2018 Brews for New Avenues

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.

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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).

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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.

Cheers!

Brews for New Avenues

This past weekend was the 6th annual Brews for New Avenues.  This year was the second year my wife and I attended and it’s really a blast.  The brewfest benefits New Avenues for Youth, a nonprofit combating youth homelessness.  Youth homelessness, and homelessness in general, is something my wife deals with in her professional life, so it’s a cause near and dear to us.  A lot of homeless youth are LGBT/Gender non-comforming who have been kicked out of a home or running away from a non-supportive family structure.  It’s a very high risk population so anything we can do to help we’ll try.

BFNA is a little bit different from other brewfests as they focus a good bit on older, cellared bottles of beer donated by patrons or companies that are then auctioned in both a live and silent auction. Oh, and then there’s the beer wall.  The idea of the beer wall is you pay a 10$ donation to grab a bottle off the wall.  At first, I thought “Well if you’re not the first 10 people in line you’re not going to get anything good” assuming people would cherry pick stuff like Westy 12, Bruery Terreaux etc.  Turns out the BFNA people were smarter than I gave them credit for.  It’s a blind grab! The beers are in paper bags and you just have to pick one for them to get for you.  The first year we went the bags were numbered, this year the columns and rows were labeled with street names, so you ask for the bottle at 7th and Burnside.  This event last year is what started my cellar, as mentioned in the earlier post The Beer Collector.  The Lompoc Barrel Aged Special Draft (2009) didn’t make the post since we had already drank that one, but the Ruse Multibeast, 10 Barrel 16 Barrels (2013) and Sound Brewing Barleywine hung around for a while.  Based on the variety and the ages, I assumed most of the bottles were donated by collectors.

This years grab lacked the same variety, but it made up for it in sheer quality.

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2012 Misson Street Anniversary Ale (a Trader Joes brand, which is a little odd, but so be it) and THREE from deGarde! We ended up with Eponyme, Saison Melange #3 and Bruinette.  Since deGarde does a special beer just for the fest, I get the feeling they donated a couple cases for the wall rather than a collector, but I’m surely not complaining.  In my opinion those three are worth way more than 10$, so those were great pulls.

There’s great draft beer on of course as well, a good bit which is one-offs just for the festivals, so that’s always fun to try.  This year there was a brewery from Belgium and one from Canada, so that was cool.

The highlight of the night has to be the live auction.  Things get really crazy and stuff sells for insane amounts of money, but it’s for a good cause, so I think people are willing to be generous.  They have all kinds of super special rare bottles, like unlabeled blends from Cantillon, bottles from Hill Farmstead, giant 3 liter magnums in wooden boxes engraved with the New Avenues logo.  Several single bottles sold for over $8,000. Just with what we heard it had to be well over $100,000 total in the auction.  They posted on their Facebook Page  that they raised just under $240,000.  That’s astounding!!

My wife said she hoped one day we could be in a secure enough financial spot to go crazy and donate $2,000 to the cause for one of the auction bottles, but until then, we’ll just keep giving what we can.  Whether it’s $20 or $100… every penny counts.

On the one hand I want to encourage everyone to support this great cause, but on the other hand I don’t want next years fest to be to crowded.. sooooo…… OK, just kidding, please support it.  They do great work.