In 2015, Oregon’s breweries crafted 1,700,000 barrels of beer. (A barrel is 248 pints.) Beer contributed $4.49 billion to the state’s economy and employs roughly 31,000 Oregonians directly and indirectly, from the guy who drives that beer truck all over Portland, to the woman working her family hop farm in the Willamette Valley, to the dude mushing thirsty peddlers around Bend on the Cycle Pub. But perhaps the snazziest stat is that of all the beer sold in state, 22 percent was made within its borders. In that same year, Oregon’s craft brewers sold 1.048 million barrels outside of Oregon, in the U.S. and around the world. Today, Peaks and Pints salutes Oregon loading up our daily five beer, 5-ounce Craft Beer Crosscut flight sampler with Oregon craft.
5.5% ABV, 37 IBUs
Nearly 60 years ago, the motto “Pacific Wonderland” first showed up on license plates in Oregon in celebration of the state’s 100th birthday. Oregon is still a place full of wonder and adventure, and Deschutes Brewery bottled it up in a new sessionable brew befitting of the Pacific Northwest: Pacific Wonderland Lager. This pale lager is made with a pilsner malt and a trifecta of Hallertau Herkules, Hallertau Mettelfruh and Tettnang Mandarina hops. The result is more hoppy than malty, some citrus, some spice and a crisp, clean lager finish.
5.5% ABV, 37 IBUs
We really enjoy Vanilla Oatis — an oatmeal stout brewed with vanilla — which is another beer from the Ninkasi Brewing Co.‘s Flagship Series. Among its varied and complex aromas, we note charred marshmallows, chocolate milk, and a whiff of sunscreen. There was also the scent of a Black Russian cocktail in this boozy beer. With a good amount of vanilla up front, Vanilla Oatis had a silky smooth mouthfeel and some meatiness to it, as well as flavors that brought to mind a campfire.
7% ABV, 70 IBUs
GoodLife Brewing Co. brews its Descender IPA with a “hopbursting” process that allows for the hop flavor to be delicately sprinkled throughout the boil, extracting bitterness. Brewed with Centennial, Chinook, Cascade, Galaxy and Warrior hops, this delicious IPA hits the bitter hard then mellows into a lemony-malty backdrop.
6.5% ABV, 80 IBUs
Hop Valley’s Citrus Mistress rules Washington state, outselling the Eugene brewery’s top seller in Oregon, Alphadelic IPA. If you dig grapefruit, the lady plays nice. The peel is very much forward. Hops are present, but not overwhelming. Orange, pine and tropical fruit are behind the yellow and orange curtain. It has a juicy finish, of course.
7.5% ABV, 80 IBUs
Three cheers to Laurelwood Brewing Co.’s head brewer Cameron Murphy! He is keeping Workhorse IPA’s momentum going after Vasilios Gletsos brilliantly rebuilt the Workhorse recipe in the throes of a hop shortage before moving on to Vermont’s vaunted Hill Farmstead. This IPA has a perfect alchemy of hops — roughly 40 percent juicy Galaxy from Australia, 50 percent Citra from Washington and a smattering of El Dorado and Simcoe — complemented by a nice, vaguely biscuity dry body.