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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment October 21, 2018

10/2/2018 12:52:00 PM
Fresh hop festival kicks off fall
photo by Cody Rheault
+ click to enlarge
photo by Cody Rheault

By Cody Rheault

The ninth annual Sisters Fresh Hop Festival paved the way into fall season last Saturday with breweries from around Oregon sharing their freshest drinks. Hosted this year for the first time at the Three Creeks Brewing Co. facility off of Barclay Drive, the Festival welcomed locals and visitors from around the state.

With more than 24 breweries participating in the event, the Fresh Hop Festival is a place for beer fans with a desire to taste only the freshest and best available. From notable local breweries such as Deschutes, Cascade Lakes, and Wild Ride, the gathering also attracted the likes of Pfriem of Hood River, Oregon and Buoy from Astoria, Oregon.

With hops picked and brewed within 24 hours, the beer is fresher and more tasteful.

With the Pacific Northwest being a fertile bed for hop production, and Sisters the center of Oregon's brew map, the festival brings some of the best of the Pacific Northwest's beer culture to a small town.

In the years past the event raised funds for the American Cancer Society, with $10,000 raised last year alone. In partnership with the Central Oregon Brewers Guild, Three Creeks Brewing Company decided to contribute to a new charity this year and donate proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House charity.

"Our heart behind what we do is really to give something back," Three Creeks Brewery marketing manager Ashley Woody said.

Moving the Festival to the Three Creeks Brewing facility is a first for the event, and one that has benefited not only them, but the charity as well. Costs and labor for set-up and tear-down at the Village Green - where previous years events have been held - took more time and resources, Woody noted. But with the new location planning came easier, and with money saved, it means more is available for the charity.

More than 75 volunteers from the local Ronald McDonald House and from First Interstate Bank worked the festival, pouring drinks, and helping the event run smoothly. Woody said that the event is typically a one-man-show for her, and without the volunteers, it wouldn't be possible. Throughout the event volunteers were cheerful and friendly as they poured glass after glass of a diverse range of beers.

Musicians Watkins Glen, Leadbetter Band, and local artist Tony Lompa played the main stage throughout the event. Both Oregon-based bands, Watkins Glen and the Leadbetter Band, specialize in retro rock covers ranging from the Grateful Dead, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, and The Allman Brothers and entertained the crowd throughout the day with their old-school covers. Longtime Sisters resident Tony Lompa soloed with his acoustic guitar.

With an estimated 2,000 people in attendance the Sisters Fresh Hop Festival continues to grow and showcase some of Oregon's best brews, but also ushers in the change of season here in Sisters. For those looking to soak up some of the weather's final glory and enjoy some of the state's iconic breweries, the Festival has become one of the last outdoor events before the snow flies.

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