Spooky SZN has come and gone, but that means that Turkey Day and all the other holidays are in full swing. Don’t worry about checking; I’m sure your calendar is already full. This time of year usually is full of all the adjunct-loaded Stouts, but we don’t have to tell you that Lagers and IPAs are always here to stay. Anyway, here are some of the staff picks from coast to coast.
Where hops are, fresh hop IPAs are, too. The first week of September brings a buzz to the community of Sunnyside, Washington. Agriculture built this town — hop culture, to be exact. The first week of September (give or take) is the kickoff of harvest season, and drinking a Valley Fresh IPA is a great way to celebrate it.
Being a beer nerd with half an eye out for whatever new tool or trend the industry intends to chuck out at us next, I haven’t been able to help but notice the term thiol appearing in my feed with increasing frequency. According to the Brewers Association, thiols are highly aroma-active compounds derived from hops that can give very intense fruity flavor to predominantly dry-hopped beers. While the presence of thiols in wine grapes has been known for a while, thiols in hops were discovered relatively recently, hence the sudden outpouring of interest, much of which is tied to the fact that the brewing process does not lend itself naturally to releasing the tropical aromas that chemically complex thiols keep hidden away.
Millions of peaches, peaches for me. I get my peaches up in Georgia. I really want your peaches, want to shake your tree. Heck, even The Allman Bros. entitled a whole album “Eat a Peach.” Peaches have been a musical muse for so many, so it comes as no surprise that the delicious stone fruit would inspire countless beer makers in equal measure. de Garde Brewing in Tillamook, OR, a fine maker of all things sour, also cannot resist the allure of experimenting with the what has somehow become the emoji placeholder for the butt. The Sixth Peach is one result, and a beer worthy of its own song.
Portland, Oregon is no stranger to hip craft breweries and hop forward pale ales, but Gigantic Brewing Co. is setting a new standard for classic styles of beer. Sassy Pony Pale Ale has set the bar for a non-adjunct pale ale at a height that even Javier Sotomayor would tremble at.
Deschutes Black Butte Porter is an iconic porter that helped fuel the success of what was once a small brewery in a small Oregon town and is now one of the largest craft breweries in the U.S. Deschutes Brewery first started brewing Black Butte Porter in 1988 when it launched its Bend Public House brewpub in Bend, Oregon, and it quickly became one of the forerunners of the dark craft beer market. Based in large part on its immense popularity on tap, Deschutes began bottling Black Butte Porter in 1994. To this day it is still the number one selling porter in the U.S. And now, in 2022, it is available as a non-alcoholic beer, Black Butte Non-Alcoholic.
Modern Times Beer announced on Monday via their Instagram accounts and a blog on their website that they will be closing four of their satellite taprooms. Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, and Santa Barbara will all be closed for good after Friday, Feb 18.
Dank nugs? Or dank mugs? When a brewery’s sensory process for a new beer involves smelling & analyzing different strains of cannabis, you know you’re in for a dank time. Silver City Brewery has merged aromatic compounds from several different strains of marijuana in order to develop Tropic Chronic, a variation of one of its flagship IPAs.
Wet and cold weather is upon us in the Pacific Northwest and there’s no better place to seek respite this winter than Threshold Brewing & Blending, an up-and-coming brewery located in Portland’s southeast Montavilla neighborhood.
Anchorage Brewing in Alaska’s most populous city has been known for its sour and mixed-fermentation beers since opening in 2010, and will soon be adding a new layer to its sour program: a 14 bbl coolship on the rooftop deck of its new expansion. While a new coolship at an American craft brewery is noteworthy on its own, this one is even more unique in being the first all-wood coolship in commercial operation. It was made by Foeder Crafters in St. Louis, Missouri.
Beers from the Pacific North West just hit different. Oftentimes, when ordering a flight there’s one (or a couple) that disappoints. In Portland, you could order a flight at every brewery in town and continue to be even more impressed by the next pour. That, or the perfect summer weather and warm, eclectic residents will brainwash you into thinking so. While there are plenty of Portland breweries to try, don’t miss Baerlic Beer Co., especially if Blippo Pils is on draft.
Sometimes the best beers are the ones you stumble upon. Get lost in a new city, let your phone die (or be smart and bring a charger) and wander into a nearby brewery. Fair Isle Brewing is located in the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle, Washington. It’s in great company among the largest concentration of breweries in the Seattle area, but Fair Isle does things differently. They focus solely on Saisons and Farmhouse Ales. While the beer menu is impressive, Eleanor alone is worth the trip.
“As a native of Oregon, the natural bounty all around us informs everything we do,” said Christian DeBenedetti, founder and brewer at Wolves & People. “As a brewer interested in a hyper-local approach to making beer, Oregon offers so much in the way of things for us to seek out and experiment with.”
Of all the buzzworthy beer categories today, one earns that buzz(zzzz) more than others. Honey beers are growing in popularity, and they take their distinguishing ingredient from the amazing honey bee. Each honey bee worker flies hundreds of miles in her lifetime, pollinates thousands of flowers and communicates with her hivemates by dancing. One brewery from Oregon is shining a light on bees by using the sweet stuff in a quenching beer redolent of summer wildflowers.
Regardless of where you live, there’s a pretty good chance that you have a local brewery with a killer barrel program. From Atlanta to Chicago, from Maine to the PNW, breweries across the country are constantly releasing barrel-aged goodness in the form of thick and boozy stouts or tart and refreshing mixed culture options. Barrel-aging anything takes patience and love, but many brewers are all-in on commitment.
It’s been a hell of a two weeks in the craft beer world since we’ve last had a drink check. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then head over to Brienne (@ratmagnet) on Instagram and read the thousands of accounts of sexual harassment, misogyny and unfair treatment to women all across the industry. This movement isn’t something to be funny or cute about, so here’s some of the beers that our staff have had during the last two weeks. Guys — specifically white bearded dudes in the industry who look just like me — be better. Here is What We’re Drinking:
“We really mean it when we say our Fresh Family beers are about hop flavor with balanced bitterness as a supporting star,” said Product Development Director Veronica Vega. Other beers in the Fresh Family include Fresh Squeezed IPA, Fresh Haze IPA, Lil’ Squeezy Juicy Ale and Royal Fresh Imperial IPA.
The beer industry has historically been, and remains, male-dominated. But men haven’t always had the upper hand. In the early 1970’s in Oklahoma, women over 18-years-old could buy beer, but men had to be 21. A young man and a female brewery owner joined forces to sue the state of Oklahoma over this, eventually landing this case in the Supreme Court.
Most craft beer drinkers are more than happy to tell you why drinking craft beer is more than just a beverage choice; it is a culture with all the traditions and ritual pours that go with that designation. If you are not already immersed in the culture of craft beer, it can be intimidating and, at worst, exclusionary. Seattle’s Lucky Envelope Brewing Co. owners Raymond Kwan and Barry Chan are committed to broadening craft beer with “culturally-inspired beers” drawn from their shared Chinese-American heritage. With their most recent Lunar New Year beer releases, they served up culture and a fresh perspective on Hazy IPAs and Barrel-Aged Porters.