By Erica Tiffany-Brown
Of the Oregon Beer Growler
For the last three years, I’ve dressed up as a hop during the Halloween season because a.) hops are awesome, and b.) I’m both too lazy and not creative enough to conjure up some other costume. Although I love traditions, I’m growing tired of doing the same thing year after year. But one thing I never get tired of is Oregon beer — so, I’ve decided to brew up some new rituals for all of us featuring our favorite treat. Below, you’ll find four different fall activities — beyond just Halloween — and the beers that go with them. October will never be the same again!
Ashland’s Caldera Brewing is already Halloween-friendly thanks to their logo, a bubbling black cauldron. But what will really put you under their spell is the Toasted Coconut Chocolate Porter. The brewery uses in-house toasted coconut chips and natural liquid chocolate to create nothing short of Mounds bar goodness. The beer already claims to be dessert in a glass, so why not take your state of sugar-induced bliss one step further by pairing it with the Hershey’s tropical treat? | 6.2% ABV, 24 IBUs
Aside from having a great name, Nut Crusher Peanut Butter Porter from Wild Ride Brewing in Redmond blends the chocolatey, caramelly, nutty notes loved by porter fans and amplifies them times a thousand with an undeniably creamy peanut butter flavor. It’s a beer that pairs well with E.T.’s favorite food group — Reese’s Pieces. Added bonus: The candies will double as a type of breadcrumb trail when you’ve imbibed too many beers and can’t find your way back home! | 6% ABV, 18 IBUs
Fall Activity Pairing: Trick-or-Treating
Even though you’re too big to get away with going door-to-door asking for candy — unless you secretly steal from your kid’s stash — there are likely plenty of leftovers from that giant variety pack you had every intention of handing out to costumed little monsters. Instead of ravaging it like a zombie, here are some more Oregon beer and candy pairings to help you savor every last bite: Rusty Truck Brewing’s Taft Toffee Porter with Heath bars, Base Camp Brewing’s S’more Stout with Peeps marshmallows, and Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar with Ferrero Rocher.
Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice
Pumpkin beer (or pumpkin anything for that matter) is one of those things people either seem to love or hate. But even the biggest pumpkin skeptic could be made into a believer with Rogue’s annual Pumpkin Patch Ale. “Crafted from patch to batch,” each year Rogue employees pick fresh pumpkins from Rogue Farms in Independence, load them up and drive them 77 miles to the Newport brewery. The pumpkins are then roasted and pitched into the brew kettle, creating a final product that rivals even the best witch’s brew. | 6.1% ABV, 25 IBUs
Complex enough to be in a category all on its own, Cascade Brewing’s Pumpkin Smash is not for the average pumpkin beer fan. The Portland barrel house is highly regarded for its sour beers, and Pumpkin Smash does not disappoint. Each year’s batch offers a different experience — for example, their 2015 version is a blend of blond and quad ales aged in bourbon and brandy barrels for up to 22 months with pumpkin and spices. In September, the brewery released the 2015 blend on draft only, with vintage 2013 and 2014 bottles available for purchase. If the spirits are in your favor, you’ll likely still be able to score a rare bottle at the brewery, or at bottle shops such as Portland’s Belmont Station and The Bier Stein in Eugene. | 10.8%-12.35% ABV
Fall Activity Pairing: Pumpkin Patch
Check out Heiser Farms in Dayton for the ultimate pumpkin overload. On Saturdays and Sundays in October, the farm has cannons that shoot pumpkins more than a quarter of a mile! They will also be serving Heiser Pumpkin Ale from Silverton’s Seven Brides Brewing, a brew made with pumpkins grown right on the farm.
