I love beer. After now having visited over 250 different breweries, it’s fair to say I have sampled a lot of beer (follow me on Untappd).
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).
- Beer: Capital IPA
- Style: Dry Hopped India Pale Ale (IPA)
About two years ago, the Willamette Week came down and checked out Salem’s brewery scene. The piece was…less than favorable. It was essentially a shred piece that mostly picked apart the differences in buildings and locations between the two city’s watering holes. Obviously, Salem didn’t stand a chance.
I’ll be the first to admit, as a Salem/Keizer resident, that the capital city isn’t the most hip place in the world and doesn’t quite have the draw of food and drink that Portland has (we also don’t have the sky high rent and unbearable traffic problems either). Shoot, I’d even say that we fall somewhere behind Eugene, Bend, and probably even Corvallis when it comes to the historical beer scene. However, with the creation of the Salem Brewery Association, I truly believe Salem is on the rise in this area.
Over the past few years, Gilgamesh has renovated their property, Santiam has expanded their taproom to include a restaurant, Vagabond has been the focal point in an overhaul of their leased building and have expanded with a taproom (Victory Club) downtown as well as one in Albany, and Salem Ale Works will be moving into a larger location to accommodate growing demand. Along with the “cider legends” of Anthem / Wandering Aengus Cider, 1859 Cider Company opened in the last year and has a location right downtown. Sparky’s Brewing does a periodic handful of self-brewed beers, but has grown essentially as a taproom/restaurant and packs the place frequently. There are 7-8 main taprooms that are doing great things in various points across the cities from Keizer to South Salem and West Salem to downtown. New breweries are opening up this summer/fall, with Xicha Brewing (specializing in Latin American lagers and cuisine) coming soon to West Salem and Bine Brewing filling the vacated SAW location. We even have a new Salem Ale & Cider Trail Passport. Things are on the rise!
The 4 leading members of the SBA collaborated on their first beer – a dry hopped IPA that uses Willamette Valley hops from right here in Salem as well. These bottles are self-distributed from Santiam, but can be found in a few local bottle shops – including our very own Barrel & Keg! Come pick a bottle up for $6! It’s not a super-complex IPA, but is super refreshing and drinkable – even at 7.2% ABV. It goes down smooth and is not overpoweringly hoppy. I’m much impressed!