It’s February and our local suds scene is really taking off as we celebrate Oregon Craft Beer Month. With unique beer releases and exciting events going on throughout the state, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Oregon craft beer.

Sustainable brewing facilities, award-winning craft brews, and one-of-a-kind microbreweries and gastropubs make Oregon’s beer culture recognized nationwide. In fact, Portland often ranks as the best beer city in America and craft brew capital of the world.

Much of Oregon’s success in beer can be credited to the Willamette Valley’s fertile agricultural basin, where some of the best domestic hops producers originate. We also have the benefit of crystal clear waters from the Cascade Mountain Rivers, offering plenty of fresh, natural ingredients to make amazing craft beer.

If you’re looking to join the fun (and you definitely should), you’ve come to the right place. Here are some breweries, event highlights and activities to keep you hopped up all month long.

February Beer Festivals and Events 2024

Zwickelmania:

February 17. Join this annual brewery festival, complete with tours and free samples. The first weekend is a Portland only event, opening statewide the following week.

Hillsdale Brewfest:

February 24, 2024. Now in its 31st year, this annual event is hosted by McMenamins Hillsdale Brewery & Public House and celebrates the contributions of all McMenamins breweries.

Hillsbrew Festival:

Date TBD. Held annually at Wingspan Convention center in Washington County.

Central Oregon Winter Beer Fest:

Date TBD. For those in or traveling to the Bend area in February, be sure to check out Suttle Lodge’s Winter Beer Fest.

Check Portland Beer Festivals by Month for event updates.

Breweries Worth Checking Out

February is a great time to visit a local brewery, as many of them will be releasing new beers, including seasonal and limited editions in honor of Oregon Craft Beer Month. In some venues, you’ll have the chance to mingle with other beer connoisseurs for guided tastings, beer flights and savory pairings. Here are a few of our favorite breweries by area.

Eugene Breweries

Alesong: Check out these Winter Release events at one of Eugene’s most popular breweries.

Coldfire: Offers traditional European brews to people of the PNW.

Falling Sky: Enjoy classic styles, spins on traditional styles and innovative new styles of beer. Get the season’s Pourcast and information about other events, like live music, at this lively brewery.

Corvallis Breweries

Block 15 Tap Room: Choose from a variety of beers on tap brewed just feet away from your table.

Salem Breweries

Xicha: This brewery specializes in classic style Mexican beers and Latin American cuisine not commonly found in the PNW.

Bend Breweries

Monkless: This brewery specializes in Belgian ales and unique atmosphere. Book a private event for a truly memorable experience on the riverfront.

Boss Rambler Beer Club: A great place to get an outstanding tropical-noted IPA, summer lager, fruited beer and grub from the local food trucks that are often parked just outside the building.

Spider City: This woman-owned, award-winning brewery was inspired by the various beers the owners enjoyed as they traveled the world. Check out their monthly events, including Zwickelmania on the 17th of February.

Portland Breweries

Breakside: This highly-regarded regional brewery is known for its award-winning, innovative beers. Check out their beautiful location in Northeast Portland. While you’re there, be sure to try their Barrel-aged Series and featured releases.

Fracture: This globally influenced brewery offers a wide variety of styles in sleek, approachable taprooms.

Hosting a Beer & Cheese Pairing Party

There’s no better time than now to host your own beer and cheese pairing with friends. All you need is a diverse selection of beer, a variety of cheeses (ranging in intensity and texture) and an adventurer’s spirit. We explored pairings in an earlier post, Five of Our Favorite Beer and Cheese Pairings. If you’re interested in suggestions and a review of those we found most enjoyable, give it a read. Essentially, there is no right or wrong way to pair beer and cheese, even the combinations that turn up your nose make for a great story to tell later on.

Branching Out with New Styles

As we all know, beer is an acquired taste which means it takes a little effort to develop an affinity for it. The same can be said for different styles of beer. Once we begin to expose ourselves to the unfamiliar, we often find that the flavors we once rejected actually become quite pleasant to us. Why not use this month as an opportunity, dare I say excuse, to break out of your beer box and grow your palate for craft beer.

Craft Lagers

Craft brewers are doing their best to break lagers out of the corporate beer limbo they’ve been relegated to for some time, and restore them to their traditional Czech and German style glory. Some creative brewers even put their own spin on lager beers, adding Northwest hops or spices and fruits for a more flavorful, drinkable lager. If you’re curious about craft lager, we recommend trying Heater Allen Pils, a Bohemian-style pale lager brewed locally in McMinnville, Oregon.

Porters and Stouts

If you’re like a lot of Oregonians, IPA is your ride-or-die, but with all the latest reinventions of the classic Porters and Stouts, you’d be amiss if you didn’t give these styles another shot. Widely known as “winter beers,” both porters and stouts are heavier and hoppier, and oh-so-cozy for winter sipping. We recommend picking up Rhino Suite by Alesong Brewing & Blending.

Other porters and stouts worth trying are, S’more Stout by Base Camp Brewing Company, or Black Heart by Southern Oregon Brewing Company.

Sours

This suggestion may be controversial as many beer drinkers are not fond of sours. However, for those who are new to beer, sours may be the palate primer you’re looking for. We explored these in a previous post, Tart, Sour, Wild, Fruited Beers; If you’re interested in learning more about sours, give it a read. For this post, we’ll just say sours range in flavor from slightly sweet to mouth-watering tart, and resemble wine more than a typical American lager. If you’re thinking about trying a sour, we recommend Ruse sours and Little Beast from Cascade Brewing.

Wild Ales

If you’re looking to embark on a real taste adventure this month, you may want to try wild ales. Brewers most often employ a fermentation process in a tightly controlled environment where everything from temperature and oxygen levels to pitch rate and yeast selection is tightly regulated to produce a beer with the exact flavor profile the brewer is aiming for. Then, there are the rouge brewers, like those at The Ale Apothecary, who are not afraid to let the natural airborne yeasts ferment the beer, creating a unique and complex flavor profile that varies from batch to batch.

Fortunately, Oregon has many delicious aromas and flavors floating naturally in the fresh air, so it’s the perfect place for making incredible wild beers. Tasting the wild side of brewing is an experience every beer lover should savor.

From events and festivals to breweries and new releases, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Oregon Craft Beer this February. Come on out, brave the chilly air and show Oregon beer some love.

Published On: January 29th, 2023

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