Beer Lover’s Oregon: Best Breweries, Brewpubs and Beer Bars
offers both the novice and the serious beer drinker a roadmap to Oregon’s regional breweries and varied styles of brew.
In the introduction to his new guide to Oregon breweries, Logan Thompson hopes readers will use the book to “branch out and experience all that the state has to offer.” He then proceeds to provide just the right amounts of information to do just that.
Thompson’s introduction is followed by a how-to on using the guide and a helpful glossary of terms. Chapters on each region ensue, with a map and overview, followed by alphabetic listings of breweries, brewpubs and beer bars. (I started at the back, of course, but you can’t go wrong by opening to any page!)
Portland Front and Center
Emphasizing his local roots, Thompson begins with Portland. By now, everyone who is keen about food knows of Portland’s rise to national prominence as a city with great restaurants and a lively food and beverage scene. Beer has been at the heart of this phenomenon since the beginning. Not only do many of the best breweries run their own brewpubs, but many of the best pubs brew their own beer. And one of the key criteria upon which any new restaurant in town is judged is what’s on draft. And what’s on draft should be heavy on the local.
This guide does not disappoint when it comes to the full range of Portland breweries, from well-established ‘giants,’ such as Bridgeport and Widmer Brothers, to the smaller up-and-comers, like Coalition and The Commons. In addition to vital statistics (founding spirits, brew masters, location, brews, etc.), featured beers get special attention in the form of thoughtful assessments of character and flavor, and the kind of statistics that Oregon beer lovers crave: season and alcohol content. While most will be familiar to ‘real’ Oregon beer lovers, for whom this book is an introduction to Oregon beer the list offers those a very good snapshot of where to start.
The Valley, the Coast and More
Thompson moves on the Willamette Valley, the Coast, Central and Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon. What’s not to love about the Beaver State and its bounty? While guides to Oregon wines are many, Beer Lover’s Oregon is one of the first to give breweries the kind of careful attention that only wine has received up till now. Thankfully, one need not choose between beer and wine, both of which are not only local, but sustainably delicious.
Once the regions have been explored, there are sections on home brewing, including recipes from several the big names in Oregon beer, such as Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale. Most of us here in the Northwest know someone who brews at home, an activity that not only connects us with friends and family, but with our pioneer ancestors. The spirit of individual effort and community-mindedness that allowed them to survive and thrive is alive in today’s brewpubs, but also in homes and neighborhoods across the state, and Logan Thompson has captured something of the essence of that, and sprinkled it throughout this interesting and informative new guide to Oregon beer
Whether Benjamin Franklin ever said that beer is ‘proof God loves us and wants us to be happy,’ Oregonians would surely point out that hoppy beer is proof that somebody loves us.
—By Jeff Thomas, RFT Contributor