The list of beers for the Oregon Brewers Festival is published, and this year the Fest is pouring 85 different beers throughout the four-day event. (That’s not even counting the Buzz Tent beers!) The list was also sent out with details and descriptions (written by Gary Corbin) in a media release, so I’m running those here in an easy-to-scan format. They’re presented in alphabetical order by brewery name, and I’ve included the ABV and IBUs after the style, with the description below each one.
I’ll be writing up a post soon highlighting my own picks for the must-tries of the Fest.
Update: American Brewing has dropped out.
10 Barrel Brewing, Bend, OR, Zitrone Kölsch, Kölsch 5%/28
Soft. That’s the word that comes to mind when you drink this beer. Pilsner and Munich malts create a smooth malty base for noble Czech Saaz hops. Soft water from the Tumalo watershed keeps the hops from biting too hard. Then the brewer adds lemon (Zitrone) to give it a zesty, crisp finish. Six weeks of lagering adds an overall layer of smoothness.
21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, CA, Hell or High Watermelon Wheat, American Wheat w/fruit 4.9%/17
One of the most popular beers at the OBF for several years, this wheat beer is flavored with real watermelon, giving the beer a subtle aroma and a dry, tart flavor. Low levels of Magnum bittering hops let the unique taste of wheat and watermelon shine through.
Alameda Brewing Co., Portland, OR, Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA, American Imperial IPA 8.2%/103
Columbus, Simcoe and Amarillo hops all contribute the signature Northwest citrus-hop flavor and aroma to this aggressively hopped beer, one of the few at the festival hauling in over 100 IBUs. Pale 2-row, Pilsner and Munich malts topped off with flaked oats provide the sweet fermentables to sustain that hop infusion.
Alaskan Brewing Co, Juneau, AK, Alaskan White Ale, Belgian-Style Witbier 5.3%/15
“White” beer? Wheat proteins suspended in this cloudy beer make it so. Based on a Belgian-style witbier, this beer’s uniqueness traces to the 1,000-year-old glacial water used for brewing. Wheat and 2-row specialty malts are balanced not with hops but by the addition of coriander and bitter orange peel. This one could change your impression of beer forever.
Ale Industries, Concord, CA, Orange Kush, Hybrid Wit 4.5%/22
Very low in hop bitterness as well as finishing hop flavor and aroma, Orange Kush depends on Spanish orange peel, locally grown coriander and Egyptian chamomile to spice this brew. Rahr 2-row and Gambrinus wheat malts comprise this beer’s simple grain bill, carrying a modest dose of Columbus hops in the boil. British ale yeast gives it a dry, biscuity malt finish.
American Brewing Co, Edmonds, WA, Breakaway IPA, American IPA 7.2%/90
Pale, Vienna and Munich malts provide just a hint of caramel to the big, clean malt base underlying the intense hop backbone provided by Simcoe, Falconer Flight, Citra and Amarillo hops. An extra dose of Citra after fermentation give this lip-smacker extra hop intensity.
Amnesia Brewing, Portland, OR, Dopacetic Imperial IPA, Imperial IPA 7.8%/83
You might feel dopacetic (and maybe even understand what it means) after quaffing a few full mugs of this big IPA. Maris Otter floor-malted 2-row, Weyermann Vienna, Briess Carapils and Munich, and crisp caramel malts were mashed with pure Bull Run water to yield a wort hopped with Chinooks to boil, Amarillos to finish and Amarillos again to dry-hop. Fermented warm with American ale yeast, expect a few esters in this beer’s aroma.
Anderson Valley Brewing, Boonville, CA, Summer Solstice Cervesa Crema, Summer Cream Ale 5%/8
This honey-gold elixir is crisp and clear, with an unusual lightness and dryness for such a full-flavored ale. The arousing abundance of Pacific Northwest hops adds both a floral bouquet and a lively, citrusy finish. Its several medals includes a Silver Medal at the 2010 California State Fair.
Bayern Brewing, Missoula, MT, Dump Truck Extra Pale Summer Bock, Pale Bock Lager 6.9%/28
Decoction mashing – heating a portion of the wet grains and re-mixing them back into the mash – combined with cold fermentation, long lagering, keg conditioning and moderate dosages of bittering hops give Dump Truck an extra smooth ride. German Sauermalt and organic Spitz malt and a new strain of yeast specially designed for Bayern account for its unique malty flavor.
Bear Republic Brewing Co, Cloverdale, CA, Hop Rod Rye, Rye IPA 8%/80
A healthy dose of rye added to the base grist of American 2-row pale, Munich and medium Crystal malts give this beer a refreshing tangy twist. Columbus, Centennial and Cascade hops in both the brew kettle and in the dry-hopping stage allow the hops to blend with the rye for a crisp, refreshing taste perfect for a hot summer day.
