PORTLAND, OR. — Where can you drink rare and unique beers, raise money for local charities, sing “Happy Birthday” to an impish octogenarian, and pet puppies at the same time?
At the 8th annual FredFest, of course! FredFest celebrates the birthday of Fred Eckhardt, the Dean of American Beer Writers, whose first work on beer styles predates many of the craft brewers and beer lovers who will be in attendance. The event is slated for Sunday, May 5 from 2-6 p.m. at Hair of the Dog Brewery and Tasting Room, 61 SE Yamhill in Portland.
This year’s event will feature creative brews from approximately 20 breweries, all vying to best answer the perennial question, “What Would Fred Drink?” (WWFD?) The beers include: a cask of Hair of the Dog Bourbon Fred, a vintage keg of Chaos double Cascadian Dark Ale from Barley Brown’s in Baker City; Brotha from Anotha Motha, a Bavarian-style Hefeweizen from Widmer; Cherry Chocolate Bourbonic Plague from Cascade Brewing; and Alan from the Wood, a strong-ale tribute from Breakside Brewing to Hair of the Dog’s Alan Sprints, aged on rye whiskey barrels. Keep tabs on the list as it continues to grow at fredfestpdx.com/the-beers.
While it started as a surprise 80th birthday party for the world-renowned Portland beer writer, FredFest has become a significant fundraiser for the nonprofit organizations of Eckhardt’s choice—a different one each year. Eckhardt has selected the American Diabetes Association Oregon/SW Washington chapter and the Hair of the Dog “house” charity, Guide Dogs for the Blind, as FredFest’s official fundraising recipients this year. An active service dog, a guide dog in training and even a couple of puppies being socialized will be on hand, er, paw, to represent Guide Dogs for the Blind.
The event is all volunteer-driven, which means that 100 percent of this year’s net proceeds from FredFest will be donated to both of those charitable organizations. Dubbed “the littlest big-beer festival in the world — or at least in Portland,” FredFest has raised tens of thousands of dollars for Eckhardt’s selected nonprofits in the past seven years of its existence.
Tickets are $75 in advance through FredFestPDX.com and includes a tasting glass (a new style this year), access to a rare collection of hand-curated beers, light fare and, of course, birthday cake, complete with a round of the “Happy Birthday” song for Fred. Cheeses, chocolate, candy and even cereal will be offered in abundance so attendees can experience some of Fred’s more infamous beer-and-food pairings. And, of course, attendees will enjoy four hours of sampling, sipping, singing and storytelling with Fred.