Sunshine, trail time, lazy rivers and late-night campfires: that’s what an Oregon summer looks like. Now find out what it tastes like. Oregon craft brewers have bottled up your daydreams to celebrate the season. July is also Oregon Craft Beer Month, the Portland Craft Beer Festival, Puckerfest and the Oregon Brewers Festival — so three cheers to that. Here are some summer ales pouring this year.
Every summer Astoria’s Fort George Brewery releases its 3-Way IPA with a new collaboration and recipe; this year it’s the product of brewers from Fort George, Modern Times (now with a Portland location) and Holy Mountain in Seattle. Astoria’s Buoy Beer Company brings the seasonal heat with their Blood Orange Gose, which conjures up hot, tropical nights with a hint of sea salt, Thai chile and Indian coriander. Pucker up to a mango sour at Public Coast Brewing Co. in Cannon Beach, one of their brews made from Northwest seasonal fruits and herbs that are naturally soured in the kettle. Pelican Brewing in Tillamook (and Pacific City and Cannon Beach) amps up the tanginess in their Citricumulous Pale Ale, a fruity Belgian-style pale ale. Get to taste these ales and others on the North Coast Craft Beer Trail. On the Central Coast, Yachats Brewing has produced a winner with its Peche, a saison that features fresh peaches from Mosier — fermented in an open wine barrel, transferred onto the fruit and refermented for several months. Oregon’s South Coast brewers are also representing. Chetco Brewing Company has brewed a lovely Summer Salmon, a golden ale infused with grapefruit and pine aromas from Chinook hops. Arch Rock Brewing Company brings its German-style Gold Beach Lager, with hints of citrus and a light carbonation — perfect for kicking back with on the patio. Find your new favorite coastal brew on The Wild Rivers Coast Ale and Spirits Trail.
Rogue Farms Marion Berry Braggot from Rogue Ales combines the flavor of Oregon’s signature berries with honey — both harvested at Rogue Farms. No session ale, this lovely brew clocks in at 11.4 percent ABV. Add the new Salem Ale & Cider Trail to your itinerary and reap the rewards. You can count on Eugene’s Ninkasi Brewing Company to capture your attention with its annual summer-style IPA Maiden the Shade, which features a bold bouquet of eight hops. Explore the Eugene Ale Trail on your own, or combine it with other Sipping Spots to Savor in the Mid-Valley — plan your road trip around the 12 breweries and tasting rooms in the Corvallis and Albany areas, and make sure to make it a multi-day trip to enjoy it all at a leisurely pace. One of those is Block 15 Brewing in Corvallis, where you can sit on the sidewalk cafe and order a Here Comes the Sunshine — a nod a crisp, slightly floral springtime farmhouse ale in Northern France, called Bière de Mars.
Coming from Ashland, Caldera Brewing Company’s Lawnmower Lager is light and easy (and at just 3.9% ABV, appropriate for yard work?). The same goes for the Steep Slope Session Ale at Common Block Brewing Company in Medford, and River Days Session Ale at Klamath Basin Brewing Company in Klamath Falls. You’ll want to sip a pint of Southern Sun Rye (a spicy and citrusy rye beer) from Ashland’s Standing Stone Brewing Company on a patio, stat. Give your taste buds a treat with the Zin Saison Farmhouse Ale from Connor Fields Brewing in downtown Ashland — this seasonal sensation is brewed with local grapes from the Applegate Valley and fermented with their farmhouse ale strain, along with zinfandel grapes, for a unique blend.
