Deschutes Historical Museum, Harry & David Field September, May www.thelittlewoody.com
A multicity festival celebrating the ever-growing enthusiasm and excitement for small-batch wood-aged beers, spirits, and ciders dreamt up by regional brewers, the Little Woody Barrel-Aged Beer, Cider & Whiskey Festival was first launched in Bend in 2009, and has since spread to include Little Woody fests in Medford. With an easily recognizable gnome as the festival icon, Little Woody brings together an eclectic collection of libations and gleeful connoisseurs who enjoy sampling them. Of the impressive array of beers, whiskies, and other offerings, they all have one thing in common: they’ve spent time in barrels.
The Little Woody Barrel-Aged Beer, Cider & Whiskey Festival – USA Festivals Photo Gallery
While whiskey is traditionally aged in oak barrels, Oregon craft brewers continue to experiment with barrel-aged ales, including beers finished in x-bourbon casks, x-wine casks, x-whiskey casks, new oak barrels, and even x-cognac barrels—and every year brings a new idea for barrel-aged beers.
In short, any barrel that’s previously held any kind of wine or spirit is fair game for Oregon brewers, and Little Woody brings a bunch of the latest and the greatest, from breweries both big and small, into one big, congenial party (or rather, three big, congenial parties). In addition to sampling many beers and ciders,
Little Woody attendees can also taste a variety of whiskies, both ryes and bourbons, all to the music; local food vendors offer a variety of excellent eats.
Little Woody celebrates barrel-aged ales, ciders, and accompaniment of live whiskey in two different Oregon cities.
Little Woody has proven to be a big hit, not only with the buoyant crowds but also with local breweries, and each year many in-town favorites fill out the vendor list, joining a handful of popular ale makers from throughout the region. Each of them brings the deeply flavored, multilayered beers that define the barrel-aged genre.
Little Woody runs Friday from late afternoon until 10 pm, and Saturday from noon to 10 pm. Modestly priced tickets to the event are available at the gate, but Little Woody draws substantial crowds, so advance ticket purchase assures you’ll get in, and advance-purchase tickets (see the event website) are discounted. Paid entry includes a commemorative tasting glass. A tasting package, also modestly priced, includes a glass and eight tasting tokens, and the VIP package for just a few dollars more gets you a VIP glass, ten tasting tokens, and a coveted Little Woody T-shirt, along with early Friday entry. Individual tasting tokens are $1 each, and tastes cost two to five tokens each.
The Medford (May) and Bend (September) Little Woody Festivals are held outdoors. Medford’s Little Woody is held at Harry & David Field; the Bend Little Woody is held at the Deschutes Historical Museum.
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