Beer Valley Brewing, Ontario, OR, Jackalope Imperial Pumpkin Porter, Pumpkin Porter 7.5%/15
Everything Beer Valley does is Imperial, and this unique spiced strong ale is no exception. Two hundred fifty pounds of pumpkin puree plus pumpkin spices make this a guaranteed fall classic. But don’t wait for October – it’s likely to be gone by the end of the weekend. This beer pairs great with spicy food.
Big Sky Brewing, Missoula, MT, Dark Mexican Lager, Dark Mexican Lager 5.1%/30
In spite of its name and style designation, this beer is laden with European roots. Caramel Munich 60 and Caramel Vienne 20 malts add rich toffee sweetness to the pale malt base. Four additions of German Hallertau Tradition hops add spicy flavors and just enough bitterness to balance this smooth amber lager.
Bison Brewing Co, Berkeley, CA, Bison Honey Basil Ale, Summer Ale 6%/20
About 7% of the fermentables in this beer come from organic clover honey. The rest is pale, Crystal and Munich malt, seasoned with Cascade hops and fresh organic basil. Yes, basil – about two pounds per barrel, added in the last 15 minutes. Makes you wonder, how would this beer go with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella?
Black Diamond Brewing Co, Concord, CA, Oranje World, Saison 6.2%/25
This beer is mostly about the yeast and spices used – a White Labs Saison Yeast blend allowed to ferment warm in a base of Pilsner, wheat, aromatic, Munich and Crystal malts, with some turbinado sugar to lighten the mouthfeel. Big aromatic spices hail from cardamom seeds and ginger ground at the brewery along with both bitter and sweet orange peel added in the last 10 minutes of the boil.
Blue Frog Grog & Grill, Fairfield, CA, Ginger & Meyer Ann, Belgian Blonde 6%/25
No doubt about it, Ginger and Meyer Ann will have you Giggilligan. The name is derived not from being located on a deserted isle, but from the Meyer lemon peel and dried ginger in the boil. Fresh ginger is added to the fermenter. And you thought only the Skipper got fresh! This is a crisp, refreshing brew made in the Belgian style.
Boneyard Beer, Bend, OR, Girl Beer, Fruit/Session 5%/15
In spite of the name, boys will like this beer too, if they’re secure enough to try it. Pilsner, white wheat and acidulated malt sugars are spiced with delicate Goldings, yielding a beautiful blonde ale. Eighty-eight pounds of sweet dark cherry puree in the secondary give the English Ale yeast something to do while this one waits to make up her mind.
Boulder Beer Co, Boulder, CO, Hoopla Pale Ale, American Pale Ale 5.7%/35
Magic happened this year in Colorado when Boulder brewers and guitarist-slash-homebrewer Kyle Hollingsworth of the String Cheese Incident joined creative forces. From this collaboration, Hoopla was born, a crisp pale ale made from a blend of German and American grains and dry-hopped with Glacier hops for a fruity, floral aroma and flavor.
Boulevard Brewing Co, Kansas City, MO, Single-Wide IPA, IPA 5.7%/57
Inspired by its bolder cousin, the Smokestack Series Double-Wide IPA, this medium-bodied version boasts a heady combination of six varieties of hops, some of which were employed for dry-hopping. Single-Wide is a golden colored beer with a prominent flowery, grapefruit aroma, and a dominant hop bitterness and flavor.
Boundary Bay Brewery, Bellingham, WA, Double Dry Hopped Glacier Pale Ale, American Pale Ale 6%/45
Made especially for the OBF, this beer makes exclusive use of Glacier hops in four additions, including two dry-hoppings. A simple grain bill of premium 2-row and Munich malts along with crisp Cascade water provide the perfect body to balance the medium alpha (bitter) hop with a strong citrus flavor and aroma.
BridgePort Brewing Co, Portland, OR, Summer Squeeze, Bright Ale 4.5%/19
Got your summer squeeze with you? You can try this one without getting in trouble with that other one. A refreshing brew infused with lemongrass and yuzu, an exotic Asian citrus fruit. The result is bright and crisp with a complex citrus finish, perfect for hot summer days.
Burnside Brewing Co, Portland, OR, Grätzer, Grätzer 5.67%/9
Burnside Grätzer is a unique historically Polish smoked wheat beer, commercially extinct since the early 1990s until Burnside revitalized the style with a Northwest twist. Burnside smoked 600 pounds of white wheat over apple wood to achieve a lightly toasted, nutty flavor with a slightly smoky finish. Unfiltered, it’s cloudy and flavorful and a great accompaniment to smoked meats.
Caldera Brewing Co, Ashland, OR, Caldera Hop Hash, American Strong Pale Ale 7%/???