Portland’s Laurelwood Brewing Company keeps it real with Kids These Daze, a pineapple-inspired juicy IPA, while Cascade Brewing Barrel House celebrates summer with the Melonious Blond — a blend of blond and wheat ales aged in oak barrels for up to 14 months, with cantaloupe and “summer kiss” melons. Gilgamesh Brewing welcomes the season with a summer chef collaboration featuring Pok Pok and Nicky USA, the love child being the Pok Pok Rhubarb Som Shandy, a true thirst quencher. BridgePort Brewing, one of the pioneers in the Portland craft beer scene, just debuted their newly renovated brewpub and installation of of an experimental tap system. Plus, they’ve got a new rose IPA. If you choose beer based on their names, you might like Breakside Brewery’s Rainbows and Unicorns — made with flaked rice along with notes of peach, honeydew, apricot and pineapple for a juicy, hoppy mouthfeel. Oregon City Brewing Co. keeps the mellow blends coming with their Sunny and Cherry Wheat, featuring bing and royal Anne sweet cherries. For a rewarding tasting adventure, explore the Mt. Hood Territory Tap Trail and earn a limited-edition pint glass.
Mt. Hood & Columbia River Gorge
At Thunder Island Brewing Co. in Cascade Locks, grab a seat by the water and enjoy their new Saison du Melon, a Belgian farmhouse ale with aromas and flavors of melon, green apple and pear. In Hood River, Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom’s 2016 offering, Devil’s Kriek, enhances the tart of cherries for a devilishly delicious red sour ale that measures at a whopping 9.3 percent ABV. At neighboring Full Sail Brewing Company, the newest addition to its Session Series is an inventive and very drinkable Watermelon Wheat Ale. Chase a hiking trip to the eastern Columbia River Gorge with a pint at Sedition Brewing Co. in The Dalles, where local cherries are turned into the tart and spicy Cherry Funk Farmhouse brew, made with their experimental farmhouse yeast. Venture out on the Gorge Beer Trail — just remember that breweries will be most crowded on summer weekends, so try a midweek visit instead.
Barley Brown’s Beer in Baker City created its Jubilee Golden Ale in celebration of its annual summertime miner’s festival, and in Pendleton, The Prodigal Son Brewery and Pub fetes local harvest of farm and forest with the Huckleberry Wheat. A light carbonation gives the TG Pilz a nice bubbly finish at Terminal Gravity Brewing in Enterprise. 1188 Brewing Co. in John Day is mighty proud of its light and citrusy Orney Hefeweisen, named for its combination of orange and honey used during the brewing process. At the farmer-owned Ordnance Brewing in Boardman, their ice-cold cans of Bloop Blueberry Wheat makes for easy drinking year-round, but practically screams summer with its balance of local berries that are sweet without being overly fruity. Visit the Eastern Oregon Brews Byway to explore it all — including newcomers Side A Brewing in La Grande, Steens Mountain Brewing in Burns and Tiger Town Brewing in Mitchell — and remember to arrange for a designated driver and drink responsibly.
Sunriver Brewing Company honors local water culture with the S.U.P. Summer Ale, and in Prineville, Ochoco Brewing Company’s Wild and Scenic Apricot Witbier is one of several exciting special brews released in honor the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic River Act. Bend’s 10 Barrel Brewing Company (with a Portland location too) is known for their thirst-quenching Cucumber Crush and Raspberry Sour, but also now has a Trail Beer, a Northwest pale ale with a happy level of hops. Deschutes Brewery starts summer early with its Hop Slice Summer Ale, a refreshing golden ale with floral and citrus hop notes.
In Sisters, craft beer fans will want to stop in at The Suttle Lodge & Boathouse on Wednesday evenings through August 2018, for a special lineup of brewer cookout events ($15-$20 per person, no reservations necessary). The 2018 lineup includes: Hood River’s pFriem Family Brewers (June 27); Hood River’s Double Mountain (July 25); Bend’s GoodLife Brewing (Aug. 1); Bend’s Crux Fermentation Project (Aug. 8); Redmond’s Wild Ride Brewing (Aug. 15); and Portland’s Ex Novo Brewing Company (Aug. 22). Set out on a trip through Brewvana for yourself along the Bend Ale Trail; find more inspiration reading about Tale of the Ale Trail in Bend.