However, I am definitely not a beer cicerone. I just swig, sample, and move on. As a result of my simple tasting abilities, we are partnering with Barrel & Keg, Salem’s great beer and wine bottle shop / taproom (home to Salem’s first and only food cart pod).
From post-race pints and run club meeting locations, to beer miles and relays, running and the kegged nectar seem to go hand-in-hand in Oregon. We want to highlight a new beer each week that arrives to the B&K shelves (and may be able to be located in your local shop).find yourself a bottle. Your first stop (and northernmost distributer) should always be Barrel & Keg.
Matt: I remember exactly where I was the first time that I heard of Wolf Tree Brewery. I was heading home from a work trip to Bandon (real work, not golf work), and I had plans to stop in to Yachats Brewing. Before I left Coos County, I did a quick check on my phone and stumbled across some info that Wolf Tree was new to the Oregon Coast beer scene. SOme research showed that they actually do their brewing on a cattle farm surrounded by acres of spruce trees – where the name of this beer comes from. I reached out to them directly, and though they didn’t have a taproom, they directed me to a couple of restaurants along the coast that they had just started distributing kegs to.
Fast forward a year or so, and I was super excited to see Wolf Tree bottles make it to the shelves of Barrel and Keg. I felt like a proud father seeing his kids grow to be alongside the big kids, even though I’m not sure having a pint at a local food establishment really qualifies me to make that analogy. I picked up one of the two bottles that Wolf Tree is bottling, a “crisp, malty unfiltered ale” that is actually made with spruce tips. Its darker than I anticipated, but still goes down smooth. I found it to be pretty simple and straightforward, with 20 IBU’s and 6.5% ABV. It’s just a good drinking beer.
Kelso: I’m pretty amped to see Wolf Tree Brewing getting some attention recently! Juniper and jade hops happen to be some of my favorite brewing ingredients, so it was lovely to see both mentioned in their beer descriptions. One of the oldest styles of beer still in production today, Sahti originating in Finland, relies on juniper berries for flavor and juniper twigs as a filter all providing an earthy, herbal sweetness that tends to add a nice drinkable complexity to ales. That’s just the case in the Spruce Tip Brown Ale. The ruby tinted flagship brew boasts rustic malt and sappy spruce sugar to create a not so flashy, but crazy drinkable ale. I could crush this brown in the heat of summer or the dead of winter, making it a great staple. Enjoy on tap soon, in bottles, and for a Thursday night complimentary tasting at Barrel and Keg on March 16th!