This beer gets its name from the Hopunion Hop Hash nuggets – pure hop lupulin extracted and scraped from the Hopunion pelletizing line, then boiled for 90 minutes in the kettle. According to the brewer, this has never been done before! Premium 2-row, Great Western Munich, Crisp 60L and rolled oats comprise the grain bill designed to carry this load. Fermented warm using American Ale yeast to bring out the fruitiness, the resulting beer is designed to be a surprise on all fronts. Even the brewer has no idea how hoppy it’ll be.
Cascade Brewing, Portland, OR, Razberry Wheat, Raspberry Wheat 4.5%/15
Put on your rose-colored beer goggles: this brew really is pretty in pink. Whole raspberries added to a sour mash Berlin-style wheat beer create a berry splash in this extremely refreshing beer. The raspberry is apparent on the nose, while the palate is tart and lemony with a hint of wheat. The is perhaps the most quenching brew at the festival.
Cascade Lakes Brewing Co, Redmond, OR, Cyclops IPA, American Style IPA 6.9%/65
Five different American hops (Warrior, Willamette, Liberty, Cascade and Centennial) added in three different kettle stages accentuate the dry, crisp, slightly tart and fruity esters obtained from the London Ale yeast used to ferment this beer. A simple grain bill of Rahr 2-row, Crisp 45 and Great Western Munich stamps this beer’s international passport.
Coalition Brewing Co, Portland, OR, Wu C.R.E.A.M., Cream Ale 4.8%/28
American 2-row pale, Munich, Carapils and honey malts along with golden malted oats and flaked barley comprise this brew’s complex grain bill. By contrast, only two workhorse hops – Sterling and Perle – do the heavy lifting on the lupulin side, keeping this big brew malt-balanced and easy to drink.
Collaborator, Portland, OR, Hopfinium, Pacific NW IPA 6.63%/60
Hopfinium is the union of a relatively dry Pacific Northwest style IPA with the clean fermentation characteristics of a proper German lager yeast – an India Pale Lager – thus allowing the focus to be entirely upon the abundant hops, rather than be muddied by the esters of an ale yeast. Expect a crisp finish and clean bitterness under the dank citrus-tangerine flavor and aromas of Cascade, Summit and Simcoe hops.
Columbia River Brewing Co, Portland, OR, Nyctophobia IPA, American Dark Ale 7.5%/78
Cascadian Dark Ale, also known as Cascadian IPA, is a Pacific Northwest innovation that combines the dark, roasty character of a porter or stout with the high hop profile of an India Pale Ale. Carafa malts darken the remaining grist – American 2-row and wheat malts – while Cascade, Chinook and Ahtanum hops provide the IPA-like bitterness and hop flavor.
Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR, Chainbreaker, White IPA 4.7%/41
Deschutes is taking you into the next beer frontier. Brewed with wheat and Pilsner malts, this IPA displays beautiful citrus aromas from Cascade and Citra hops that meld with the esters of Belgian yeast.
Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR, Gluten Free NWPA, Gluten Free Pale Ale 5%/25
One of the most asked questions at the festival is “are there any gluten-free beers available?” – Yes! This hop-forward Northwest pale ale is made of 100% gluten free ingredients: brown rice, sorghum and dark candy sugar. It’s hopped with Nugget, Centennial, Cascade and Citra hops for a Northwest gluten-free experience.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE, Black & Red, Raspberry Mint Imperial Stout 10.3%/20
A velvety smooth “dry-minted” stout with a serious fruit problem! Heavily roasted grains brings forth a dry, chocolaty character that contrasts with the sweet, fruity full-bodied flavor. But it’s not really black – it’s a very deep red, and the foam has a pinkish hue. A hundred pounds of spearmint and peppermint in secondary fermentation help the beer finish sweet and smooth.
Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom, Hood River, OR, Double Mountain Pilsner, Czech-style Lager 5.4%/40
Brewers at Double Mountain call this crisp refresher “Bohemian Rhapsody,” featuring organic Pilsner malt, Czech lager yeast and Sterling hops. They aged this beer for more than six months to give the Czech lager yeast enough time to allow the flavors to mellow and merge. This is a hophead’s Pilsner.
Eel River Brewing Co, Fortuna, CA, Organic IPA, IPA 7.2%/55
This India Pale Ale is brewed with the finest certified organic ingredients available. A full-bodied beer, bright-minted copper in color, it delivers a crisp hoppy bouquet from Pacific Hallertau and Centennial hops balanced by a distinctive rich malt taste from 2-row, caramel and wheat malt.
Elysian Brewing Co, Seattle, WA, Idiot Sauvin, New Zealand Style IPA 7%/75
Four additions of New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin hops blend gently into Great Western pale malt, Crisp C-120 Crystal and Weyermann Cara-red malt due to the magic of Seattle’s soft city water. A Siebel Institute strain of a very neutral and extremely attenuative American Ale yeast provides a crisp, clean character.
