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KLCC microbrew festival showcases Oregon originals

More than 200 flavors of craft beers and ciders by 83 different breweries from the Northwest and beyond are flowing at the 2016 KLCC Microbrew Festival at the Lane Events Center this weekend. Photo by Gen Maeda.

Eugene, Ore.More than 200 flavors of craft beers and ciders by 83 different breweries from the Northwest and beyond are flowing at the 2016 KLCC Microbrew Festival at the Lane Events Center this weekend.

The festival, the largest and oldest beer tasting event in the Eugene area, is a fundraiser for KLCC 89.7 FM. The festival runs Friday, Feb. 12, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., to Saturday, Feb. 13, 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets cost $15 at the door, which includes a complementary tasting glass and two beer tasting tickets.

KLCC took over the festival in 2002, growing it from 20 breweries to 83. This year, there are a number of Eugene favorites, such as Agrarian Ales, Claim 52 Brewing, Coldfire Brewing, Elk Horn Brewery & Cider House, Falling Sky Brewing, Hop Valley Brewing Co., Mancave Brewing Company, McKenzie Brewing Co., McMenamins High St. Brewery & Cafe, Ninkasi Brewing Company, Oakshire Brewing, Sam Bond's Brewing, Viking Braggot Company and WildCraft Cider Works.

Meridy Wheeler, public house manager at Oakshire Brewing, said the festival brings the local breweries together.

"A lot of people think that we're in competition with each other but, behind the scenes, we are all friends," she said.

Breweries use this event to show the growth of craft beer.

James Book, experiential marketing director at Ninkasi Brewing Company, said he enjoys the expanding culture of craft beer.

"Everybody drinks craft beer now, not just the beer geeks," he said. "It was a lot of fun bringing it back."

This year, the festival features an "Iron Brewer," and 20 local breweries participated by collaborating to create a new beer based on a mystery ingredient, either lemongrass, peppercorn, ginger, juniper or maple syrup, they were assigned. The 10 "Iron Brewer" beers can be tried by buying the $5 tasting card.

"The collaboration brew was interesting," Jason Carbone, a local college student, said. "Even if you don't really know the specifics of beer, you can enjoy the different tastes."

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