In 1988 when the whole thing started, there were only four microbreweries in Portland: Bridgeport, McMenamins, Portland and Widmer. Now Portland has 49 independent little -- and not so little -- breweries. This year, 82 craft breweries from across the nation (including Epic, Redrock, Uinta and Wasatch from Salt Lake City) served over 30 styles of beer plus another 40 specialty beers for a total of 86 different beers.
To partake, you had to buy a souvenir mug for $6, then buy as many wooden tokens as you wanted for one dollar each. One token would get you a "taste" or about four ounces in your mug while four tokens got you a mugful.
I had six token's worth of mostly weird stuff -- peach beer (yay!) cherry beer (yuck - dumped it out), lavender beer (much better than it sounds), porter (my go-to beer along with stout, but stout was out) and two helpings of a light, fruity one called "Berry White" recommended to us by friends-we-made-at-the-festival Ann and Susan (yay for the beer and for Ann and Susan who are from Maryland and thinking of moving to Utah or Oregon -- both good choices). Other than tastes of mine Jim stuck with his usual IPAs, his favorite being "Rye Not IPA" made by Portland's Columbia River Brewing.
Besides beer, the festival featured live music, a root beer garden for kids and designated drivers, classes and informational booths, stuff to buy (Jim got a SNOB --Supporter of Native Oregon Beers--T shirt), and people everywhere.