Fearless Brewing Co, Estacada, OR, Fearless Scottish Ale, Scottish Export Ale 5.3%/31
This rich, creamy Scottish-style ale, Fearless’ flagship brew, sports a forward malt nose courtesy of Golden Promise pale and Carastan malts plus a touch of roast barley for complexity. The heady aroma leads into a sweet malt palate with gentle fruitiness. The finish is smooth, malty and lingering, and not at all bitter.
FiftyFifty Brewing Co, Truckee, CA, Donner Party Porter, American Style Imperial Porter 8.5%/36
This sweet, inky brew will give your palate something different to chew on than the hop monsters next door. Eleven different grains (including hand-toasted oats) and a dose of molasses provide its rich flavor and body. Three shots of hops give it just enough bitterness and hop flavor. If the Donner Party would have had this, there would have been no problem surviving the winter’s cold.
Fire Mountain Brew House, Carlton, OR, Tan Line, Summer IPA 4.6%/80
Tan lines are supposed to be gradual, and so are hop additions at Fire Mountain. Centennial hops go into the kettle every five minutes starting at the beginning of the boil. The brewers use Cascades for dry-hopping, providing a citrusy finish to this crisp beer. American pale and light caramel malts provide the grain base to carry all that hop flavor.
Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Paso Robles, CA, Double Jack, Double IPA 9.5%/100
Double Jack Imperial IPA features a big malty middle to cloak the high alcohol and mouth puckering hop bitterness. Huge tangerine, grapefruit and juicy fruit aromas blossom over the herbal blue basil and malt earthiness of this aggressive beer. Note the high alcohol – it’s best enjoyed in moderation. And, uh, get a driver.
Fort George Brewery and Public House, Astoria, OR, Sunrise Oatmeal Pale Ale, American Pale Ale 5.17%/45
Pre-gelatinized flaked oats from Briess – usually the private preserve of dark, malty brews – join organic 2-row malt from Gambrinus to create this unique oatmeal pale ale. Amarillo hops in the boil are joined by Centennials and even more Amarillos at the end of the boil for a citrusy flavor. Save some for breakfast, in place of your cereal with grapefruit.
Full Sail Brewing Co, Hood River, OR, Jimvar Bohemian Pilsner, Bohemian Pilsner 5.6%/40
Full Sail’s latest beer in its Brewer’s Share series, brewed by Brewmaster Jim Kelter, is a medium bodied lager with a spicy hop palate from pure Czech Saaz hops and a firm Pilsner malt base, the way a Pilsner is meant to be. Enjoy it all summer long – and stock up for winter, because it might be gone by then.
Gilgamesh Brewing, Turner, OR, Mint Kölsch, Kölsch 5.3%/0
If you’re looking for a unique brew that is perfect for a hot, summer day, give this beer a try. Instead of extruding flavors from hops, Gilgamesh uses locally-grown mint to make this light, golden brew even more refreshing. Other ingredients include American 2-row malt, rye and local honey. In true kölsch fashion, it’s fermented by a lager-style yeast at ale temperatures.
Golden Valley Brewery, McMinnville, OR, Cote de Or, Belgian Golden Ale 7%/???
Cote d’Or is French for “golden slope,” and you might feel yourself slipping after too many of these. Strong yet refreshing, malt flavors predominate in this Belgian-style golden ale. Estery banana-clove notes linger on the palate, and barrel aging on neutral Chard Barrels provides soft notes of vanilla. Belgian candi sugar lightens the body, and Saaz and Goldings hops in light doses make it an easy-drinking beer with tons of character.
Goose Island Beer Co, Chicago, IL, Pepe Nero, Belgian-Style Farmhouse Ale 6%/30
The unique flavor and aroma of this beer comes from Tellicherry peppercorns added to the whirlpool – and we guarantee, it’s the only beer at the festival with that spice. It’s layered on top of a Saison yeast that lends a phenolic, clove-like character. Other unique ingredients include Crystal Rye and debittered black malt in the grain bill and Pilgrim hops in the boil. This beer is truly one-of-a-kind.
Great Divide Brewing Co, Denver, CO, Rumble, Wood Aged IPA 7.1%/69
Rumble IPA is an American IPA with subtle nuance. Brewed with heavy handed additions of Pacific Northwest hops, this beer is gently aged on French and American oak resulting in a wonderful balance of bitterness, caramel sweetness, vanilla, and undertones of pine and citrus. Very inspiring.
Hale’s Ales Brewery & Pub, Seattle, WA, Hale’s Supergoose IPA, Double IPA 7.4%/80
First wort hopping with Amarillo and Columbus. Three closely-timed late-boil additions of Amarillo & Centennial. Whirlpool hopping with Cascades. Open fermented, then “Terminal Gravity” hopped with Amarillo, Centennial & Simcoes. This beer has a nose that will make you swear you’re driving through Yakima in August. It also has a bit of malt… do you care which ones?
