Beer Fest makes most of visitors


Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 1.49.49 PMLA GRANDE — After months of deliberation, Eastern Oregon Beer Festival organizers decided to move the event to Aug. 19.

“We originally had it in June every year, and we wanted to build that as our brand,” said Suzannah Moore, one of the La Grande Main Street Downtown members who helped organize the event.

The original date happened to be the same day as the Eastern Oregon University graduation.

“We didn’t want to conflict with something so big in the community, so we had quite a few lengthy discussions about whether we should move it,” Moore said.

Moore said she thinks the move to Aug. 19 will draw in visitors who will be traveling to or through La Grande for the eclipse. Ashley O’Toole, who also helps organize and promote Beer Fest, agreed.

“This has the potential to be the best turnout ever,” O’Toole said.

He said he’s excited to share with visitors what many people would say is a major part of the Pacific Northwest’s culture.

“This is a great way to experience our culture,” he said.

In addition to the approximately 50 drinks that will be on tap, Beer Fest features several live music performances.

The Jack Maybe Project will take the stage at 1 p.m., sharing music influenced by blues, jazz, folk and bluegrass.

Trebuchet, an indie-folk rock group from Petaluma, California, will perform from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

At 6 p.m., Survival Guide will perform music that “falls somewhere between indie rock and electronic, always with strong vocals and a sprinkle of pop,” according to the description listed on

Finally, the after party will feature Bag of Hammers from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The group blends acoustic and electronic sounds through loops.

O’Toole said he is pleased with this year’s music selection.

“We are expanding our reach for music this year,” he said. “We’ve got groups from California and Portland. There’s only one that’s local, and that’s the after party group, Bag of Hammers.”

Between bands, representatives of the participating breweries will participate in question and answer sessions. Q&A sessions are scheduled at 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.

“That was really, really well-received last year,” O’Toole said.

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