2015 in Review: The Beer Edition

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…


Mount Angel Oktoberfest

SEPTEMBER 17-20 It might not have the authenticity of Prince Ludwig’s wedding reception — where Oktoberfest originated — but a couple of countries and an ocean away, Oregon has tapped into the Bavarian celebration with the Mount Angel Oktoberfest. 


Kumquat beers? Drink up!

The marionberry was crossbred from two blackberries in Oregon in 1956. In 1985, McMenamin’s Hillsdale Brewery created not just Oregon’s, but America’s first post-Prohibition fruit beer made with wild blackberries that were climbing up the pub’s fence. So naturally in writing about fruit beers I’m going to focus on those made with kumquats.


Brewers Discover Beervana

The hangovers have waned. The kegs have kicked. And the 2015 Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) that touched down like a beer-nado from April 14-17 in Portland is in the industry’s collective rearview mirror.


CollaBEERation Makes the Pint Glass Stronger

To mark its thirtieth anniversary, Portland’s Widmer Brothers Brewing celebrated the milestone by co-composing a series of collaboration beers with five fellow Oregon breweries. Among the collaborators was their kid brother, Deschutes Brewery in Bend, which is still one of the state’s most veteran beer makers. Widmer’s pre-Hefeweizen flagship, Widmer Alt, was mixed with Deschutes’s pre-Mirror Pond workhorse, Bachelor Bitter. Then they aged it in whiskey barrels for good measure. The project demonstrates that while craft brewers are ostensibly competitors tussling for shelf space and draft lines in the same market, wort is thicker than water.


Monastic Brewing

Father Martin Grassel is checking the gravity on a batch of farmhouse ale. He pushes up the sleeve of his black robe and, with an expert spin, drops a hydrometer into the golden liquid.