds keeping me from going where I really need to go. It’s in my genes, I think, to keep moving. I call it mojolocity—a mashup of words that describe my curiosity and the speed of which I often move on dreams: high velocity. I don’t know if I inherited this from my restless Viking relatives or from the so-called Black Irish on my mom’s side (seeing as many of them fell off a Spanish armada and mated with Irish peasant women, so surely they had wandering eyes and travel drive). I’ll admit, I don’t like itineraries much. I am more of a wing it girl, stick the pin in the map and point my imagination toward it. Things always seem to unfold exactly as they do. I’m never disappointed.

Some people need itineraries and operating instructions, especially people who have been stuck in cubical farms for too long.  If this sounds like you, someone who has no problem imagining your next adventure but gets all hung up on the details, you won’t want to miss the upcoming meet-up in your city (or a nearby one) for workerbees trying to fly the hive. It’s called “Meet, Plan, Go! Presents” A Nationwide Event to Help People Realize Their Travel Dreams.

The organizers of Meet, Plan, Go! offer travel advice and coaching for people planning a career break or sabbatical. They believe that when someone is venturing on such a life changing adventure, it’s important that they have a support community to connect with. Co-founder Sherry Ott explains the group’s mission this way: “Because we live in a society that doesn’t find value in taking time off, we wanted to create a community for people who do want to break out of the norm and travel for an extended period of time.” The details:

“Meet, Plan, Go! Presents” A Nationwide Event to Help People Realize Their Travel Dreams.

Beginning October 18, 2011, Meet, Plan, Go! will be hosting their second annual nationwide event in 17 cities to inspire people to fulfill their career break and long-term travel dreams. The event will offer participants the opportunity to MEET inspirational speakers and like-minded travelers; get motivation, contacts and resources necessary to PLAN the trip of a lifetime; and start taking concrete steps forward to GO on that global adventure.

Casual local meetups are also being held in the time leading up to the October event. “It’s about creating a peer group of people with the same dream. Whether it’s a career break, running a marathon, or earning an advanced degree; we all need people to keep us accountable, energized, and focused on our goals,” added Ott.

Every event will feature individuals who have either fulfilled their own world travel dreams or are currently in the planning stages. In addition to offering tools and resources for planning a career break, they will also address the main concerns that prevent people from taking a career break, usually centered around financial, career-related, societal, and safety concerns.

Over 2,400 people registered for last year’s inaugural event – 23% of which were in a trip planning stage pre-event. In a post-event survey, that number rose to 41%. “We want career breaks to be more acceptable in America,” says co-founder Michaela Potter. “In fact, we would love to see a career break on every resume. And with the support of our 17 inspiring hosts, their panelists, and our sponsors, including Intrepid Travel, we are making great inroads to achieving that goal.”

This year’s Meet, Plan, Go! locations include 10 returning cities and seven new ones: Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington DC and Toronto, Canada.

Registration for the nationwide event is now open. For more information, visit meetplango.com.

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Pinot in France: Pinot in the City

 As much as I’m loath to admit this (it just sounds so unsophisticated) I was 25 years old before I ever tasted a Pinot noir.

As I was drawing up my general plans for an epic 10,000- kilometer bike tour abroad, a friend passed along the phone number and address (OK, this is way before cell phones and email) of her American cousin who lived outside Beaune in an area of France known as the Burgundy region, or the Côte-d’Or. This area happens to be Pinot noir’s homeland.

Alain and Kathleen and their five children lived in the tiny village of Bourguignon, in an ancient pig barn they had refurbished. An organic garden, some fruit trees and an endless horizon of vineyards surrounded the place. Their rustic stone and post beam home had seven bedrooms, four baths and a chapel smack dab in the middle of it (Alain is a minister of the New Church). After traveling by bike down from Dijon that day, two months into my travels, I experienced my Pinot baptism.

Before lunch (or was it dinner?), Alain invited me to crawl under the front steps with him—and I mean duck and scoot in a crouched position through dirt and cobwebs—to select some bottles from his wine cellar. Upon entering the subterranean cavity of this cavernous building, I gasped. I had never seen so many wine bottles—very dusty wine bottles—in one space in my life.

Soon we were sitting down for a meal that commenced at 1:30pm with an aperitif of Kir—white wine with cassis—and did not wrap up until nearly 5pm. Kathleen had prepared a traditional French meal with a veggie twist (I was thrilled to discover they were vegetarians like me after months of staring down meat at meals offered by new friends we had met along the way). This included: l’entrée (a garden salad and a plate of grilled but cold green beans) served with a glass of Pinot; followed by le plat principal (a main course that I later learned was a French version of ratatouille) served with a home-baked bread and a glass of Pinot. We then moved on to the le fromage (a plate filled with small bite size wedges of camembert, Roquefort and brie) served with a glass of Pinot. Le dessert (an apple tart) and finally, a digestive, Armagnac, put the exclamation point on this fabulous meal.  Alain explained that we had been drinking vin de garde—Pinot that would likely improve with further aging. But it could have just as well been vin de pays, table Pinot, because at that point I was clearly bombed, totally unaccustomed as I was to drinking that much wine in one sitting.

Fully anticipating a raging hangover the next morning, I weaved and bobbed my way through the table clearing and dish washing before staggering out to my tent near the garden. By 7pm, I was dead to the world. A bomb could have dropped and I wouldn’t have heard it.

Early the next morning, I awoke to birds chirping and Alain yelling out the door that the crepes were getting cold, and urging me to hurry: We had a full day of wine tasting ahead of us, he said, in celebration of my 26th birthday that day.

As I scrubbed my eyes awake, I was stunned to discover I had no hangover or headache.