Hazel Dell Brewpub, Vancouver, WA, Imperial IPA, Imperial IPA 6.8%/75
This is a big daddy. Pale, Munich, wheat and C-75 Crystal malts form the backbone. Galena, Perle, Centennial and Amarillo hops provide the muscle. An English style yeast offers some fruity tones to complement the citrusy, earthy hops and round out that big alcohol presence warming the back of your throat. Sip slowly.
Hollister Brewing Co, Goleta, CA, Altered State, German Style Sticke Beer 6.7%/35
If this beer seems extra aromatic to you, maybe it’s the Cologne … malt, that is. Caramunich, Crystal 15 and Carafa malts round out the grain bill. Spicy noble hops – Hallertau, Tettnang and Saaz – and German style kölsch yeast provide true central European character to this classic, almost-forgotten beer style.
Hop Valley Brewing Co., Springfield, OR, Alpha Centauri Binary IPA, Imperial IPA 8.6%/100
Hop Valley commemorated its 100th brew with this 100-IBU Imperial IPA. The brewers mixed Nugget, Simcoe, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo and Galena hops in four additions, including a generous dose in the dry-hop stage, to give the beer intense pine and citrus flavors and aroma. They backed it up with plenty of 2-row and Munich malts to balance the hops.
Hopworks Urban Brewery, Portland, OR, Evelyn’s Imperial Sunshine, Imperial IPA 7.5%/90
Organic Gambrinus Pilsner malt paired with Magnum hops for bittering, a mix of Cascade, Centennial, Palisade, Summit and Magnum late in the boil and dry-hopping, plus a dose of Cascades in the whirlpool make this light-colored but full-bodied, full-flavored brew a crisp, enjoyable summer beer – that packs a wallop. Guzzle carefully.
Klamath Basin Brewing Co, Klamath Falls, OR, Crystal Springs IPA, American IPA 7.1%/70
This India Pale ale is aromatic and complex. Citrus and pine hop flavors dominate the flavor of this Northwest India Pale Ale while allowing malt flavors to linger in the background. It’s big in hops, malt and alcohol.
Kona Brewing Co, Kailua Kona, HI, Lemongrass Luau, Ginger Lemongrass Quencher 5%/17
Ginger and Lemongrass, sourced fresh from the Big Island, are added once this beer’s fermentation is done to give it a unique spicy flavor and aroma. The brewers supplement the simple malt bill of pale and wheat malts with raw turbinado sugar to lighten and sweeten the beer. Organic Pacific Gem and Willamette hops in the kettle meet up with Northern Brewer and Sterlings in the whirlpool for added hop complexity.
Lagunitas Brewing Co, Petaluma, CA, Lagunitas a Little Sumpin’ Wild, Strong Belgian Pale Ale 8.7%/73
This is the big sister of the Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, and the big sister’s gone wild. Lots of wheat for a curious malt complexity, fermented with Belgian yeast for big flavor and lots of hops because the brewers know you like it that way. If you go wild with this one, make sure someone else is driving.
Laht Neppur Brewing Co, Waitsburg, WA, Peach Hefeweizen, Hefeweizen 5.6%/20
Peaches, peach concentrate and a little milk sugar for sweetness bring out the flavor of the sweet, subtle fruit over the big malty ale backbone. Thirty-five percent wheat gives the beer lightness and a little bit of a bready texture, but the 2-row and Vienna malts, a light touch with Cascade hops and the dry Munich keep the peaches front and center.
Laughing Dog Brewing, Ponderay, ID, Anubis Imperial Coffee Porter, Coffee Porter 9.2%/35
Six different malts – honey, light Munich, Crystal 150, black and chocolate malts on a base of 2-row pale – make this dark, rich ale big and strong like its daddy. Millennium, Willamette and Fuggle hops provide just enough hop bitterness and flavor to balance the chocolaty malt flavor. If you’re worried about getting sleepy, don’t – this one is flavored with Evans Brothers Coffee Roasters cold-pressed Sumatran coffee.
Laurelwood Brewing Co, Portland, OR, Laurelwood Organic Pale Ale, American Pale Ale 5.1%/32
Organic 2-row, Munich and Crystal malts provide this brew’s medium body and light amber hue. Fuggle, Centennial and Cascade hops provide an equally moderate hop bittering profile. Fermented with the Laurelwood house yeast, the brew’s balance and full flavor profile show how truly excellent an organic beer can be.
