Just when you thought the Beaver State’s beer scene couldn’t get any better, a slew of new breweries—from upstart nanos to big-name offshoots—are taking things to the next level.
Hood River | LOGSDON FARMHOUSE ALES
Last year, Oregon beer pioneer and Full Sail founder David Logsdon traded in the big time for small batches and a 10-acre farm. A storybook red barn anchors the hop fields, cattle pasture and a nursery of Sharbeekse cherry trees (imported from Belgium, naturally) and houses the brewery where Logsdon’s organic farmhouse beers take shape. LOOK FOR: Seizoen, an unfiltered ale carbonated with pear juice; watch for a fresh-hopped version in fall.
Portland | OCCIDENTAL BREWING
A Portland brewery… and not an IPA in sight? Montana natives Dan Engler and his nephew Ben prove Beervana’s got more than hop bombs with a small range of German-style staples and seasonals. LOOK FOR: the nippy, estery Hefeweizen, brewed with 70 percent wheat.
Eugene | FALLING SKY
Last summer, Eugene homebrewing/winemaking shop Valley Vintner & Brewer changed its name to Falling Sky and expanded with a bright, mod brewpub featuring creative-but-not-too-wacky house beers and a locavore’s dream pub-grub menu. LOOK FOR: the mildly spicy Twisted Branch Juniper Rye Amber. Get a 25-cent discount at the pub whenever it rains!
Portland | THE COMMONS
What began as brewer Mike Wright’s garage nanobrewery is now one of Portland’s most-talked-about tasting rooms. The flagship crisp saison Urban Farmhouse Ale tells you everything you need to know about this gem: It’s a rural-Belgium-inspired brewery with metropolitan soul. LOOK FOR: Flemish Kiss, a Northwest-style pale ale fermented with sour Brettanomyces yeast.
Portland | GIGANTIC BREWING
Rock Bottom vet Van Havig and Hopworks alum Ben Love have been pouring collaboration beers (they’ve brewed with Oregon’s Oakshire, Breakside, Pelican and Laurelwood) around town for months; their tasting room opens this spring. LOOK FOR: a saison-and-Brett-yeast-infused, Cognac-aged imperial stout brewed with Anchorage Brewing. But you’ll have to wait: The beer’s resting until winter.
Bend | GOODLIFE BREWING
Former Rogue brewer Curt Plant uses the outdoors as his muse to brew GoodLife’s small portfolio in a sprawling industrial space. An attached sunny brewpub/ eatery pours his wares (and others from Bend’s surrounding beer paradise) alongside innovative small plates, and a wide-open beer garden lets visitors enjoy the beer in the environment that inspired it. LOOK FOR: the five-hop stunner Descender IPA.
Portland | HARVESTER BREWING
John Dugan and James Neumeister run the tanks at this dedicated gluten-free brewery—Portland’s first. To brew their three offerings, they swap barley for roasted chestnuts, which they hand-toast on a gas-fired nut roaster from Jordan. LOOK FOR: Harvester’s 5.8%-ABV Northwest-style pale ale; in addition to those chestnuts, there’s sorghum and gluten-free oats in the brew.
Bend | THE ALE APOTHECARY
Deschutes alum (and former brewmaster Larry Sidor’s right-hand man) Paul Arney has set out to revolutionize brewing processes with an outfit that fuses old-world practice (e.g., wooden vessels) with modern innovation (his own yeast, and unique takes on spontaneous fermentation). Arney blogs, “Chance will be an ingredient in every single brew.” LOOK FOR: Sahalie, Arney’s debut; he promises a non-conformist, wheat-and-pils-malt wild ale mashed, fermented and aged in oak.
PLUS: Beer-swilling Oregonians are indeed eager Beavers as they wait patiently for former Deschutes Brewing brewmaster and beer-making legend Larry Sidor’s new venture, Crux Fermentation Project. Housed inside a former AAMCO Transmission shop in Bend, Crux will spawn small-batch, style-busting beers touched by barrels, wild yeast and experimental hops. Look for bottles and draft pours in Oregon and the Northeast in June.