Brave new beers in Portland

Branch out with one of these less common beer styles — your taste buds will thank you later.

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    Fact: Portland is home to more breweries than any other city on the planet — more than 70 and counting. Here in “Beervana,” the brews are likely to be as delicious as they are local, and styles stretch from alts to zwickelbiers. Along with the ubiquitous IPAs, odds are you’ll find locals sipping one of five newly popular beer styles: saison, session, Cascadian Dark Ale, fruit and sour. Follow our guide to get to know (and taste) them for yourself.


    Inspired by the rustic farmhouse ales of Belgium and France, this refreshing style boasts fruit and spice profiles.

    Urban Farmhouse, The Commons Brewery

    Peppery esters provide oomph, but flavors of nectarine and Champagne-like carbonation keep it approachable.

    Four, Upright Brewing

    A sour mash gives this wheat-based ale a smack of tartness.


    Beers that undergo continued barrel-fermentation are said to be “sour.” But fear not: Many are rounded with fresh fruit notes.

    Apricot, Cascade Brewing Barrel House

    This Belgian tripel from Portland’s sour beer brewing mecca is aged for 16 months in French-oak wine barrels, undergoing lactic fermentation before spending eight months mixing with ripe apricots.

    Passion Fruit Berliner Weisse, Breakside Brewery

    A bronze-medal winner at the 2013 Great American Beer Fest, this German-style sour wheat beer is infused with juicy, tropical lilikoi.


    These low-alcohol entries (typically 5% alcohol by volume or less) still pack flavor.

    Meridiwit, Base Camp Brewing Co.

    Regionally grown Meridian hops add an irresistible tangerine aroma and mimosa-like zip to this wheat beer.

    Oregon Session Ale, Sasquatch Brewing Company

    Pilsner malt and flaked maize embellished with aromatic Willamette Valley hops offer a taste of biscuits with wild honey.


    Cascadian Dark Ale. Pacific Northwest-grown hops and black malts are a must for this variation of India Pale Ale.

    Secession CDA, Hopworks Urban Brewery

    Chocolate and black malts and Cascade and Magnum hops meld for a brew that evokes coffee stirred with pine needles.

    Hop in the Dark, Deschutes Brewery

    Five varieties of Cascadian hops (Nugget, Centennial, Amarillo, Cascade and Citra) mix with two kinds of barley malts — chocolate-wheat and black — for results that are both resinous and astringent.


    Far beyond beer flavored with fruit extracts, these generally tart beers are fermented with a bounty of fresh local fruit.

    Marionberry Hibiscus Gose, Widmer Brothers Brewing

    Naturally tart German wheat beer is augmented with Oregon’s native berry, adding a magenta hue and phenomenal flavor.

    Sweet Heat, Burnside Brewing Co.

    Burnside’s bottled best-seller is brewed with a rich apricot puree and four-alarm Scotch bonnet peppers.


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