Suds- and Cycle-Centric Fun at Handmade Bike and Beer Festival

Handmade Bikes and Beer Festival attendees will have the chance to take adult tricycles for a spin.
Handmade Bikes and Beer Festival attendees will have the chance to take adult tricycles for a spin. Tim LaBarge
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Hopworks Urban Brewery has long nursed an affinity for Portland’s cycling scene. The brewery’s outpost on North Williams Avenue—the appropriately named Bikebar—is home to a pair of stationary bicycles that riders can use to burn off a few calories, earn credit toward their next round, and power the building. HUB’s outpost on Powell Boulevard, meanwhile, works cycling components into artwork throughout. And its long-running Biketobeerfest has, for years, spotlighted two cultures closely associated with Portland: cycling and (of course) beer.

So it should be little surprise that Hopworks’s Biketobeerfest joined forces with the the Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association’s annual Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show in 2014 to create the Handmade Bike and Beer Festival this October (tickets start at $10). In just one year, the family-friendly event gained acclaim for its devotion to craftsmanship and enthusiasm for the DIY ethos that permeates Portland's cycling and beer-drinking scenes, a vibe that will continue at this year's festival on Oct. 3 and 4.

A variety of handmade bikes will be on display at the Handmade Bikes and Beer Festival.
A variety of handmade bikes will be on display at the Handmade Bikes and Beer Festival. Tim LaBarge

Eric Steen, communications manager with HUB, says that the groups’ mutual affinity for bikes and beer—not to mention a devotion to quality craftsmanship in their respective fields—prompted the merger in 2014. He sees it as a natural marriage between two closely-linked (and not altogether disparate) groups in Portland. “Most festivals will focus on one or the other, but this one integrates the two in a way that’s a lot of fun,” he says.

That fun includes a chance to talk with—and see the work of—more 30 than local bike builders who will showcase their custom creations through displays, bike breakdancing, and adult tricycle rides, which are "a ton of fun to ride around,” Steen says.

There's also a bike-throwing competition in which attendees can take part. The "Huffy Huck," as it's known, has been a staple of the event since 2009, when it started with a beat-up bike. Participants these days compete to see who can launch a bike frame the farthest.

Performances on custom bikes will take place at the Handmade Bikes and Beer Festival, taking place at Hopworks Urban Brewery's location on Southeast Powell Boulevard.
Performances on custom bikes will take place at the Handmade Bikes and Beer Festival, taking place at Hopworks Urban Brewery's location on Southeast Powell Boulevard. Tim LaBarge

Henry James Bicycles, Karl Edwards Illustration, Pioneer Bicycle, Portland Fender Company, Rain Bicycles, and Zen Bikes are among the vendors who will be represented at the festival. The vendors will show off custom road and mountain bikes, as well as cycling components.

Interactivity is a big part of what makes the festival such a draw. Representatives from the United Bicycle Institute will discuss their lessons and what it takes to become a bike mechanic, and Bike Friday will give visitors the chance to test ride its Haul-a-Day lightweight cargo bike.

Of course, refreshing beer will complement the bike lessons, demonstrations, and displays.

Hopworks Urban Brewery will serve a number of beers at the Handmade Bikes and Beer Festival.
Hopworks Urban Brewery will serve a number of beers at the Handmade Bikes and Beer Festival. Tim LaBarge

HUB will serve a number of its fresh hop beers, and the festival marks the release of its winter seasonal, the popular Abominable Winter Ale. A number of HUB’s brewers will be on hand to talk with patrons about the beers and the brewing process, as well. Several other local and regional craft breweries will pour their brews, although the list of participating breweries wasn’t available at press time.

Other attractions include live music, local food vendors, and games for kids of all ages.

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