It’s early fall, the best time of the year to enjoy a beer. Hops are pouring in from all over the Northwest, turning solid beers into magical fresh hop wonders. Joining them are a few other styles that embrace the bounty of autumn and allow imbibers to transition into the shorter, cooler days ahead.
Wanderjack Fresh Hop
Breakside Brewing | Portland
The Portland IPA maestros at Breakside are releasing many fresh hop beers this fall. Among them is the Wanderjack, a great beer boosted by the Strata hop. The standard version of the beer is great, but the fresh hop version sings an even prettier song, showing grassy notes along with wild blueberries and a squeeze of citrus and pine.
Rosenstadt Brewery | Portland
The German-inspired beers of Rosenstadt should very much be on your radar. Of note is their schwarzbier, one that manages to sip well in mid-winter or the dead of summer. Dark and nutty, it’s also decidedly refreshing and relatively light at just 5.2% ABV. It’s great on its own or accompanied by a nice charcuterie board.
Into the Light
Migration Brewing | Portland
Increasingly, Northwest brewers are treating lighter beers like lagers and pilsners to fresh hops. This beer is squeaky clean, with cracker notes and some peach and tropical fruit characteristics. On display here is the Luminosa hop, among the newest in the brewing realm.
Ill Tempered Gnome
Oakshire Brewing | Eugene, Ore.
It would be easy to just list fresh hop offerings, but there are some other go-to’s come autumn. This winter ale from Eugene’s Oakshire Brewing greets the season in style. It comes across just light enough to sip in the fall, with a malty backbone and a nice hop presence to lift it all up. Start sipping it now and let it carry you into the holidays.
Chuckanut Brewery | Burlington, Wash.
This festbier out of Washington celebrates the harvest season. It’s very Euro, modeling the marzens so often guzzled around Oktoberfest. It’s crisp, smooth and a little sweet, an easy-sipper that’s all the better with a nice salty snack or dish.
Wetter Every Day
Cloudburst Brewing | Seattle
A collaboration with Varietal Beer Company in Sunnyside, Wash., this IPA is about as fresh as they come. The just-off-the-vine Citra hops lend some tropical notes, along with apricot, stone fruit and melon rind. Get it while you can and drink it early, while it’s at its peak level of freshness.
Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival
October 21-22 | Spokane, Wash.
Launched by the Washington Beer Commission, this Spokane gathering showcases 40 brewers from Washington pouring more than 100 brews. A slew of food trucks will join the party, offering food to accompany the beers.
November 18-19 | Portland
Brewlights once again takes over the Oregon Zoo this November. It’s the one beer-centric evening of the Zoo Lights stretch, in which the illuminated venue welcomes 45 breweries and a few ciders to share their work with the thirsty crowd.
Holiday Ale Fest
TBD | Portland
Portland’s beloved Holiday Ale Fest returns in 2022. The annual gathering commences downtown at Pioneer Courthouse Square and features scores of local breweries pouring a host of beers, including holiday options.
Washington Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival
December 2-3 | Seattle
Beer fans looking for winter warmers will have a lot to choose from at this festival. The Seattle event includes stouts and barrel-aged beers, ideal for the chilly season.