The only logical decision is to drink winter seasonal beers while the getting’s good. Most craft breweries release a “winter warmer” to ward off Jack Frost, a tradition dating back millennia to when agrarians celebrated the solstice by brewing beers made heavier with extra with grains (and perhaps fruits and spices), and religious practitioners believed intoxication aided communion with deities and spirits. Outside Portland in McMinnville, great beers are easily found inside the Golden Valley Brewpub; visit to New Seasons in hopes of picking up a six-pack of Tannen Bomb, so named since it arrives in stores along with Christmas trees and is a veritable malt bomb — 125 lbs. of malts per barrel.
The leaves were losing their fiery colors, replaced by brown in only slightly varying shades. Nights arrived an hour earlier, giving up a minute of sunshine with each passing day. But before we grabbed our saws to chop down our Christmas trees, we paused to give thanks. Oddly, no one’s cornered the Thanksgiving beer market. Well pilgrim, Coalition Brewing has just the thing.
Brewery co-founder Kiley Hoyt is a Vermont native, so it makes sense Coalition offers a porter brewed with maple syrup. Loving Cup Maple Porter is available year-round at the brewpub, but was being bottled as a seasonal offering for the first time. The British-style porter is on the dry side, offering desirable chocolatiness without being thick or sweet.
Enter the maple syrup.
Pumpkin beers, it turns out, squash all other seasonal styles of beer in popularity, according to the Brewers Association. So it’s no wonder that come October (or earlier) more and more craft breweries offer them, and also no surprise brewers continue to up the creativity level of their creations. While a standard beer works perfectly fine with addition of pumpkin and/or pumpkin pie spices (usually a brown ale or something with a malt bill that can support autumnal flavoring without hops stealing the show), Eugene’s Oakshire Bewing went a step further. Big Black Jack Imperial Pumpkin Chocolate Porter is as complex as its name implies.
A pungent ode to the most wonderful, lupulin time of the year: fresh hop beers. For this month’s Drink Portland review, that’s Laurelwood’s only-in-September version of Workhorse IPA, also available at the Fresh Hop Fest in Hood River.
This Drink Portland review coincided with the debut of pFriem Family Brewers in Hood River. If you’ve ever tasted this or any of their other Belgian-style beers and/or IPAs, you’re glad they did (debut).
The first of my monthly local beer reviews for Drink Portland. Because it’s fun to get paid a little bit to sit down and reflect on the beer in hand. In the summer of 2012, that beer was BridgePort’s seasonal ode to another of Beervana’s nicknames, Stumptown Tart, which I tied into both OBFs (Oregon Brewers Fest AND Oregon Berry Fest. Oh yeah.)