Top Winter Ales on the Coast
The wind is whipping and the skies are gray. But inside these coastal brewpubs it’s cozy, warm and full of cheer. For craft beer superfans, especially, winter is the best time to catch up on small-batch, special barrel-aged releases, often only available on tap or in to-go bottles on site. Get them soon, before they’re gone. From stouts to IPAs to sours, sweet and spice and everything nice, here’s a list to get you started.
At Fort George Brewery, Candy Man is a part of the brewery’s Sweet Virginia series of rare and barrel-aged beers. This Belgian-style quadruple ale is brewed with dark and clear Belgian candy sugar and specialty malts and then soaked in Pinot Noir barrels. Pelican Brewing Company brings back its Bad Santa, a roasty toasty blend of flavors and aromas that come from a heavy amount of Fuggle hops (available through December). Public Coast Brewing Co. in Cannon Beach offers their Coconut Brown Ale as their own tropical take on winter ales, with tropical notes of cocoa butter as a nice counterpoint to the season.
The brewers at Yachats Brewing and Farm Store love to forage the seaside shores and forests for their ferments, a labor of love that you may just have to enjoy on site. Try the easy-drinking Seaberry Sour, a fruity cider-like nectar made with pretty orange buckthorn berries. Rogue Ales in Newport is known for its bold combinations, and its decadent winter beers don’t disappoint. Their Hazelutely Choctabulous is a winner — an nutty blend of their chocolate stout and Hazelnut Brown Nectar, with notes of chocolate candy bar (available through February). In the little town of Seal Rock, Wolf Tree Brewery may be a nanobrewery, but they’re big on flavor. One of their signatures is the spruce tip ale, a uniquely fruity, foresty flavor that will have you dreaming of being outside in a wet forest. It’s smooth, malty and unfiltered, and not for the faint of heart.
In Coos Bay, tuck into a cozy booth at 7 Devils Brewing Co. and settle down with a McCollough Mocha Stout, which is brewed with locally roasted cold brew coffee and spent nibs from Stillwagon Distillery in nearby Bandon. At 8.4 percent alcohol by volume, the Block and Tackle Stout at Chetco Brewing Company will no doubt warm you up from the inside out. This robust black-and-caramel malt won a silver medal in the World Beer Cup’s American Imperial Stout category back in 2014, and is still going strong. Oregon’s southernmost brewery, Misty Mountain Brewing and Tap Haus, is worth the trip. Just off Highway 101 in Brookings, this family-owned brewpub features an ocean view and eight small-batch brews on tap. Their seasonal (through 2018) beer is “King Under the Mountain,” a hearty Russian imperial stout with a hint of pumpkin that will keep the wintry vibes going strong.
— Jen Anderson
Photo of Chetco Brewing Company by Urdahl Photo