The new year is brewing with excitement

written by Beau Eastes

Hello 2022, we couldn’t be more excited to see you.

After a year in which we saw iconic institutions like Portland Brewing and Bailey’s Taphouse close, as well as the cancellation of most of the state’s annual beer festivals, we’re looking forward to the new year like a bearded man in flannel loves a super danky double IPA.

Here’s what we’re giddy about as we roll into 2022:

VON EBERT’S ENCORE

Arguably no craft brewer in Oregon had a better 2021 than Portland-based Von Ebert Brewing. Less than four years old, Von Ebert was named the 2021 Medium Sized Brewery of the Year by the Oregon Beer Awards, claimed gold in the uber-competitive American IPA category at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival with their Volatile Substance IPA, all the while expanding their popular Heritage Beer Series. It’s a tough act to follow, but no one’s been as innovative as Von Ebert over the past few years, and we can’t wait to see where 2022 takes them.

THE NEW HILLSBREW FESTIVAL

Feb. 25 through 27

The brains of the Oregon Brewers Festival want to put on a new craft beer event in Hillsboro? Sign us up. Art Larrance and Teddy Peetz announced in November this new, three-day festival will showcase about thirty breweries and cider houses during the last weekend in February in Hillsboro’s new Wingspan Event and Conference Center. Details are coming, but we’re in on just about anything that Larrance, one of the true founders of Oregon’s craft beer culture, is behind.

MORE BREWERY AND FOOD HALL COLLABORATIONS

It’s a pretty simple concept: Let breweries do what they do best and let chefs do what they do best all the while sharing a space, and we all win. Our best buddy time this past year was spent at food halls with a craft beer anchor— like Robot Empire Machine in Portland’s Montavilla neighborhood which includes Gigantic Brewing’s second location, their Rocket Room, and at The Grove in Bend, whose bar Waypoint is the new child of Bend Brewing Company co-owner Packy Deenihan.

Why doesn’t every beer-loving, food cart-craving town have one of these all-weather concepts? Look for Oregon City Brewing’s Canby Beer Library in Canby’s former public library, which is slated to open in 2022 as well as Breakside’s Beaverton location, both of which look to embrace the taproom/food hall idea.

REGIONAL BEER VACATIONS

The travel bug hit us hard at Beerlandia this past summer, and we were happy to support some of the emerging craft beer communities just beyond our state borders. In Boise, we immersed ourselves in Barbarian Brewing’s fantastic bottle collection and at Woodland Empire, tasted their revolving Mixtape IPA of the month. (Every other month they release a new Mixtape IPA to highlight the mind-bending number of hop varieties and combinations.) We did a day of research in Reno and fell in love with Lead Dog and Revision. If you’re really adventurous, head to Grant Junction and Fruita, Colorado for a surprisingly great beer scene to go along with some stunning Moab-like mountain bike trails without the crowds of Moab. Yakima, Spokane, Eureka—you’re next on our list.

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