2015 in Review: The Beer Edition

1859_Jan-Feb-2016_Beer-Year-In-Review

written by Brian Yeager


Old town’s new brewer

In the bustling beer industry, brewer turnover is high. Old Town Brewing’s Bolt Minister left to start 54°40’ Brewing in Washougal, Washington. Old Town hired brewer Andrew Lamont, who has kept the brewery’s awards piling up.

 

Talked about

1-Up Mushroom Beer was one such Old Town buzzed-about beer, receiving top accolades at last summer’s Oregon Brewers Festival. The altbier is made with two ounces of pungent , earthy, maple-accented mushrooms per barrel.

 

Anticipated release

Baker City’s Barley Brown’s Brewery has earned more than twenty medals since it began entering the Great American Beer Festival in 2006. It is famous for hoppy dark beers, known in these parts as Cascadian dark ales. Fans streamed into Portland’s Belmont Station in March for a chance to take home 22-ounce “bombers” of the shop’s 18th anniversary beer, Belmont Black, an 8.8% semi-imperial CDA made with seven hop varieties.

 

Boomtown

Southern Oregon’s brewery population has grown by 50 percent since 2013. One of the regions successful breweries is Climate City Brewing in Grants Pass. Since Climate City held its grand opening last June, it has been slammed. Locals keep coming back for creative pizzas, on-point finger food (such as smoked duck poutine) and pints of citrusy Nookie IPA.

 

Logsdon calling

For a farmhouse brewery situated in a seemingly tranquil red barn in rural Hood River County, there sure has been a flurry of activity at Logsdon Farmhouse Ales. First, assistant brewer Charlie Van Meter departed in order to brew at the brand new Yachats Brewing along the Central Coast. Head brewer Chuck Porter departed as he prepares to launch his own new brewery, likely in Portland. As reported by Brewpublic, David Logsdon stepped in as head brewer. Curtis Bain (formerly of Cascade Brewing) and Shilpi Halemane (formerly of Widmer Brothers) are assisting with brewing operations.

 

A legend lost

Fred Eckhardt, the original Portland beer writer, died last year at 89. The “dean of American beer writers” published A Treatise on Lager Beer in 1969. The Essentials of Beer Style (1989) helped homebrewers understand their craft, which, in turn, helped launch many craft brewing careers. Hair of the Dog’s liquid homage, Fred, has ten hop additions, in true Eckhardt style.

 

Another legend retired

Kurt Widmer, along with his younger brother, Rob, founded their eponymous brewery in 1984. After thirty-one years, Kurt retired as the chairman of the board of the Craft Brew Alliance, which includes Widmer Brothers, Redhook and Kona breweries. “When we started, our challenge was credibility and awareness,” said Widmer. “Now you can’t spit without hitting a brewery.”

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