Home to well over 200 breweries, for instance Deschutes and Rogue Ales, Oregon is also dubbed the hop centre of the world. And this North American state is the birthplace of the Oregon Brewers Festival, one of the country’s longest-running and most popular beer festivals.
Author: Malin Norman
To hear more about the exciting beer scene in Oregon, I had a chat with beer writer Lisa Morrison, also called The Beer Goddess. She is the author of Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest, owner of bottle shop and beer bar Belmont Station in Portland, Oregon, and of course she knows all things beer in the region.
How would you describe Portland as a beer destination?
In addition to having just a staggering number of really good, small, independent breweries in Portland, they are also scattered just about everywhere in Oregon — even in many of the more rural locations. Many of them don’t distribute very far from home, so these might be the only times you will get to enjoy these great beers and breweries.
What is happening over there at the moment?
We are in the middle of fresh hop season, so brewers are releasing their seasonal offerings that feature hops fresh off the bines, before kilning, often just moments from being plucked! Our brewers in the Northwest are particularly well-positioned to be able to do this, as a majority of the hops grown in the US are from Washington and Oregon.
Another really big trend, which I am loving, is a local trend toward brewing lagers! We are seeing some truly amazing and gorgeous lagers coming out of our breweries, and we even have a couple that are lager-only or lager-heavy.
And, of course, with the pandemic, we are seeing more draft-only beers going into cans! It’s perhaps one of the only bright spots during this awful time in history.
Which breweries are worth checking out?
Fort George (Astoria): for big NW IPAs because they only distribute in the Northwest.
Breakside (Portland): hands-down one of the best breweries in the US, multiple award-winner. Great variety, several locations with a few different beers on tap in each place.
pFriem (Hood River): excellent beers down the line. Everything is well-crafted. Scary-good Belgian styles, sours and a solid IPA and Pilsner in cans. And you can’t beat the views in the Columbia River Gorge.
Block 15 (Corvallis): their barrel-aging program is off the charts, but you must try a super-fresh Sticky Hands IPA if you want to get the essence of Northwest IPAs.
de Garde (Tillamook): a small, boutique barrel and blending brewery that makes incredible sours. A must stop for sour fans (but they probably know that!)
Pelican (Cannon Beach): for consistently delicious award-winning beers with the best view on the Oregon Coast.
For more information about breweries in Oregon, check out the Oregon Brewers Guild website oregoncraftbeer.org.
Pictures: Oregon Brewers Festival, Pelican Brewing Company, pFriem Family Brewers