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Breweries travel from all over to attend Bend Brewfest

By Kim Tobin
Published On: Aug 15 2013 10:08:04 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Kim Tobin was live at the 2013 Bend Brewfest, talking with breweries from near and far.

BEND, Ore. -

The beer was flowing at the first day of the 2013 Bend Brewfest on Thursday, and many out of town breweries said they make sure to come to Bend for the beer festival because it's one they don't to miss.

The beer event has 63 breweries, pouring 140 different types of beers. Organizers say 10,000 people are expected to pack into the Les Shwab Amphitheatre each day of the three day event.

"You always want to showcase your beers here in Central Oregon," said Ryan Stahel with New Belgium Brewing out of Fort Collins Colorado. "There are 20 breweries and 80,000 people in this town. You want to come showcase what you have and you have to keep New Belgium relevant."

Other breweries are flocking to Bend from California, such as 21st Amendment Brewery from San Francisco.

"It's becoming one of the premier brew festivals in the northwest," said Jason Grisham, with 21st Amendment Brewery. "The atmosphere and location is just beautiful and there are great people. Bend is beer capital for Oregon and you could argue, for the country."

In a small town with breweries on almost every corner, how the other visiting breweries keep up?

Grisham says it's all about bringing something unique to the table.

"We have a beer called Hell or High Watermelon Wheat and it is a fan favorite," Grisham said. 'It's an American style wheat beer with Hermiston watermelon. so we put a little local tie in it."

Even though it might seem like they're battling it out for the best brew, many of the breweries agree that it's a team effort in a big beer family.

"It's really nice have the respect of the brewers," Stahel said. "We're definitely competing with them, but in the same sense, we're still doing this together. The better that craft brew does, the better we're all going to do."

The head brewer at Redmond's Smith Rock Brewing says it's the company's first time serving at Brewfest and they'll be show casing their imperial oatmeal stout. It's a beer specially made for the event on the X-tap Friday night at 6 p.m.

"I'm really excited," said Natalie Patterson. "It's great exposure for us. We go every year and we love Brewfest, and having one of our brews there is just great for us."

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