Lompoc Brewing, Portland, OR, Kick Axe Pale Ale, Dry Hopped Pale Ale 5.2%/35
With only 35 IBUs, you might be surprised to learn that this beer has four hop additions, including first wort hopping with Ahtanums and dry-hopping with Cascades. This light touch balances bitterness with hop and malt flavor. Great Western Pale, Vienna, Crystal and a touch of black malt provide fermentables for the American Ale yeast, yielding a clean, quaffable beer that’s slightly fruity in the nose and finish.
Lucky Labrador Brew Pub, Portland, OR, Crazy Foyston Alt, Alt 6%/65
If you’re a fan of Portland beer writers, you’ll know where this one got its name. Two-row pale, Munich 35, three grades of Crystal and some chocolate malt face off against 65 IBUs worth of Centennial and Cascade hops in both the boil and fermenter. You might get the impression that ol’ Ludwig – er, John – likes ’em sweet.. ..and more than a little bitter. But of course – he’s a writer.
Mad River Brewing Co, Blue Lake, CA, Jamaica Sunrise ESB, ESB 5.4%/46
You may have heard of this beer’s darker cousin, the Jamaica Red Ale. This one eases up on the darker malts, relying on 2-row pale, aromatic and Carastan 30/37 to give a golden hue with a full body. Fuggles and Goldings in the hop bill and a clean American yeast means those 46 IBUs aren’t going to bite hard, but yield a pleasant, earthy balance to this very quaffable brew.
Maui Brewing Co, Lahaina, HI, CoCoNut Porter, Robust Porter 5.7%/32
This multiple award winner (US Beer Open, World Beer Cup and more) is a classic robust porter with the addition of all-natural hand-toasted coconut. Its tan, creamy head floats on a black sea of chocolate, 2-row, Munich and Crystal malts as well as unmalted black barley. The addition of CT2 and Cascade hops provides just enough bitterness to balance the sweet malt and coconut.
McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse, Hillsboro, OR, Dark Star, Cascadian Dark Ale 8%/???
Cascadian Dark Ale, also known as Cascadian IPA, is a Pacific Northwest innovation that combines the dark, roasty character of a porter or stout with the high hop profile of an India Pale Ale. Two-row, Munich, Crystals, Carafa and some flaked barley malts fend off four invasions of Simcoe, Cascade and Chinook hops, from first wort all the way to boil-off. Another innovation: Carafa II malt was added to the grant during wort recycling (vorlauf) instead of directly into the mash.
Mt. Emily Ale House, La Grande, OR, Wildfire Red Ale, American Imperial Red Ale 7.6%/55
This is a hoppy, American-style Imperial red ale made with all organic ingredients including 2-row pale, Munich, Crystal 60 and 120 malts. Northern Brewers do the bittering, Centennials in mid-boil flavor the brew and Cascades finish the boil. A dose of Centennials and Cascades for dry-hopping add an extra measure of lip-smacking hop flavor to this big brew.
Natian Brewery, Portland, OR, CuDA Cascadian Dark Ale, Cascadian Dark Ale 7.4%/???
This beer combines the malt profile of a stout – Carafa II, roasted barley, chocolate malt and 2-row pale – with the hop profile of an IPA. A dose of Falconer’s Flight, Centennial, Magnum and Northern Brewer hops in the boil provides just enough hop bitterness. Falconer’s return in the dry-hopping stage.
New Belgium Brewing Co, Ft Collins, CO, Somersault, Summer Ale 5.2%/28
Pale malt, oats and Crystal 80L keep this beer simple but full of body-enhancing protein. Equally simple is the hop bill – Centennial in two additions. The special flavors you detect come from the creative use of apricot and ginger, lending a touch of sweet fruitiness with the zingy spiciness of a fine ginger ale.
New Holland Brewing Co, Holland, MI, Golden Cap, Saison 6.25/23%
This soft, pale beer is a modern interpretation of a traditional farmhouse ale that embodies the flavors and aromas of summer fields. Brewed with 2-row pale malt and an ancestor of wheat called spelt, its straw-colored body, lively carbonation and unique fermentation profile evoke fresh cut hay and cracked peppercorn. It’s lightly hopped with Nugget, Cascade, Mt Hood and Crystal hops to let those unique flavors shine through.
Ninkasi Brewing Co, Eugene, OR, Helles Belles, Munchener Style Helles Lager 5%/22
An enjoyable brew with low hop bitterness but plenty of pleasant Spalt and Hallertauer hop flavor, this brew features Rahr Pilsner, Great Western 2-row and Great Western Vienna, fermented by Wyeast’s clean, crisp southern German lager yeast. This allows the malt body to come through in the finish for a rich, drinkable flavor.