That day, we visited a winery outside Beaune, where Alain introduced me as a journalist to the propriétaire de cave (the winery owner), who disappeared for about 10 minutes before reappearing with what he declared to be “une bouteille de vin très special,” a very special bottle of wine”—a Pinot with a 100-year vintage. Was he being straight with us? Who knows, but never before or after have I ever tasted such a perfect glass of wine (an unfortunately that one glass of wine has spoiled me for life, and remains the standard by which I judge all wines).

The winery owner effusively explained his enthusiastic offering this way: Business was way down—the usual onslaught of American oneophiles visiting his établissement vinicole had thus far that year never materialized. And, besides, he said, he really liked Americans, and he hoped if he shared his best with us, we’d go back home and tell all our friends to buy French wine and come visit France.

Just the day before, Jonathan, my cycling partner and boyfriend, had remarked as we were pedaling down from Dijon that the French were far friendlier than he had anticipated. I had noticed it too, but not just France. The welcome mat was, well, overwhelmingly positive everywhere we had recently thus far traveled: Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. Was it because we were cyclists or because there were very few Americans traveling abroad at the time?

No doubt, it was a crazy scary time. February that year saw the assassination of Olof Palme, Sweden’s Prime Minister, in the streets of usually peaceful Stockholm. Just before we set off on our journey, a bomb exploded on a TWA jet over Greece, blowing a hole in the aircraft and driving four passengers out into the ethers of finality. Then Chernobyl melted down (leading to warnings from Danish and Norwegian friends not to eat berries or dairy products while we traveled). Around the same time in West Berlin, Libyan agents bombed a nightclub, killing three innocent people. Also escalating the fear level of American travelers: the MS Achille Lauro had been hijacked the year before. Palestinian Liberation Front hijackers killed a disabled Jewish-American passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, and then threw his body overboard. Travel agents attributed the scads of cancellations they got for travel the following summer primarily to this incident.

For two cyclists traveling on the cheap, the glimmer of light in all of this fear, however, was that transatlantic flights were practically empty (which allowed me to stretch out over four empty seats to sleep). I suspect it wasn’t just the new smoking ban that when into effect that year, either, because we found the backroads of Europe equally deserted. After hearing for years about how American travelers we’re considered “ugly,” we literally got the red carpet treatment nearly every where we traveled in Europe (Italy being the one exception, but that’s another story).

In addition to sharing his prized stash of Pinot noir, the winery owner was eager to share his technical insights. He spent the better part of the morning educating us in his eloquent albeit truncated English about the difficulty of cultivating and transforming the black wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera into wine. We learned that the Pinot grape is very intolerant of harsh growing conditions: wind, heat, cold or draught—these all lead to epic failures in the vineyard. He also advised us that there were more to these grapes than still red wine. They were also used in the production of sparkling wines, rosé still wines and vin gris white wines.

After finishing our rotund glassfuls of the priceless Pinot, we headed off to visit more wineries, where Alain, who grew up in the area, seem to know everyone on a first-named basis. We sampled wines at Corton, Pommard, Bourgogne Chanson, Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot and Musigny. After a full day of wine tasting, I was feeling a lot like someone who had been sucked out an airplane window and was now floating in the ethers.

Back home at Chateau Nicolier, Kathleen had prepared a birthday cake. I started to nod off at the table as soon as I’d blown out the candles. Jonathan helped me make a swift albeit wobbly retreat to the tent. I fell asleep with more than a hint of regret, anticipating awakening the next day to the mother of all hangovers.

Surprisingly, in the morning I felt perfectly fine, again (although I am sure my liver was quaking from the sugar and alcohol overload). I rejoiced in my official indoctrination into the Church of Pinot noir.

If you have yet had a chance to sample the full range of this grape, you don’t need to go to France. Get thee to Pinot in the City in Portland, Oregon.

The Mother of All Urban Wine Events: Pinot in the City

Portlanders and Portland visitors will soon have an amazing opportunity to sample the next best thing next to really fine French Pinot. Taste Pinots from the Willamette Valley right here in the city. In what certainly promises to be an annual event (like Portland’s famous beer festival), more than 100 of Willamette Valley’s top wineries will soon converge on a downtown city block. Think about this: You don’t have to drive to the Willamette Valley to get your Pinot fix or taste. Besides tasting fabulous wines, you get to also nibble on quintessential Oregon bites.

Besides wine tasting, this is a terrific opportunity to meet the people who have helped put Oregon Pinot noir on the wine map. Winemakers and owners will showcase new and current releases of the Valley’s iconic Pinot noir along with a variety of other wines.

Participating restaurants include 1910 Main: An American Bistro, Community Plate, Crooked House Bistro, Dundee Bistro, JORY (at the Allison Inn & Spa), La Rambla, Red Hills Provincial Dining and Subterra. Local food purveyors include Briar Rose Creamery, Oregon Hazelnuts, Oregon Olive Mill, Oregon Truffle Oil, Red Fox Bakery, Republic of Jam, and Willamette Valley Confectionery

Tickets for Pinot in the City

Saturday & Sunday, September 10-11, 2011

2-6pm

Location: NW 9th and Marshall in the heart of the Pearl

One day ticket:  $60

Two day ticket:  $90

At the Door:  $70

All tickets include event wine glass, tasting booklet, touring map, unlimited pours from all wineries as well as samplings from local food purveyors.

Ticket holders must be 21 years or older. ID will be checked at entrance.

Register for Pinot in the City in Portland, OR on Eventbrite: http://pinotinthecity.eventbrite.com/

Photo: The chapel at Chateau Nicolier

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