Oregon Beer News, end of 2011 edition

There are a ton of things going on as we approach the New Year, so that even though I wasn’t necessarily planning on blogging much this week, I had to note a few of the big things in this final week 2011 wrap-up of Oregon Beer News. I probably won’t be updating this post throughout the day (though I’ll be back at it next week), but if you still have some news to share please contact me and let me know.

Deschutes Brewery (Bend) has a number of big things going on: first, come January 3rd the Bend Pub is going to be closed for most of the month while they finish up the expansion of the Pub—though this could be an indeterminate amount of time, as big construction projects go. The tasting room at the production brewery will still be open, as will the Portland Pub of course.

Then, on Tuesday this week, Hop Henge was being bottled and prepped for the Friday release at both pubs: it will be on draft, available for purchase in bottles, and of course there will be Hop Henge-themed menus as well. Normally Hop Henge is released in January, but I suspect it’s hitting tomorrow due to both the Bend Pub expansion and the trend towards releasing seasonal beers earlier to a thirsty demanding market.

Jeff at Beervana has announced the People’s Choice for his annual Satori Award: Logsdon‘s Seizoen Bretta, the Brett-aged farmhouse-style Saison. I haven’t had the Bretta yet, but I’ve had the regular Seizoen and I really like it—so I will likely be seeking out a bottle of the Bretta this weekend.

Golden Valley Brewery (McMinnville) has been posting pictures of their Beaverton expansion on Facebook this week, and it looks like things are coming along nicely. The bar looks to have at least 15 taps which is more than I believe Golden Valley normally offers at any one time; so perhaps there will be guest taps available—or maybe even the new location will have a small brewhouse of its own?

Below Grade Brewing (Bend) is now bottling their beers, and they are for sale at Bend’s Newport Avenue Market. Though they are nearly sold out of the current inventory! Below Grade is one of Bend’s newest (nano)breweries, a 1bbl “basement” brewery that was previously selling their wares only at the Farmers Market in west Bend’s Northwest Crossing neighborhood; their three house beers are the ones that made it to bottles: Validation Imperial IPA, Old School Ale, and Volksvitzen Amber (their South German Weissbock), the three I micro-reviewed here earlier this year.

What end of the year news would be complete without a Best Of or Top Ten list of some sort? The Willamette Week out of Portland has you covered, with “Oregon’s 10 Best Beers” for 2011. Even though I’ve only had five of those ten beers, I can’t say I disagree with it!

Solera Brewery (Parkdale): A couple of months ago I had speculated about this new brewery that is replacing the closed Elliot Glacier Brewpub, and over at the New School Ezra has the scoop: headed up by Jason Kahler of Hood River’s Big Horse Brewpub and John Hitt of Portland, focusing on solera-styled fermentations along with wild and sour beers. Good stuff, something to look forward to in an already-interesting beer region.

Finally, Brewpublic has a story on Portland’s new Harvester Brewing, which is dedicated to all gluten-free beers. They’re brewing with chestnuts, sorghum, oats, and can sugar (which I’m sure will expand to additional ingredients as they brew more styles). Their first bottled beer, Harvester Pale Ale in 22-ounce bottles, is on sale now at Belmont Station.  Sounds interesting, and definitely a beer I’ll seek out to try in the near future.