written by Beau Eastes
There’s a lot to love about Oregon winters.
The holiday lights at Peacock Lane, skiing the bowl at Mt. Bachelor, irrational Blazer championship hopes.
But the best part of the colder months here in the Beaver State is the unofficial fancy beer season. In November and December, the beers in Oregon get bigger, funkier and more barrel-agedier.
Here’s what we’ll be drinking this winter at Beerlandia while we try to convince ourselves that Dame and C.J. can actually be the cornerstones of a competent defense. (Hint: it’ll have to be something stronger than Deschutes’ excellent-but-light Rip City Lager.)
Ecliptic Brewing’s Filament Winter IPA with Tangerine: If Oregon craft beer legend and Ecliptic founder John Harris wants to play around with his traditional winter beer and add tangerine, it’s best to just say thank you and order a pint or three for you and your friends. We fell in love with this festive IPA last winter, the first time Ecliptic added tangerine to its already well-received Filament Winter IPA recipe. Great in cans, phenomenal on tap if you can find it.
Alesong Brewing’s Double Barrel Maple Rhino Suit ’21: We’ve touted Alesong before and for good reason. They may be making the most innovative beers in all of Oregon. A big and bold take on their classic milk stout, Rhino Suit, this version is aged for a year in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels—then six more months—in Bissel Farm maple syrup barrels that once held Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. Yes, it’s as spectacular as it sounds. Break out the snifters as the Double Barrel rolls in at 13.9 percent ABV.
Little Beast’s Wood Chopper Belgian-style Witbier: Alright, maybe not technically a winter seasonal, but this Witbier from one of our favorite Portland breweries oozes holiday charm. Coriander, orange and lime spice up what’s become our go-to hot tub beer for winter. At 4.5 percent, Wood Chopper makes for a fine nordic ski hut snack, as well.
Pelican Brewing’s Father of All Tsunamis Imperial Stout: A giant version of Pelican’s Tsunami Stout, the Father is full of dark chocolate and espresso goodness. Oh, and it’s aged in rye whiskey barrels. You’ll also get all kinds of hints of vanilla and caramel in this impressive 11.2 percent imperial stout.
Deschutes Brewery’s Cherries Jubelale: So you’re telling us Deschutes is taking our favorite winter seasonal and suping it up with cherries and vanilla and aging it in red wine barrels? Yes, a million times over. Cherries Jubelale is pretty much everything we love about fancy beer season. A fun, new boozy take on a classic beer, Cherries Jubelale sits in at 10 percent ABV. We’re convinced this counts when you’re asked to bring a dessert to a holiday meal.