I love beer. After now having visited over 315 different breweries, it’s fair to say I have sampled a lot of beer (follow me on Untappd). 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. Our Kegs and Legs feature is where beer drinking runners like me can go to find some new favorite beverages.
I distinctly remember being in Bend in 2013 when Worthy Brewing first opened their doors. East Bend, at the time, was pretty devoid of development and their new building was the last thing before the long road to Burns. Fast forward a few years and both Worthy and the neighborhood have exploded, leaving the brewery surrounded by houses, apartments, and other shops.
The brewery itself has also expanded, building a Hopservatory on site, as well as putting the finishing touches on a downtown location that will hit Bend in Spring 2018. One of the things that stood out to me on my initial experience years ago was their committment to homegrown hops – in a hop research facility partnership with Oregon State University. Their brewery grounds have a greenhouse and garden beds committed to coming up with the latest and greatest varietals.
The hop “Strata” was one variety that was grown through this partnership, and the first new hop to emerge from the OSU-Indie Hops breeding program. It’s also the first independently owned hop ever designed, tested and grown in Oregon. This hop has is the feature of the newly bottled (only since September 2017) Strata IPA, which recently won a gold medal in the Sessionable Hoppy IPA category at the 2017 Oregon Beer Awards.
Now that this has been on draft for a few months, there has definitely been a demand for it. The mature crop of 10 acres is being used for current draft and bottles, and Indie Hops has put in another 60 acres in the Willamette Valley that will mature in 2018.
But how does it taste?
As I have mentioned before in my beer posts, I am definitely not a beer cicerone – I generally just swig, sample, and move on. I have sampled a lot of beers in my travels, and have become more and more able to pick out certain notes and flavors, though I am by no means a professional. Here is how Worthy describes the taste profile of the Strata IPA:
From terra firma, it has notes of pineapple and watermelon, with a whiff of herbal dankness. From the jungle canopy, the citrusy flavor of mango and passion fruit. And from the outer rim, delightful hints of peaches and pine.
As someone who views the IPA as his favorite, I have gone away from the styling a bit in recent months. Having tried so many different IPA’s, sometimes they all just blend together and it takes something a little different and unique to really rope me back in. The Strata IPA definitely does that. It’s a supremely unique and drinkable beer – not too bitter but enough to remind you what you are drinking. It is a really surprising combination of fruity and piney – almost a teeter-totter of flavoring that keeps me really intrigued. This is a highly recommended IPA and one of my favorites in recent memory.
Worthy also supports the running and cycling communities as well. They hosted the pre-event for this past year’s Tour des Chutes, were the starting poing on the Bend Beer Chase, and provided post-race beers at numerous events.