Fort George Brewery block, 1483 Duane Street
Don’t be frightened by the name: while the Festival of Dark Arts brings together a bedazzling collection of unique artists and performers, from the brazen to the macabre, at its core this brew fest celebrates stout ales—the dark side of the brewer’s craft, so to speak. It’s a rather intimate setting—the city-block-size Fort George Brewery campus—with limited ticket sales (about 2,000 tickets), so sign up early via the Fort George Brewery website, and make hotel reservations early as well because Oregon’s north coast really doesn’t have an off season these days.
Annually the Festival of Dark Arts—the world’s largest one-day stout fest—features some sixty stouts of all descriptions, including many limited-production ales, which attendees sample while being wowed by artists working in media such as ice, iron, and glass, and by dramatic performances by fire dancers, belly dancers, and much more. The event runs from noon to
10 pm, with live music throughout as well as food vendors, and the hours fly by all too quickly. Though specific details can change annually, in recent years all ticket holders received a Festival of Dark Arts Grimoire, a festival glass, and twelve drink tokens.
Additional tokens are for sale at the festival.
Fort George Brewery, founded in 2007, annually invites a who’s who of likeminded—or rather, dark-minded—regional brewers to the Festival of Dark Arts, even while offering more than a dozen of its own opaque ales for the celebration. The forty-odd breweries represented at Dark Arts brew up all kinds of intriguing concoctions, including ales aged in bourbon and wine barrels, every imaginable incarnation of traditional stouts, and innovative experimental brews using seemingly unlikely ingredients. During the light of a normal day, Fort George offers an impressive lineup of popular year-round beers and seasonal specialties, some of them distributed in cans, many others available only onsite. The Fort George Public House also boasts one of the best brewery food menus in the region.