5 Great Festivals and Events to Keep You From Going Stir Crazy This Winter

by Alexander Frane on Jan 5, 2016 in Roundups

We’re halfway through the dark, but we still have a few months of cold ahead of us before spring. Judging by this last week, January and February are going to be far colder than December. But we can’t stay in and go stir crazy! While most winter events land in December for the holidays, there is still plenty going on in Portland throughout the rest of the the season.

As usual, we focused on the drinking events. There are sure to be plenty of Valentine’s Day dinners at restaurants and bars around the city, but we’ll be rounding those up in a later post. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with those.

All January Long
Oregon loves its IPAs. It’s arguably the most “Oregon” style of beer there is. Every January at the local Hophouse chain is IPA Month. Patrons pay $12 for a blind taste test of 12 IPAs, served 6 at a time with a corresponding list. Guests who correctly identify 10 - 12 of the beers are made Mug Club Members, and lesser prizes will also be handed out throughout the month. On top of that, each participants is able to select their favorite of the array; the beer that is most favorited is named the IPA of 2016. (4111 SE Hawthorne Blvd.; 503-477-9619 & 1517 NE Brazee St.; 971-266-8392)
 
Jan. 21, 5–8 PM
The Mash Tun Brewpub on Alberta is no more; as of January 1, 2016, the space is now Great Notion Brewery with new ownership, new brewers, and a new chef. The full lineup of Great Notion’s beers will not be available until the grand opening on March 5, but a soft-opening for the neighborhood is being held on January 21. Come sample some of the new menu items and beers and check out the new space. (2204 NE Alberta St. #101)  
 
Jan. 22, 4–9 PM; Jan. 23, 11 AM–6 PM; Jan 24, 11 AM–5 PM
January might be an odd time to celebrate chocolate, as it’s a few weeks before Valentine’s Day, but really, is there ever a bad time for chocolate? Chocolate Fest is a weekend long event with hundreds of chocolates, exhibits, presentations, and wine. Friday evening holds a 21+ kick-off party, while the festival itself runs from 11 AM on both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets range from $8 for children to $25 for VIP. And best of all, the event benefits the World Forestry Service, so you can be assured you’re helping a good cause while you break your New Year’s resolutions. (Oregon Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A, 777 NE MLK, Jr. Blvd.)
 
Feb. 5 & 6, 2–10 PM
The Northwest is famous for its seafood, its wine, and pairing the two together. This year sees the 11th annual celebration of that with the Portland Seafood and Wine Festival. Sponsored by Fred Meyer, the local grocery chain, the event features plenty of seafood from Oregon, Washington, and the rest of the Northwest, as well as wine from over 50 Oregon wineries, and beer from select breweries. There will also be live music and events like oyster shucking contests. The event benefits the Oregon chapter of the National MS Society, another truly great cause. Tickets are $12 general admission, $10 for seniors, and $2 off for those who bring their Fred Meyer rewards card. (Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE MLK, Jr. Blvd.)
 
Feb. 3–7
The big event in Portland this winter is Portland Chef’s Week. This annual event brings the top chefs from Portland and beyond together for a week of celebrating Oregon’s cuisine and culture. A portion of the proceeds goes towards a variety of charities that help the needy and protect Oregon’s wildlife habitats. A complete list of the events is available here. Some of the ones we’re looking forward to most are the Double Mountain Beer Dinner at The Country Cat, the Wild West After Party at Bit House, and the closing festivities at The Commons Brewery.

Photo via Chocolate Fest

Tags: Beer, Cocktails, Festival, Food, Fundraiser, Parties, Spirits, Wine
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