REVUE Publisher Brian Edwards spent the month of August on sabbatical in Oregon, dutifully researching some of the region’s finest craft beers. Here are some of his personal favorites:
Cascade Brewing Apricot, Portland (8.5% ABV)
Sour beers are kind of the rage in the Pacific Northwest these days, but most of them have too much pucker for my liking. Cascade’s Apricot is an excellent exception. It’s a sour blonde ale barrel aged nine months, then aged with fresh, local apricots for another six months.
Heater Allen Pilsner, McMinnville (4.9% ABV)
I fell in love with Pilsners when I was in the Czech Republic five years ago. Nothing else has ever measured up -- until now. Brewed in Oregon’s wine country, Heater Allen’s bohemian-style pils is malty, bready and kind of sweet. It is nearly a perfect beer, especially on a summer day in Oregon.
Double Mountain Clusterf*ck IPA, Hood River (7.3% ABV)
The beer’s cheeky name actually comes from the oft-forgotten cluster, which was the predominant hop used by brewers for many years. I’m not a hop-head, but this IPA is balanced, crisp and drinkable. For the record, I found myself drinking lots of IPAs in Oregon, especially the Ninkasi Total Domination (Eugene); Boneyard Beer’s RPM IPA (Bend); and the Hopworks Urban Brewery’s IPX Single Hop Series (Portland).
DeSchutes Black Butte Porter, Bend (5.2% ABV)
My favorite new beer is probably the best-known beer from the best-known brewery in Oregon and it is as good as advertised. Put simply, Black Butte is to porters what Oberon is to wheats or KBS is to barrel-aged stouts. It isn’t just at the top of the category, it defines the category. Smooth, creamy and balanced, it’s one of those beers that will change the way you think about porters. Best of all, it’s going to be available in Michigan starting this fall.