To get a taste of the best beer festivals of the West for the summer and fall 2008 season, we've picked the brains of Maryanne Nasiatka and Paul Ruschmann. The husband-and-wife team, who authored the "Michigan Breweries" guidebook to their home state's hop houses, are also the proprietors of Beerfestivals.org. Tasked with the job of gathering information -- and eventually visiting -- beer festivals from around the world, they've cultivated the following list of the 11 best celebrations -- because 10 just isn't good enough -- of the frothy alcohol.
North American Organic Brewers Festival
June 27-29, Portland, Ore. NAOBF.org
"A celebration of organically brewed beer, with more than 50 beers from breweries in the Cascadia region (the world's organic brewing capital) as well as organic pioneers from other industries. The festival is powered by biodiesel, composts food waste and uses biodegradable tasting cups."
Colorado Brewers' Festival
June 28-29, Fort Collins, Colo. DowntownFortCollins.com
"Beer from more than 40 Colorado breweries served in a historic downtown setting, with food and live entertainment. Proceeds benefit other events in Fort Collins."
Seattle International Beerfest
July 4-6, Seattle SeattleBeerFest.com
"A hundred beers from more than 15 countries served in an outdoor Grande Beer Garden."
Oregon Brewers Festival
July 24-27 Portland, Ore. OregonBrewfest.com
"North America's largest gathering of independent brewers, with beer from 73 invited breweries. It's a beer lover's paradise in a beautiful waterfront setting."
Monterey Beer Festival
Aug. 2, Monterey NightThatNeverEnds.com
"Beer from more than 50 breweries and a variety of food, with the providers including the Culinary Center of Monterey (which will receive a portion of the proceeds)."
Great Canadian Beer Festival
Sept. 5-6, Victoria, British Columbia GCBF.com