Now begins the season of seasonal beer! In the Northwest, that means fresh hop beers, brewed with raw, wet, sticky, grassy hops that impart the true effects of the summer growing season. I look forward to seeing who makes the best use of this inconvenient ingredient (they soak up a LOT of wort, and require heavy scheduling to get them from farm to kettle within hours). The Wheel’s fresh hop beer is already gone because they brewed a super small batch, but it was a crazy mouthful of peachy Centennials.
Also, obviously, we have Oktoberfest, which begins today (9/22)! The lovely gold-to-amber lagers have heft in two ways: alcohol strength and how you treat the stein. Here’s a rundown of Eugene-area breweries and beer bars joining in the celebration of the end of fire season. I’ll update as more information comes in:
Events by Date:
Weihenstephaner Festbier Cask Tapping at The Bier Stein
Saturday, September 22, 2pm – Get into the spirit of Oktoberfest served in the old-fashioned tradition, straight from the cask! (Today, most of the Oktoberfest beers are served from giant storage tanks below ground in the fest halls. Augustiner, the only fully independent old brewery in Munich, still serves its festbier from wooden barrels.) The Bier Stein will have plenty of festbiers and Marzens on draught, too. More info: thebierstein.com/events
Falling Sky Oktoberfest Brewers’s Dinner
Sunday, 9/30, 6:30pm at the Deli, purchase tickets in advance. Beer dinners at Falling Sky are never short of good beer and lots of food. The menu looks lovely, with all the from-scratch goodness Falling Sky is known for. The beers will include the annual release of Cloud Gazer Oktoberfest Bier. More info: https://fallingskybrewing.com/falling-sky-brewers-dinner-ticket.html
Weihenstephaner Beer Dinner at The Bier Stein
Wednesday, October 3, 6pm, purchase tickets in advance – This may be the classiest way to experience German beer during Oktoberfest. With 6 courses plus a welcome beer (Original Premium, of course!), the menu features a nice mix of tradition and inspiration, and is the only place you’ll get to try Braupakt (a hop forward hefeweizen, collaboration with Sierra Nevada) paired with a Thai-style papaya salad. It really works! $65 includes all food, beer, gratuity, and a good time. More info: thebierstein.com/events
Beer Releases by Brewery:
ColdFire: Marzen – 6.1% abv, 18 IBU. Brewed using a beta>alpha step mash with Pilsner and Munich malts, Hallertau Mittelfruh and Saaz hops.
Falling Sky: Nuggets of Wisdom Fresh Hop English Pale Ale – 6.1% abv, ~40IBU. Fresh Nugget Hops from Goschie Farms. Release Date: Friday 9/28
Small Tents Session Style Oktoberfest Lager – 3.6% abv, ~19 IBU. On tap now.
Ryein’ on the Hill – Rye Oktoberfest-style Lager. 5% abv, 20 IBU. Release Date: 9/23 for our Worlds Shortest Bike Race at the Pub location.
Cloud Gazer Oktoberfest Bier – 5.7% abv, 25 IBU. Release Date: 9/30 during the Fall/Oktoberfest inspired Brewers Dinner at the Deli.
Falling Sky & Coldfire: Fresh as You Like It Imperial Fresh Hop Brut IPA – 9.5% abv, ~68IBU. From Scott Sieber, head brewer at Falling Sky: “Fresh Amarillo and Chinook from Crosby Hop Farm and wet/dry hop addition of freshly shattered Mosaic hops.” They used the liquid nitrogen freeze & shatter method developed by Breakside a few years ago. Release in early October.
Manifest: Fresh hop Pumpkin Sour – 5.6% abv. Here is the description from founder/brewer Brandon Woodruff: “We made a fresh hop Pumpkin Sour using only fresh hop sterling hops. The [sic] was open fermented using spent Cabernet barrel staves to inoculate the wort. Doing the first 80% or so of fermentation the beer had 20 lbs of fresh hop Sterling (2.8lbs per bbl). Once transferred to unitank 2lbs of espresso was added. The beer is packed full of pumpkin and spices. The spices used were Chinese five spice, all spice, fresh ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beer itself leans more toward a Flanders red than American Sour. Some malt sweetness.” Release date not included.
Oakshire: Fresh Hop Ale 2018 – 6.6% abv India Pale Ale brewed with 100% Crosby Hop Farm Amarillo. Release Date: 9/25. (Note: This is the first year release of Amarillo grown on Crosby soil.)
Plank Town: Oktoberfestbier (5.6% abv, 22 IBU) & Seavey Lupin Fresh Hop Pale Ale (5.1% abv, 35 IBU)
Plank Town released its Oktoberfestbier in August. Brewer John Crane describes it as a very quaffable malty lager with honey and spice aroma and flavor.
Seavey Lupin, also on tap now, was brewed with 21 pounds per barrel of fresh Willamette and Cascade hops from Norton’s Hop Farm on Seavey Loop Road. Crane says it has a “fresh, grassy and herbal aroma. Nice malt character followed by a clean dry finish.” This will be showcased at Tap & Growler at the beginning of October.
Sam Bond’s Brewery: Comet Fresh Hop IPA, 6.0% abv, available on draught and in package around 9/27. (Note: I love Comet hops for the fresh, bright orange aroma, and am stoked to try a fresh hop version!)