Originally released as a seasonal in 2014, Ninkasi’s Dawn of the Red has become almost as much of a cult classic as the movie it’s named after — 1978 horror film “Dawn of the Dead.” The brewery’s label designer and art director, Tony Figoli, is obviously a fan of the film, so what better reason to add this zombie-themed pairing to your to-do list this Halloween season and beyond? According to the Eugene brewery, “it doesn’t take brains to know this IRA is a delicious choice any time of year!” | 7% ABV, 75 IBUs
The infamous Black Widow only summons herself two weeks out of the year, but she always leaves a lasting impression. Originally brewed at the McMenamins Thompson Brewery 25 years ago on October 15, 1991, this deep-black porter infused with licorice root is so enchanting she will be the star of her own “Widow’s Weekend” at various locations. While she’s available October 15 through Halloween at all McMenamins pubs, the Thompson Brewery usually releases the popular seasonal earlier than the rest. But don’t get too lost in her web, as she won’t be here for long! | 7.35% ABV, 30 IBU
Fall Activity Pairing: Scary Movie Marathon
Although there is a 1987 crime thriller which shares the name “Black Widow,” McMenamins has a lot more to offer than that in the scary movie department this month. The company’s Mission Theater and Pub in Portland offers a variety of screenings all year long, but in October, you’ll find that classic spooky movies are their specialty. “The Craft” and “Scream” are both celebrating their 20th anniversaries, “Little Shop of Horrors” is celebrating its 30th, and “Carrie” is celebrating its 40th. There will be multiple showings of each, along with the movie “Se7en.” Don’t forget to order your favorite McMenamins beer as liquid courage as you prepare to be scared!
Putting the Oktober in Oktoberfest
If you’re pumpkin-phobic, have no fear, Deschutes is here! The brewery recently added a new fall seasonal to its lineup: Hopzeit Autumn IPA. While this beer may or may not conform to the Reinheitsgebot (a German purity law only allowing water, barley and hops as ingredients), the beer is at least “100-percent gourd free” according to the brewery, and “blends the malt body and flavor of a Marzen with the hop profile of an IPA.” It even has its own hashtag: #SayNoToPumpkinBeer. | 7% ABV, 60 IBUs
For those of you wanting something you could drink a few steins of without being frightened by flavors, this section’s for you. Block 15 Brewing’s Autumn Farmhouse Ale, dubbed as a “harvest celebration of Pacific Northwest regional farms,” is a part of the brewery’s seasonal bottle-conditioned series. The beer truly lives up to its description, featuring organic North American malts, organic oats from Green Willow Grains, Willamette Valley hops, and honey from Queen Bee Apiaries, also located in Corvallis. | 7.4% ABV
Fall Activity Pairing: Oktoberfest
Although Munich’s famous Oktoberfest may be over, luckily for you there are still some Oregon breweries that are hosting their own versions of the revered German celebration this month, including Block 15’s Bloktoberfest on Oct. 21 (Pro Tip: You get free entry if you wear German-themed clothing). On Oct. 8 in Portland, not only is Zoiglhaus Brewing hosting its own Oktoberfest, but Widmer Brothers Brewing will be putting on an Oktoberfest at Pioneer Courthouse Square featuring rock band X Ambassadors.
No matter how you’re celebrating this month, don’t be too spooked to try a new Oregon beer!
Above, Workers at Crosby's Hop Farm near Woodburn.
Following -- Emily Engdahl put this great list together for the Oregon Beer Growler's print edition. Those who want to hold this list in their hands can pick it up Oct. 1 here. If you want to see Emily's list on her website, go to http://oregonbeercountry.org. Thanks Emily!
