For Members Only

The inspiration behind this story was actually heading home for the holidays and having my cousin pour me some geeky, ultra-unobtainable bottles

Rare bottles of The Bruery Hoarders Society release for All About Beer Magazine

The Bruery offers limited bottles through its Preservation Society, Reserve Society and Hoarders Society. (Photo courtesy The Bruery)

. I definitely enjoyed getting to drink some of these beers, but wondered how it was that those were the types of beers he typically drinks instead of, like me, on special occasions.

Some beers get fussed over. Some are downright coveted. Rarely are such specimens found perched on the shelf of your local grocer or even in the chiller at your nearest bottle shop. It wasn’t terribly long ago that interesting beer was hard to find on supermarket shelves. Now, the more rare the beer, the faster it disappears from said real estate. Increasingly, smaller breweries are turning to pricey memberships to get their most artful expressions straight to the mouths of devout fans.

Class of 2013: Ecliptic

BeerAdvcoate, the online forum turned magazine, doesn’t republish the print zine’s content online, but if you have #84, there’s a story on some of the best of the Class of 2013 for which I contributed the following blurb on Ecliptic (Portland) and De Garde (Tillamook):

Ecliptic Brewing

825 N. Cook St., Portland, OR 97227;

Oregon brewing legend John Harris got his professional start at McMenamins, the first brewpub in Oregon, in 1985. Then a brewpub in Bend opened called Deschutes, where Harris created Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale in 1988. Up next: Full Sail in Hood River where he became a co-owner. His stellar (or interstellar) new creation is Ecliptic, a 15-barrel brewpub named for our astral and perhaps his occupational journey around the sun. “No other brewery’s name is based on astronomy,” said amateur astronomer Harris, who didn’t stop there. “We will be naming beers after stars, nebula, galaxies, and other astronomical themes.” Arcturus is an orange giant some 36.7 light years away but it’s also Ecliptic’s first IPA exploding like a supernova of C-hops (Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, and Columbus). It’s a given that the celestial sphere and earthly beer are both heavenly, but for this veteran brewmaster, they hold much in common. “Creating a new beer is a cosmic thing, really” said Harris. “(You’re) combining ingredients and bringing it to life.”

 De Garde Brewing

1909 2nd St., Tillamook, OR 97141;

Brewer Trevor Rogers is keenly aware that the fan base for his beers is primarily Portland beer geeks, not locals in coastal Tillamook…yet. De Garde is making waves with their Belgianesque beers starting with the infinitely sessionable Bu Weisse. (The name is both a nod to the Morrocan word for “my” and owner Linsey Hamacher’s cat, although Rogers successfully proposed to Hamacher at De Garde’s debut so Bu is their cat). It’s a 2.1% tart ale akin to a Berliner Weisse. From there, Rogers goes in every direction including Chanin Blanc Regards, a Double IPA with wild yeast, wine grapes, and finished in gin barrels. But while this wine-loving brewer makes ample use of fruit, ultimately Trevor said, “I just try to get out of the way of the yeast. I wanna let wild ale be wild.”