This past weekend was the 7th annual Brews for New Avenues. This unique beerfest benefits New Avenues for Youth, a non-profit fighting teen homelessness. This was our third year attending this event. It’s one of our favorite fests of the year.
While one of the smaller fests in town, it certainly pulls it’s weight bringing in breweries like de Garde, Cantillon and Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen as sponsors and contributors. As would be expected with the above mentioned sponsors, portions of the event lean very heavily on lambics and sours, particularly the live auction and VIP tastings. However, the draft portion of the event has a little bit of everything for everyone.
This years event brought in some big guns. I got a chance to try Iowa’s darling, Toppling Goliath with a tasty IPA. IPAs from Oregon City Brewing and Ruse Brewing were also on the menu. Sticking with the lambic/sour theme I tried several really great beers including a Sour Red from Cascade Brewing, a blended American Wild Ale from Block 15, a barrel aged “lambic-inspired” beer from pFriem, a Saison from Jester King and a fruited sour from Firestone Walker. The two beers that (in my opinion) stole the show were both darker beers from Tioga-Sequoia Brewing out of Frenso, California. The first was their 10th Anniversary Ale, which is a blend of barrel aged stouts, barleywines and brown ales. This was amazing, but the second one really knocked our socks off. The Mocha Midnight is an Imperial Stout with Brazilian coffee, Ecudorian cocoa nibs and Madagascar vanilla. Thick, creamy, delicious and this is one of their year round beers. Wow.
Of course, the other highlight of this event is the beer wall. Random blind bottles for $10. Pay your money take your chances (although, the odds are most definitely in your favor).
Very happy with this years picks. Crazy Mountain Cherry Lime Sour, de Garde Saison Première, Breury Terreux La Démence (a blend of sour ale and bourbon barrel aged ale with white wine grapes) and 2013 Deschutes Abyss. Ironically, one of the expressions of Abyss I haven’t had yet, although this one may be past it’s prime. Still interested to try it though. I don’t know about the Crazy Mountain, but I know for a fact the other three bottles all retail for well over $10, so the value of the beer wall is unquestionable. If you’re willing to take a chance you might end up with something remarkable. We’ve already had the Crazy Mountain and it was a winner.
What’s really impressive is to take a look at the past event’s on Brews for New Avenues website. In 2015, they raised $58,000. In 2016 (our first year, although I’m not taking credit for the increases), they raised $150,000. Last year, they raised $240,000. During this year’s event they announced that in 6 years they had raised a half a million dollars, realizing that nearly half of that had come last year. A couple days after the event they announced that this year they raised $280,000. What an amazing growth curve.
A lot of the big money comes from the live auction, which includes rare bottles (3L bottles of Cantillon, etc) and brewery experiences. This year’s auction had fewer items, but included three brewery experiences. Paid airfare, private tours, tasting, etc, the whole nine yards. One was at pFriem here in Oregon, one was at Jester King in Austin, TX and the other was at 3 Fonteinen in Belgium. My jaw was on the floor for the Belgian one just thinking about what an awesome experience that would be. I was very jealous of the person who got to go on that trip, although the winning bid was $12,500… so not that jealous.
In the end, the real winners are the kids.