List compiled by Emily Engdahl
For the Oregon Beer Growler
10 Barrel | Crosby Farms Harvest Ale | 5.5% | 55 IBU
Base Camp | Golden Hopportunity Belgian IPA | 10%
Base Camp | In-2-Tents |
Base Camp | Hopularity Contest Pale Ale | 5.3%
Breakside | Fresh Hop Citra | 6.5%
Brewers Union 180 | Little Green Men Cask Cond’d IPA | 5.5%
Bridgeport BridgePort | Hop Harvest | 8.0% | 60 IBU
Claim 52 | Whoa-Dang Fresh Harvest Ale | 5.5% | 55 IBU
Coalition Brewing | Green Pig Fresh Hop Pale Ale | 5.0 % | 50 IBU
Coalition Brewing | Simply Dank Fresh Hop ISA | 4.0% | 40 IBU
Crux Fermentation Project | Cruxtennial Belgian Pale Ale | 7.0% | 35 IBU
Crux Fermentation Project | Off the Fence
Crux Fermentation Project | Crystal Zwickel
Deschutes Bend | Hop Trip | 5.4% | 38 IBU
Deschutes Bend | Chasin’ Freshies | 7.2% | 65 IBU
Deschutes Bend | Cinder Cone Red | 5.9% | 47 IBU
Deschutes Portland | Fresh Hop Bitter | 5.0% | 43 IBU
Deschutes Portland | King Cone Deluxe | 6.4% | 55 IBU
Deschutes Portland | Fresh Hop Mirror Pond | 5.0% | 40 IBU
Deschutes Portland | Oktoberfest | 6.1% | 30 IBU
Double Mountain | Killer Green IPA | 7.5% | 75 IBU
Double Mountain | Killer Red IRA | 7.2% | 97 IBU
Double Mountain | Killer Brass IPA | 7.9% | 88 IBU
Falling Sky | So Fresh, So Green Fresh Hop Lager | 5.7%
Falling Sky | Nuggets of Wisdom Fresh Hop | 5.5%
Fort George Brewery | Co-Hoperative Ale | 5%
Fort George Brewery | Fresh Hop Sunrise Oatmeal Pale Ale |5.3%
Fort George Brewery | Fresh Hop Belgian | 7.5%
Fort George Brewery | Hopstoria | 5.6%
Full Sail | Full Sail Fresh Hop Pilsner | 6.0% | 60 IBU
Gilgamesh Brewing | Fresh Prince of Ales Fresh Hopped DIPA | 6.9% | 100+ IBU
Harvester | Harvester Fresh Hop Meridian Pale Ale | 5.3% | 30 IBU
Hop Valley | Citra Self Down “Fresh Hop” Pale Ale | 6% | 40 IBU
Hopworks | Bitchin’ Camaro Fresh Hop Lager | 6.0% | 60 IBU
Hopworks | Fuggin’ A Fresh Hop IPX Single Hop Ale | 5.7% | 48 IBU
Humble Brewing | Larch Creek Harvest Ale | 7% | 66 IBU
Laurelwood | Fresh Hop Mother Lode Golden Ale | 5.1% | 25 IBU
Laurelwood | Workhorse IPA | 7.5% | 80 IBU
Laurelwood | Fresh Hop Pale (Project 21) | 5.9% | 35 IBU
Laurelwood | Free-Range Red | 6.1% | 60 IBU
Lompoc | Harvestman Red | |6.1 % | 60 IBU
Lucky Lab | The Mutt | 3.6%
McMenamin’s | Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale | 6.9% | 44 IBU
McMemamin’s | Roseburg Station | Hopqua | 6.8% | 67 IBU
McMenamin’s | Old St. Francis (Bend) | Golden Sparrow Fresh Hop | 5.2% | 45 IBU
Migration | Glisan Street Fresh Hop Pale Ale | 5.1% | 33 IBU
Migration | Wild Style Fresh Hop Farm House Ale | 6.1% | 39 IBU
Migration | Better Off Fresh IPA | 7.5% | 85 IBU
Ninkasi | Total Crystalation IPA | 6.7% | 65 IBU
Ninkasi | Hop Fraiche | 5.2% | 40 IBU
Oakshire | ‘Bout a Hunerd Hops Pale Ale
Oakshire | Rogue Red Rye IPA
Old Market Pub | Schrader Brau Fresh Hopped Oktoberfest | 4.5% | 12 IBU
Old Town Brewing | Cent’s and Centsability Pale Ale | 5.5%
Old Town Brewing | Freshtoberbrau | 5.8%
Pelican Brewery | Elemental Ale | 5.4% | 55 IBU
Pfriem | Fresh Hop Mosaic Belgian Wheat | 5.1% | 18 IBU
Pints | Seismic Upgrade Imperial IPA | 8.2% | 100+ IBU
Pints | Oktoberfresh | 5.7% | 17 IBU
Pints | Crystal Lite Lager | 4.1% |10 IBU
Portland U Brew & Pub | Freshy Foystons Pale Ale | 5.8%
Portland U Brew & Pub | Papa Paul’s White Wall Pale Ale | 6.0%
Salem Ale Works | Triple F IPA | 6.0 %
Santiam Brewing | Hoppy Froppy | 6.3%
