Brian Yaeger, organizer of the Second Annual Baker’s Dozen, was kind enough to explain the inspiration behind this unique event – we hope to see you all at Culmination Brewing Co. (2117 NE Oregon St) on Saturday, March 12! The fest begins Saturday, March 12, 10 a.m. and goes until 3 p.m. Tickets are limited to 400 (to ensure attendees can sample everything) and are available for $24 ($27 at the door) at http://Merctickets.com/go/BakersDozenPDX
Paid admission includes a 4-ounce sample of every unique coffee-infused beer and every delectable doughnut morsel (most will be quartered). Additional items will be available for purchase, including additional beer by the glass. For folks needing savory protein, Culmination Kitchen executive chef Carter B. Owen will have breakfast sandwiches available for sale and several of the roasters will provide complimentary joe.
As an all-ages event, festival-organizers are introducing the Doughnut Decoration Station courtesy of “Double D,” Delicious Donuts (whose apple fritter will be included with each ticket). Cake doughnuts will be available for purchase for young ones and less-young; all proceeds will go to Friends of the Children, Portland providing commitment assistance to at-risk youth.
Because this event is so different from anything I’ve experienced in Portland, I had a few questions for Brian.
The 13th doughnut…?
The 13th doughnut this year is actually something I dreamt up last year: The world’s first collaboration doughnut. We’ve seen this among breweries a ton: 2 or more brewers put theirs heads together to come up with a new beer. So stay tuned for the collaborative efforts of doughnut makers to debut at the fest!
I’ve often paired coffee and doughnuts, but never coffee beer and doughnuts…can you explain the inspiration behind this festival?
Coffee and doughnuts are a natural. They’re the most perfect symbiotic relationship in the food and beverage world. Maybe it’s the Strange Brew fan in me, but I’ve always loved the marriage of beer and doughnuts, too. But not every beer goes with any doughnut. To make this work, the magical addition of coffee into the beer means there’s a strong likelihood of discovering your new favorite pairing at the fest.
What exactly is a coffee beer, if you can explain it?
For years and years, “coffee beer” meant one of only two things: a coffee porter or a coffee stout, and even there there’s not much difference since you’re taking a dark, roasty beer with naturally occurring coffee notes from the roasted barley and complementing it with actual coffee. Those were and remain delicious. But nowadays we’re seeing myriad beer styles accented with coffee beans or cold brew. This year’s line-up includes base styles like stouts, of course, as well as a brown ale, a pale and an IPA and, to push the envelope even further, a mead. I can’t wait to try that blend of fermented honey and cold brewed joe!
You have written a great deal about beer – what is the attraction for you?
Wow, that IS the question isn’t it? I can ramble on about this for ages! But I won’t. Essentially, I’ve always written about artists, probably because I’m not a great one so I support the community by writing about it. Once I started looking at beer as an art form, the shift in my writing was pretty swift. It’s a fascinating world and I really enjoy exploring the characters in the industry, the trends, the places our delicious beers hail from, and the never-ending possibilities of what beer can be and who can dream it all up. Incidentally, before I ever profiled a single brewer, I’d written a story about the doughnut maker whose creations I grew up devouring. I’ve interviewed hundreds of brewers at this point, but that baker goes down as one of my all-time favorite interviews.
This festival hosts a number of culinary artisans – how do you select the participants?
It’s a little known fact that there are as many roasters as there are brewers in Portland. By doing Baker’s Dozen annually, I hope to be able to tap a coffee beer from each and every great brewery as well as incorporate beans from every worthy roastery. But bringing together 60-70 coffee beers is just too dang much. So I immediately knew I wanted to call this festival Baker’s Dozen and therefore select 13 artisans from each field: beer, coffee, and doughnuts. As for the selection process for breweries, I strived for a range of newer and more established breweries. For the roasters, I encourage partnerships based on proximity to the roastery/brewery. And for doughnuts, it’s a testament to Portland’s love of these typically hole-y delicacies that there are double-digits to choose from. Some brands are known to everyone in town and deserve their followings. Some are less-known but equally fantastic. As one example, most people don’t know of Rocking Frog Cafe on SE Belmont let alone that they make doughnuts made to order. No display case! No bonkers toppings. Just fresh, piping hot ‘nuts you have to wait a few minutes for after you order them. So, how do I select the participants? I invite the ones I love patronizing the most and then start thinking about who to invite the next year.
You host a number of events – what else are you working on right now?
Other than Baker’s Dozen, my main beer event I’m working on is called Kriekfest. Krieks are sour cherry beers from Belgium, but of course they have caught on in America. When I was at Solera Brewing in Parkdale halfway up Mt. Hood from Hood River, which is surrounded by cherry orchards, I instantly knew they had to host a beer fest dedicated to these beers. And to ensure that happened, I organized it. That will be July 9. And yes, I’ve already put some brewers on the case for Kriekfest 2017. Beyond this, I’ve done some smaller events like “Rural Brewer,” a play on the 30 Rock running joke about a play called the Rural Juror. I brought together many of Oregon’s most remote breweries. I did Glühbier–a night of all hot, spiced beers–because that’s actually A Thing in European Christmas Markets that I couldn’t believe hadn’t made it’s way to Portland, so look for that to return to Bazi Bierbrasserie next December. I definitely have a few more I’m fleshing out I’d love to discuss down the road:-)
Here are some photos.