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Autumn's Craft Beers

Published: September 23, 2022

 

Craft beer and hard ciders pair perfectly with changing leaves, back to school, football games and the crisp autumn air. So what is fresh and new along the Eugene Ale Trail this fall? 

Here is a round up of our top seasonal trends to check out.

Abundant Fall Fruit

Leave nothing in the field this harvest season! Local brewers pack a punch with small batches of seasonal beverages bursting with fruity flavor.

Apples at Thistledown Farm by Sally McAleer

Apple harvest at Thistledown Farm

Photo: Sally McAleer
"Your Fruit, Your Cider" at WildCraft

We start with a cider. Autumn is all about apple orchards, u-picks, cider presses and more fruit than you know what to do with... so we are grateful for WildCraft Cider Work's community apple drive. Don't let nature's abundance waste away on the ground! From July through November, local residents donate their extra apples, pears, and plums to WildCraft Cider Works, and the fruit is pressed into future hard ciders.

Sip a pint of “Your Fruit, Your Cider” from the previous Community Apple Drive, and make plans to taste this year's community cider after fall's fermenting is finished.

WildCraft Cider Works Community Cider

Photo: Melanie Griffin / Eugene, Cascades & Coast
Elk Horn Brewery at Detering Orchards

This innovative brewery known for their extensive cider concoctions has partnered with Detering Orchards — known for their U-pick apple orchards and "Apple Daze" farm festival days — to pour Elk Horn hard ciders alongside Detering Orchards fresh pressed ciders right at the farm. Pull up a seat in the outdoor saloon by the farm stand, and sip delicious, local ciders while seated amongst abundant displays of pumpkins, apples, squashes and preserves. The cider selection offered in the saloon may vary, but visit Elk Horn Brewery for the full range from this season's "Carrot Cake" cider to a traditional dry apple cider "Apfelwein".

Shopping at Detering Orchards

Detering Orchards apple and pear harvest

Photo: Joni Kabana
"Stonefruit Symphony" from Alesong Brewing & Blending

Before you fully turn your attention to fall beers, pause and savor the last tastes of summer at Alesong Brewing & Blending. Their “Stonefruit Symphony”, a sour ale aged in French oak barrels and packed with peaches and nectarines, was the only Eugene area beer to win a medal at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival. Alesong brought home the Gold Medal in the Belgian Fruit Beer category for that release — so make sure you grab a bottle before they are gone! With this award, Alesong has medaled at the Great American Beer Fest for six years in a row, putting them in the top ten longest winning streaks in the country. 

"Pomme" from Alesong Brewing & Blending

Another Detering Orchards partnership is manifest in "Pomme", a summation of fall with apple and spice aromas. Described as a "rustic autumn farmhouse ale", this delightful hybrid beer was aged in oak and then refermented on a blend of three different cider apples from Detering Orchards.

The "Terroir Project: King Estate" from Alesong Brewing & Blending

Collaborating with Eugene's largest local winery, Alesong Brewing & Blending has produced a wine/beer hybrid using King Estate Pinot Gris grapes — foot stomped in the cellar and fermented naturally with the microflora on the skins. The result is an orange-hued, wine-inspired beer with a fruity profile. Alesong partnered with several additional local vineyards to produce a collection of four other hybrids which will be poured at the Terroir Festival on September 24. If you are fortunate, these special releases will be still be available after the celebration at Alesong's Territorial Highway location or Market District tasting room.

Oktoberfest Brews

September and October are the time for celebrating craft beer. Lift a frothy mug to the season with these tributes. Many of the pubs get into the spirit too, like the Bier Stein Bottleshop and Pub.

The Bier Stein Bottleshop and Pub serves up German food year round.

Photo: Melanie Griffin / EugeneCascadesCoast.org
"Achtung Lager” at Ninkasi

“Achtung Lager” is Ninkasi's Oktoberfest style beer. It is a collaboration with Reuben’s Brews, based out of Seattle. 

"Schwartzbier" at Covered Bridge Brewing Group

Fall in Cottage Grove brings the return of many small-town festivals. Covered Bridge Brewing Group also held their own Oktoberfest in September, and the fall beers are still being poured for you to enjoy! Their Schwartzbier is a dark German beer with a dry finish. Once the rains begin and the weather cools, head inside the spacious facility for live music and stand-up comedy on most weekend nights. 

Craft your own Oktoberfest experience this fall! With Eugene's amazing local beers and the… More Info

Fresh Hops

With almost half of the world's hops grown right here in the Pacific Northwest, fresh local hops are a celebrated ingredient. Local brewers are proud of their small batch, locally-sourced hop-forward beer.

Hops Picking at Agrarian Ales Brewing Company by Katie McGuigan

The delicate hop flower is hand harvested and sorted.

Photo: Katie McGuigan
"Hop Harvest 2022" and "Effing Fresh Ale" at Oakshire Public House

Freshly picked Sabro and Simcoe hops from Coleman Agriculture are blended with last year's Fresh Hop Hazy IPA base; this year resulting in notes of pine, citrus, coconut and tropical aromas for "Hop Harvest 2022". Oakshire's "Effing Fresh Ale" is a double IPA that starts with a West Coast DIPA base and uses Fresh Indie Hops Strata picked the same day from Coleman Agriculture's Alluvial Farm. This optimally fresh beer conveys strawberry, passion fruit and "rock concert" cannabis nuances with a dry finish.

"Fresh Perspective 2022" at ColdFire Brewing Company

If fresh hops is your thing, then this is as fresh as it gets! Amarillo hops were added to Cold Fire Brewing Company's "Fresh Perspective" beer the same day the hops were harvested at the farm; resulting in a crisp, dry IPA with nuances of strawberry, pineapple and mango.

Another exciting beer to sample is “Citra Solstice 2022”, which returned in late September and will be on tap for the fall. Bringing hops and malt together in a brew some call a Black IPA and others dub a Cascadian Dark Ale; it’s flavorful and aromatic, but still smooth.

Taps at Coldfire Brewing

ColdFire Brewing Company taps

Photo: Melanie Griffin / Eugene, Cascades & Coast
"Fresh Hop Vicious Mosquito" and "Fresh Hop Fuzztail" at Oakway Pub

Pouring their limited release beers, Sunriver Brewing Co. - Oakway Pub has several fresh hop beers currently on tap. Their flagship IPA Vicious Mosquito is brewed with fresh Centennial hops from Crosby Hop farm in Woodburn, OR and the other Fresh Hop Fuzztail is an American Hefeweizen with freshly harvested hops from St. Paul, OR resulting in nuances of evergreen forest, red grapefruit and wildflowers.

"The Minimum Maximum" at Gratitude Brewing

Gratitude Brewing is currently brewing fresh hop beers. The first up is “The Minimum Maximum” with strata, citra, and mosaic hops, along with just enough crystal malt to balance it out.

"Centennial Fresh Hop Pale Ale" at Ninkasi

Also on the fresh hop side of things, Ninkasi has a new batch of Centennial Fresh Hop Pale Ale this year. Hops came from Crosby Hops, a farm in Woodburn, OR. The hops were harvested and added to the brew on the very same day. Only 84 miles from farm to brewery!

Ninkasi Brewing Company
Locals prefer our hometown craft beer - find out why!… More Info
Author: Jeff Malik

Jeff Malik is the Destination Development Manager for Travel Lane County, where he helps local communities develop new tourism infrastructure and experiences. After a decade of working in the conservation field in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Ohio; Jeff is now happy in the tourism industry and loves helping visitors find off the beaten path adventures.  

Jeff also enjoys cooking with local foods, board games, camping, hiking, and getting out on his stand up paddleboard.