Oakshire Brewing, Eugene, OR, Daily Dose Summer Ale, Citrus Infused Kölsch 4.9%/20
Oakshire draws its malt bill from across the gamut: Rahr 2-row, Castle Pilsner, Briess Carapils and Great Western Munich. By contrast, the hop bill is simple: a light dose of Nuggets in the boil and two shots of Amarillo in the finish. To complement the hops, the brewers added orange, lemon and grapefruit peel and some hibiscus flower and lemongrass for a light, crisp brew with a slightly fruity note.
Old Market Pub & Brewery, Portland, OR, Berried Alive!, Belgian Boysenberry Ale 5.5%/12
336 pounds of Oregon boysenberries and 110 pounds of Oregon raspberries in the secondary fermenter on top of a six-grain malt bill weren’t sufficient to make this beer stand out for Old Market brewers. They then fermented the brew with Trappist high gravity yeast and aged it in Pinot Noir barrels. Low hop levels let you better taste the fruit and oaky, smoky notes.
Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City, OR, Ankle-Buster Ale, Belgian-Style Pale Ale 5.4%/35
This is a brand new beer, created principally for this year’s Oregon Brewers Festival. Caramel 15 and 40 are laid on a base of Golden Promise and pale malt, with all Nugget hops from first wort to dry-hopping. Fermented with a Belgian Saison yeast, the result is a complex beer with esters of tropical fruit, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Pike Brewing Co, Seattle, WA, Pike Monk’s Tripel Belgium, Belgian Tripel 9%/34
This big, full-bodied beer has a complex flavor profile with a yeasty nose, fruity esters and malty dryness. Hints of honey, spice and exotic fruit play with your senses. A secret organic grain bill is given a boost by organic cane sugar. Nugget and Saaz hops give it just enough bitterness to balance.
Prodigal Son Brewery & Pub, Pendleton, OR, Bruce/Lee Porter, Robust Porter 8.1%/26
Northwest pale, dark Crystal, Kiln Coffee and Vienna malts mashed in mineral-rich hard water from the Blue Mountains accentuate the expected mild hop bill provided by the alpha-rich but flavorful Horizon hops in the boil, with Sterling hops added in the latter half of the boil. The hard water is consistent with the London origins of the porter style, as is the rich malty body, deep black color and balance of flavors.
Pyramid Breweries, Portland, OR, Discord Dark IPA, Dark IPA 6.5%/69
Dark IPA, also known as Cascadian IPA, is a Pacific Northwest innovation that combines the dark, roasty character of a porter or stout with the high hop profile of an India Pale Ale. Two-row, Crystal 80, Munich and black Carafa II malts provide the deep dark color and body. The hop bill includes Nugget, Mt. Hood, Simcoe, Amarillo and Centennial, the latter three also used for dry-hopping.
Ram Restaurant & Brewery, Happy Valley, OR, Berry White, Raspberry Wit 4.8%/16
The standard color scale of beer fails to describe this beer’s appearance. Not “golden” but white, its hue derives from the Pilsner, wheat and oats that comprise the grain bill. Vanguard hops are dosed sparingly to make sure you can taste the raspberries added to the secondary and bright fermenters. Trappist high gravity yeast does the heavy lifting in this brew.
Riverport Brewing Co, Clarkston, WA, Blonde Moment, American Blonde Ale 4.3%/14
Pale 2-row, Pilsner and white wheat malt provide the golden hue and firm malt base for this light, thirst-quenching ale, hopped simply by the complex, spicy noble Tettnang hops for both bittering and aroma. An American Ale yeast keeps it clean in the finish, making this an easy-to-drink summer ale, great for when the temperatures rise.
Rock Bottom Brewery, Portland, OR, Zombie Flanders, Flanders Red Ale 6.6%/29
This beer is best understood with haiku:
Palate cleansing brett
Floating in the sour glass
Pie cherry blossom
Rogue Ales, Newport, OR, 22 Ale, Belgian Golden Ale 6.5%/40
Rogue Brewmaster John Maier has brewed 22 different beers for the last 22 years of the Oregon Brewers Festival. This light-colored ale is deceptively strong with a solid hop backbone that lets you know you’re drinking a Rogue.
Salmon Creek Brewery Inc., Vancouver, WA, Oatus the Red, Oatmeal Irish Red 7%/45
This beer is much like an Irish Red, except this one is made with flaked oatmeal. Two-row pale, roasted barley and Victory malt round out the grain bill. Nugget and Amarillo hops provide the hop bittering and flavor. High in alcohol with medium hoppiness, it’s smooth tasting and a little creamy with a clean finish.
