AUG/SEP 2006 | REGIONAL | PACIFIC
||Brewers Games On The Beach In
By Tom Dalldorf
PACIFIC CITY, Ore. — While doping scandals were once
again not a part of the scene at the annual Summer Brewers
Games held on the beach in Pacific City in front of the fabulous
Pelican Pub & Brewery, consumption of beer was yet another
matter. For the athletes, spectators and esteemed "celebrity"
judges, such consumption was, I'm pleased to report, required.
The Summer Games were conceived by brewer Jon Graber, then
of Mt. Hood Brewery, to be a test of brewers’ athletic
skills — and mainly to be an excuse to consume each
other's beer. The event originally was planned to alternate
between winter games on Mt. Hood and summer games at the beach.
After the first summer game, the frozen version was abandoned.
And this year's edition, my first, was met with spectacular
weather at the oceanfront location of the host brewery. Sunny,
warm and slightly windy (until the late afternoon when it
got really windy), the day offered competing teams perfect
temperatures for exhibiting athletic and beer-loving prowess
— especially for the going-in-the-ocean-part.
The Games consist of several beer-themed events, including
Building a Jockey Box (so the event organizers didn't have
to), Slalom Course Beer Service with a Smile, Hand Truck Keg
Wrestling, Keg Sled Drag Race, Keg Toss, Mash Transfer Relay,
Yeast Slurry Balloon Toss, Crappy Industrial Beer Can Toss,
the challenging Keg Relay Race to the Ocean and other feats
of skill and cunning.
Teams were made up of brewery employees from one or several
breweries and beer distributors. Style points were given for
teams that showed élan or inventiveness or tried bribing
the esteemed celebrity judges, consisting of John Foyston,
beer writer for The Oregonian; Lisa Morrison, beer goddess
and “Oregon Trail” columnist for the Celebrator
Beer News; and myself (rendering the term "celebrity"
somewhat suspect). At this very kid-friendly event there were
the Root Beer Games featuring the beer drinkers of tomorrow!
The goal was to win the coveted Altitude Cup — a highly
polished keg trophy looking a lot like a beer version of the
Stanley Cup. One of the teams actually stole the trophy and
returned it for style points!
Emcee for the afternoon was Oregon Brewers Guild President
Brian Butenschoen, who made announcements and helped gather
the data from the various events and relay it to the quickly
overwhelmed judges for recording.
Special thanks to a spectator named Artie from Seattle who
jumped in and helped the esteemed, yet numbers-challenged,
judges to determine the winners!
During the games, various teams got style points for bribing
the judges with beer (thanks, Oregon Trail, for the awesome
Bourbon Porter!) and other comestibles. Team Eugene sent its
lovely cheerleaders to give backrubs to the judges. They could
have received more "style" points had they offered
a male version for Lisa. Spilled beer (points off) during
the Service with a Smile event was offset by one contestant
who drank the spilled beer from the tray. Now that’s
Finally, the events were over and the tally done. The sun,
now low in the Pacific City sky, was somewhat less warm, and
the eager participants gathered for the results from the esteemed
judges, who grew less esteemed as the day wore on. Pelican
Pub's Brewery Manager Ben Love ascended the podium to announce
the winners. The voting was very close, he intoned.
The overall winner was defending champ Team Eugene, an athletic
group from Steelhead, McMenamins High Street, Wild Duck and
Ninkasi (soon to be open) breweries who were distinguished
by their colorful Superman costumes and energetic cheerleaders.
The Golden Pelicans, a team made up of brewery people from
the Pelican Pub and Golden Valley Brewpub in McMinnville,
came in second. Colby Jack, one of two teams mounted by Deschutes
Brewing in Bend, Ore., were awarded third place and given
extra props for their long trip to the coast from Bend.
The event raised a record $3,500 for local charities and
contributed immensely to the continued camaraderie of the
brewing community. Sun, fun, beer and brewery folks for an
afternoon at the beach. And, a Pac City version of the Rolling
Boil Blues Band entertained afterwards, featuring John Foyston
on lead guitar, Ben Love on drums and your faithful scribe
on rhythm guitar and silly beer-inspired vocals. Way too much
fun at America's most attractive “viewpub,” Pelican
Pub & Brewery. Plan your June travel accordingly, and
I'll see you there next year!
Tom Dalldorf is publisher and editor of the
Celebrator Beer News.