The Oregon Brewers Festival is usually unpredictable, owing to the flammable combination of copious amounts of beer, an even greater assortment of people and the heat of an Oregon summer afternoon.

This year, BrewFest exceeded even my expectations–which are admittedly high–thanks to the sprightly combination of knitters and the open vibes inspired by Portland’s friendly atmosphere. (Or the beer. I’m not sure which.)

As one should do when one’s entertainment is only made possible thanks to those in the service industry, one must also give credit where credit is due. OBF always has cheerful, knowledgeable staff working the pitchers, and this year was no exception. They even got a standing ovation from the crowd of beer connoisseurs!

In addition to ogling the sock-tastic projects conspicuously and proudly displayed by fellow Ravelers triners and lavandarknits, we also spotted the elusive Blogger (image rotated for her own protection) hard at work on her July Skif-A-Long project. A brave choice, I might add, given the fact that the many-stranded goodness required by a Skif project also means a penchant for tangling the likes of which one might only see when…. Well, when The Blogger tries to brush her hair in the morning….

Standouts included Dragon’s Milk (sweet, malty goodness), Coffee Bender (what coffee would taste like if it were alcoholic), the new heel-turn technique I worked on, a dark head-turner called Quilter’s Irish Death, and a lovely Foggy Goggle belgian that you either loved or hated. I even managed to document the heel-turn technique in one of the pages of the low-tech BrewFest blog we’ve taken to keeping as a group.

More on that later….

The last 10 rows of Icarus are slow going, partly because of the repetitive stitch pattern, partly because of the length of the rows and partly because I keep working on it while I taste beer.

BrewFest has been amazing so far. If you’re going, Dragon’s Milk is a definite must-try as is the Scurvy Coffee Bender.

I have mitgated the drinking by using a new iPhone 2.0 app, FileMagnet, to read Icarus’ lovely charts. I may never get over the novelty of having a lace chart in full color displayed in my iPod Touch screen. Photos later.

I hadn’t realized until last night just how pervasive the knitter’s mindset is. In the interest of preventing any undue stress, the story you’re about to read does end well, with no bodily injury or serious mental damage inflicted on anyone. (Given the outcome, I might even suggest that we were more amused by our little adventure than frightened.)

My sister, The Blogger Formerly Known as T-Bone and I went to Conference Room C (also known as Rogue Ales Public House) for drinks last night, where we responsibly purchased mugs and tokens in advance for the Oregon Brewer’s Festival. Shortly after our purchase, we had a chance meeting with yet another Former Knitting Store Employee (bringing the total up to 4 former or current employees of said fantastic LYS), whereupon we decided to go get some food and catch up.

That’s when our evening took an odd, unexpected turn. One of Portland’s many denizens of the streets–most of whom are really quite harmless–snatched the bag containing said mugs out of The Blogger’s hands and threw it at her because she refused to give him a quarter. All hell broke loose, and in the ensuing 911 phone call, I was asked to describe the attacker.

“Well, he’s 5′11″ with bright blond short hair and darker mutton chops. Light tan baseball cap, khaki pants. Um…” (Brief pause while I collect my thoughts because Former Employee #4 has engaged physically with the attacker in order to keep him from hitting The Blogger. Or perhaps to keep The Blogger from hitting him, I’m not sure.) “Gray hoodie sweater, light blue bandana tied around his neck.” (Another brief pause while I wrack my brain for more distinguishing features.) “The hoodie has raglan sleeves!”

The hoodie had raglan sleeves.

One of my friends had just been attacked by a violent panhandler, another was holding said panhandler at arm’s length trying not to get punched in the face, my sister’s phone battery died in the middle of her 911 call, and as this was all going on, I was describing to a bemused 911 operator the sleeve styling of the attacker’s hoodie. Clearly, I cannot be trusted in difficult situations (though it should be noted that my sister’s 911 call did not actually include a description of the attacker, so perhaps we should both not be allowed in public).

All’s well that ends well, as the saying goes. Our OBF beer mugs caught the brunt of it (see photo below), and when we went back to Rogue to fall on the mercy of their OBF-mug-dispensing staff, The Blogger animatedly chatted to the staff about how she’d have kicked that guy’s ass if she’d gotten the chance. The bartender and our lovely waitress sprang into action and got us two replacement mugs lickety-split, and my sister and The Blogger will now have proof of the attack to take to court without having to drink their BrewFest tasters from the palms of their hands. (P.S. Thanks, awesome Rogue Public House staff!)

We also proselytized about OBF to the only non-Former-Knitting-Store-employee witness to the whole event, a really nice guy who moved to Portland a week ago and didn’t realize he was moving to beer nirvana.

The moral of the story is three-fold:

  1. Make sure The Blogger and Former Employee #4 are on your side in a fight.
  2. Ignore the kinds of knitting observations you’d normally make about a person when you’re on the phone with 911.
  3. Be responsible and follow through on your court date when the police ask you to press charges so they can keep Scary Attacking Guy and people like him from attacking other people too.

The poor police officer who took our statements wasn’t overly optimistic about the chances of keeping Scary Attacking Guy in jail for long, because many people who say they’ll show up in court just never do. When the people who have just been accosted feel sorry for the police officer who’s taking statements, that just means the system needs a little more support from its citizens.