Seven Brides Brewing, Silverton, OR, Lil’s Pils, Bohemian Pilsner 5%/33
This traditional bohemian Pilsner is light, crisp, and has a floral hop bouquet that balances the complex malty taste of the all German Pilsner, 2-row pale, Vienna and Cara Pils malts. A unique blend of four hops – Hercules, Sorachi Ale and Hallertau Middle Frau – give it that delicate bouquet and moderate bitterness. Lagering helps keep it smooth.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Chico, CA, Tumbler Brown Ale, Brown Ale 5.5%/37
As the nights grow cool, the leaves on the valley oaks begin to turn and fall. In honor of this yearly dance, Sierra Nevada brings you Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale. Two-row pale, Crystal, chocolate and smoked malt used within days of roasting at the peak of its flavor give Tumbler a gracefully smooth malt character. Challenger and Yakima hops add a balancing bitterness and moderately hoppy flavor.
Stone Brewing Co, Escondido, CA, Stone IPA DDH, West Coast IPA 6.9%/77
This IPA registers on the high end of the hop scale, with Columbus, Chinook and Centennial hops overwhelming whatever malts the brewers could find to throw into the mash tun. It’s double-dry-hopped just in case you missed the first few hop doses; sensitive palates might even taste some of the medium malt character underlying this beer.
Surly Brewing, Brooklyn Center, MN, Hell, Munich Helles 4.8%/14
If someone asks you for a beer recommendation, give ’em Hell. They’ll love you for it. This beer’s golden color comes from Pilsner and Carahelles malt. Lightly hopped from beginning to end with the delicate Sterling hops, the beer’s moderate hop footprint is accentuated by its hard brewing water. A German lager yeast plus four weeks of cold lagering keep this one clean and crisp.
Terminal Gravity Brewing, Enterprise, OR, TG Pale, Pale Ale 6.2%/41
Darker in color but lighter in alcohol and hop punch than the famous Terminal Gravity IPA, this easy-drinking dark amber ale is built on the foundation of US High Color pale malt, light Crystal and Belgium Special B malts. Centennial, Columbus, Fuggles and French Strisselspalt hops join the boil at the very beginning and twice at the end to provide great hop flavor with moderate bite.
Three Creeks Brewing Co, sisters, OR, FivePine Porter, Robust Porter 6%/50
We’re used to seeing porters as dark as midnight, but the original porters were dark brown. Three Creeks revives that tradition with this big, malty porter. A complex malt base of 2-row, Munich, dark crystal, white wheat, Carapils and chocolate malts with Briess roast barley give it a brown malty base. Galena, Cluster and Cascade hops balance with bitterness and a Northwest hop finish. Taste chocolate? That’s from the 22 pounds of Belgian dark chocolate cocoa nibs!
Uncommon Brewers, Santa Cruz, CA, Siamese Twin Ale, Belgian Style Dubbel 8.5%/???
This traditional Belgian-style dubbel is seasoned with coriander and entirely uncommon Thai spices. At first surprising, the floral notes of lemongrass and sharper bite of kaffir lime blend with the deep malt of this dubbel to produce a dangerously drinkable beer. Belgian Abbey-style yeast is used to ferment this strong concoction.
Upright Brewing Co, Portland, OR, Offen Weisse, Bavarian Style Hefeweizen 4.5%/12
This all-organic beer uses Gambrinus Pils and Great Western wheat and Munich malts and a single variety of all-organic hops (can you guess what it is?). It’s fermented with a classic Bavarian Hefeweizen yeast strain yielding a spicy and fruity, dry and slightly tart brew that’s low in hops and long on thirst-quenching.
Vertigo Brewing, Hillsboro, OR, Razz Wheat, Unfiltered Wheat Fruit Beer 5.1%/16
Pureed raspberries added to the secondary fermenter and filtered out during a third fermentation cycle define this unfiltered wheat ale’s fruity profile. Gambrinus pale, white wheat, 10L Crystal and Vienna Caraform malts are fermented with a very clean yeast, adding few esters to the already fruity brew. Noble, delicate Czech Saaz hops at moderate levels keep the focus off the bitter and onto the sweet-tart fermentables.
Wasatch Beers, Salt Lake City, UT, Wasatch Summerbrau Lager, Bohemian Pilsner 5.4%/31
Premium 2-row, undermodified Pilsen and Munich 10 are mashed using a nearly-abandoned traditional German method, single-decoction mashing, to produce a malty Pilsner with body and character, able to stand up to its Magnum, Mt. Hood and Sterling hops. Cold-fermented with lager yeast and lagered four weeks at 49 degrees, this beer is clean and crisp the way a Pilsner should be.
Widmer Brothers Brewing, Portland, OR, Foggy Bog Cranberry Ale, Tart Wheat Ale 6%/20
Cranberries added post-fermentation to this brew provide a unique sweet and tart flavor, along with a reddish color and fruity aromas. Two-row pale, wheat and crystal malt make up the grain bill, providing bready undertones, and a late-boil addition of milk sugar provides body and sweetness. A light dose of Alchemy and Willamette hops keeps bitterness low and lets the natural goodness of the fruit shine through.