We’re wild about wine in the Willamette Valley, but this fertile region has even more to offer than the 300-plus wineries within its boundaries. Beer, mead, cider and farm-to-table cuisine also flourish here. Why not take a trip beyond the wine in the Willamette Valley?

Brews News: From the monks at Mount Angel Abbey, known for their contemplative retreat and meditative Bach Festival, comes the soon-to-be-open Benedictine Brewery. Check their Facebook page for updates to their “Taste and Believe” enterprise. Corvallis’ Mazama Brewing will celebrate its first anniversary of brewing Belgian-style ales in May. Visit the taproom for a taste of Hop Eruption, Pyroclastic Porter and more. Deluxe Brewing Co. and Sinister Distillery Co. bills itself as Albany’s first brewstillery. On the beer side, look for the Pre-Prohibition Pilsner as well as a dark and amber ale. Sinister’s offerings include rum, gin and whiskey.

From Bees and Trees: Corvallis’ Nectar Creek Honey Wines offers three varieties of tasty mead: ginger, raspberry and wildflower. The honey-based drinks are naturally gluten free. For more mead, check out Kookoolan World Meadery in Yamhill with more than 100 varieties from around the world. 2 Towns Ciderhouse in Corvallis presses Northwest apples into cider varieties ranging from classic Bad Apple to Cherried Away, Made Marion and Rhubarbarbian. Wandering Aengus Ciderworks in Salem selects heirloom apple varieties from Oregon to create varieties like Bloom, Wanderlust and Wickson.

Farm to Table: From Field & Vine Events comes the Dinner in the Field series. Arriving by school bus, diners are treated to a tour of the host winery or farm followed by a six-course meal at communal tables set in the field. Albany localvores rejoiced when Cody Utzman, two-time winner of the Food Network’s “Chopped,” returned home and opened Frankie’s with his sister, Kila Swearinger late last year. Named for their late father, Frankie’sfocuses on the freshest goods from local farmers, foragers, and fishermen.

About the Author: Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin is the editor of Travel Oregon’s Seasonal Features, enewsletters and annual visitor guide. When she’s not cooking up trip ideas, Oregon Dreamer profiles and outdoor adventures to write about, she’s out exploring Oregon.

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