Cushy grass underfoot, a glass filled with ruby colored elixir and Mt. Hood filling your periphery—this, my friends, is Kriekfest.
Going on its second year this summer, Kriekfest is a small festival celebrating beer known as kriek, a flemish-style beer aged over fresh cherries. The festival takes place in the back of Solera Brewing in Mt. Hood Parkdale, OR, and the vibe is both family friendly, and what I would term as hipster-lite. Guests are encouraged to camp as accommodations are slim in the area. For those that prefer an all-inclusive package, Brewvana offers a ticket that includes transport both directions from Portland, admission, and three extra drink tickets that those attending at the general admission level will not receive. For those interested in a little more adventure, I suggest either following the camping suggestions on the Kriekfest site or investing in this little gem of a book, Camp Free in the Mt. Hood National Forest by Don Reichart and finding somewhere free to crash with your tent.
General admission is $25 per person and includes eight drink tickets and a souvenir glass. Beers range from 1-4 tickets based on rarity, and 2016 breweries included: Alesong (Eugene, OR), Block 15 (Corvallis, OR), Hanssens (Belgium), Jester King (Austin, TX), Logsdon Farmhouse Ales (Hood River, OR), Upright Brewing (Portland, OR), Solera Brewing (Parkdale, OR), Modern Times (San Diego, CA), Wolves & People (Newberg, OR), Finnriver (Chimacum, WA), and more.
I highly suggest adding this fest to your “must attend” list as its still got all the great qualities of a small-time festival (grassy, short lines, easy and free parking, quirky entertainment, affordable) but with beers that ended up fetching 95+ pts via Ratebeer.com (e.g. Lost Abbey’s Cuvee de Tomme, 3 Fonteinen Intense Red Oude Kriek, and Bruery Terreux Sans Pagaie just to name a few! And I haven’t even mentioned the food!! Apple Valley BBQ set up a special spot within the fest in 2016. If you’ve been like me and missed out on their delectable BBQ every other time you’ve visited Mt. Hood Parkdale (because they run out!), this is the perfect chance to acquaint yourself with their brilliance.
Do yourself a favor and get your tickets now for this magical festival of cherry-centric beers. Be sure to roll into Hood River beforehand and pick up some cherries at the farmer’s market to take home as well since this event is going to have you falling in love with the fruit harvested a stone’s throw from the festival grounds.