On Saturday night, we decided to head out to the Southern Oregon Craft Brew Festival in downtown Medford. We split our time about 50/50 between enjoying delicious brews and laughing at try-hard hipster outfits. Speaking of which, are sweatshorts a thing now? And I’m not talking about the athleisure trend, I’m talking about $5 Walmart sweatpants cut off at the knee. I saw at least three guys wearing them last night paired with chucks, and I don’t really know how to react to that. I’m currently stuck somewhere between “ew” and “but I do love sweatpants.” It was kind of like this:
Anyway, enough about hipster clothing. I’m really writing this post to tell you about my favorite brews from the night so that you can try them out this summer. Before we start, I feel like I should warn you: if you’re looking for a serious beer review containing phrases like “mouth feel” and “intricate lacing,” this won’t be that. This is more, “what I’ll be drinking this summer while watching Netflix in my underwear in front of a box fan.”
Everyone in Northern California seems to be raving about the Eugene-based Ninkasi Brewing Company right now … and now I can see why. Their Dawn of the Red India Red Ale was easily my favorite from the entire night. I like me a super hoppy IPA, but even if you don’t typically like IPAs/IRAs you should still give it a try. It’s got a slightly fruity flavor (the label says it’s brewed with mangoes, papaya, and pineapple) that mellows the hoppiness a bit. Plus, how cool is the name? It’s a special release, so I’m not sure if you’ll see it in stores. If you do, pick it up.
I wasn’t originally going to try this one, but I’m SO glad I did – this may be my favorite coffee/espresso stout I’ve tasted. I love coffee, and my main complaint with espresso stouts is that the java flavor isn’t strong enough. However, this was like drinking a glass of iced coffee. The whole time I was drinking it, I kept thinking, “This would go so great with a giant piece of chocolate cake.” (Then again, when do I *not* think that.) These guys are from Eugene too – apparently we need to plan a road trip, stat.
I mentioned that I love a hoppy beer, and I also love cider, so it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed this imperial hopped cider from the Corvallis-based 2 Towns Ciderhouse. If you’re not a beer fan, you’ll probably love this – it’s super fruity, and it’s made with red rhubarb and fresh-pressed apples. It’s 8% ABV and goes down easily, which means this is a good choice if you’re looking for a nice buzz with not a lot of effort :)
I’ve raved about Hop Valley’s Citrus Mistress IPA before, but I couldn’t leave it off the list. It’s tart, refreshing, and the grapefruit flavor isn’t too overpowering. I’m no expert but I feel like it would go really well with fish tacos. Mmm, fish tacos.
That’s it! If you can’t find these in stores near you, then there’s really only one solution: Plan a trip to Oregon right this minute.