Santiam Brewing | Hopville Rye Pale Ale | 5.2%
Santiam Brewing | Fresh Hop Brown Ale | 4.8%
Sasquatch | Oregon Session Ale | 4.7%
Sasquatch | Woodboy IPA | 6.8%
Sasquatch | Red Electric IRA | 6.7%
Sasquatch | Healy Heights Pale | 5.6%
Sasquatch | Celilo CDA | 8.0% +/-
Silver Moon | Hoppopotamus Fresh Ale | 6.5%
Sky High | Fresh Hop Ale | 5.0% | 25 IBU
Solera | Chubby Bunny Fresh Hop DIPA | 9.5%
Stickmen | Single Malt – Single Hop (SMaSH) | 5.8% | 34 IBU
The Commons | Fresh Hop Myrtle | 5.3%
Three Creeks | Cone Lick’r Fresh Hop Ale | 5%
Three Creeks | Hop Wrangler Fresh Hop Red | 5%
Upright | The Hop and the Abstract Truth Belgian style pale/triticale saison | 5.1% | 30+ IBU
Vertigo | Hop Harvest IPA | 5.3% | 45 IBU
Viking Braggot | 100 Day Anniversary ESB | 5.5% | 50 IBU
Widmer Brothers | Dark and Dank Fresh Hop Lager | 5.1%
Widmer Brothers | Bring the Boom Fresh Hop IPL | 6.6%
Newberg, McMinnville, Salem, Independence, Silverton, Corvallis – is there a small town in the Willamette Valley that doesn’t have a brewery? I don’t think so. Don’t feel sorry for me because I live in the mid-Willamette Valley. Despite my 50-mile distance from Brewvana, my opportunities for beer touring are multiple.
Following are a few of my favorite breweries to visit within 30 miles of my home in Independence, but there are certainly more. Check out the Oregon Brewers’ Guild map for more suggestions, oregoncraftbeer.org/breweries/willamettevalley, or visit www.oregonbeergrowler.com to see where our writers have already been.
Or, visit any of the Albany-Corvallis breweries to pick up the Mid-Valley Sip Trip brochure, which has a great map of 10 breweries, distilleries, cider houses and meaderies in that area.
980 NE 4th St., McMinnville
McMinnville’s Golden Valley Brewing was the first in a rising tide of west-side breweries including Heater Allen (McMinnville), Long Brewing (Newberg), Fire Mountain Brewhouse (Carlton), Chehalem Valley Brewing (Newberg) and the soon-to-open Grain Station Brew Works (McMinnville). Golden Valley’s Peter Kircher has set the bar high. His classy Craftsman-style pub and his dedication to local foods (from his own farm) and fresh beer ingredients lead the way for the other boutique breweries in the region. My suggestion? I love Golden Valley’s Chehalem Mountain IPA and their Third Street Wheat to wash back their sausage and cheese plate. Sausages are from their own livestock, fed on spent grains from GV’s brews. After touring this region, fall into bed at McMenamin’s Hotel Oregon in McMinnville, one of my favorite haunts in this area.
990 1st St., Silverton
Seven Brides – Silverton’s hometown brewery – the ‘brides’ refer to the owners’ seven daughters – is a fabulous place to stop after hiking the nearby Silver Falls State Park, touring the Oregon Gardens, visiting the city’s great art galleries and shops, or whooping it up at the Homer Davenport Days Aug. 2-4. Here’s my suggestion: Call the Oregon Garden Resort and make your overnight reservation, then take in one or two of the above activities, stop off at Seven Brides afterward to either fill your growler or have a few pints at the saloon then fall into the fabulously comfortable beds at the resort. After breakfast in the morning, tour the gardens, go back to Seven Brides for beer and lunch and then take in another activity. This really is a sweet town. My favorite brews are Frankenlou’s IPA, Drunkle, and the Black Cat Porter.
2065 Madrona Ave. S.E., Salem
The Salem area’s beer culture – has gone from 0 to 60 in just a few short years, jumpstarted by The Ram, which is a chain but brews in Salem, and Pale Horse, with its popular Hillbilly Blonde, and super-fueled by Gilgamesh, a local family-owned brewery. Last year, the Radkes turned their brewing and wood-crafting acumen into a successful brewpub last year, moving from their tiny Turner home into an industrial park “Campus” funhouse. The woody and warm fireside Gilgamesh brewpub has attracted Salem’s hoards – I’ve never been there on slow day. I like their Vader CDA, but their Mamba, with its tangerine and rye flavors, is also nice. I always order the Baja Chipotle fish tacos but I should branch out a bit – they have a wide selection of dinner and lunch entrees and small plates, and an outside patio.
2544 19th St. S.E., Salem
Several homebrewers and self-proclaimed beer geeks pooled their resources last year and set up shop in and industrial park not too far from Gilgamesh. Within months they had expanded to include a tasting room open seven afternoons a week. There are always at least 10 various brews on tap, but this brewery is emerging as a cask ale specialist, thanks in no small part to English brewer, Ian Croxall. You’ll always find at least four “beer engines” connected to a firkin.
3590 Wigrich Rd., Independence
I’m not only mentioning this because it’s the brewery closest to my house, but also because it’s a just a fun, farmy place to visit for the whole family. This time of year you can sit in the yard and watch the cornhole players, watch the turkeys strut past, have a bite to eat from the food cart, take a class in bee-keeping or soap-making, and drink the latest Rogue brew, all in the shadow of the hopfields. Two years ago, Rogue fired up a nanobrewery in the farm building behind the tasting room and patio, a stone’s throw from the Willamette River, so those beers, and others from Rogue, are on tap, in addition to their bottled beer. This is a great country place for a family outing, especially in the summer and fall, when the tours are each weekend. It’s open seven days a week.
300 SW Jefferson Corvallis
There are two sides to Block 15 – the two-level casual food and drink brewpub side, and the Les Caves side, a small fine-dining atmosphere with beer and food pairing as its main attraction. Both sides feature Block 15’s great beers and display an almost fanatic dedication to local products in their cuisine. The Block 15 side has at least a dozen of its own beers on tap, from cask ales to IPAs. Les Caves also offers a variety of other Oregon beers on tap and in bottles or cans. What do I suggest? A local salad for lunch at Block 15, and for dinner, an entrée at Les Caves with Afton Field Farms chicken or pork, all nicely paired with an Oregon beer.
Flat Tail Sports Pub and Brewery
202 SW First St., Corvallis
Where do Oregon State University students (over 21 of course) take their parents when Ma or Pa visits them at school? Flat Tail, of course, for several reasons: By day, this brewpub looks downright mild. There’s a beer here for every taste -- from sours to gruits to ales and kolsches – and the Beaver memorabilia and big screen televisions all provide enough distraction to blur parental squawking. By night, this can be a crowded haven of youngish cruisers looking for a $3 pint and an oyster shooter or a frickle (fried pickle chips) to top off a long day of “studies.”
A few others in Corvallis-Albany
Oregon Trail Brewing, 341 S.W. Second St., is the oldest, and possibly the smallest brewery in Corvallis (not counting homebrewer’s garages). It is connected to the Old World Deli, where I had eaten lunch for years before realizing there was a brewery in back! Brewery is open noon 5 p.m. Monday – Friday.
Sky High Brewing, 160 NW Jackson St., Corvallis, is now completing its top story restaurant, but the brewery and the cozy tasting room (food service available) overlooking the brewery is open, serving great beer. Always good is the Linus Pauling Peace ale and the Big Air XX IPA. Interesting is the Monk’s Mana, a Belgian honey Tripel brewed with local honey and Crosby Hop Farm hops.
Mazama Brewing, 33930 S.E. Eastgate Circle, Corvallis, opened this year with a focus on Belgian-style brews. A great stop for those who also want to try cider and mead, in the same complex.
Calapooia Brewing Co., 140 Hill St. N.E., Albany. On any given Sunday at 4 p.m. you are likely to find me and my posse getting down with the bluesmeisters at Calapooia’s weekly blues jam. I will most likely have a RIPArian IPA in front of me, and at least one of my buddies will be quaffing the chili beer, for which this brewery is famous.
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