Spotted at Taste of the Nation Portland: Summer Trends

Which drinks will be hot this summer in the Rose City?
by Brooke Preston on May 16, 2012 in Culture
Spotted at Taste of the Nation Portland: Summer Trends

Last week, we put on our finest elastic waistband pants and our old-timey press hat, and made our way to Jeld-Wen field for Portland's premier tasting event, Taste of the Nation Portland.

In between bites, sips and handshakes, we managed to take note of some emerging summer trends in the world of local drink. Here are a few products and places we predict will be hot for summer. Done your own trendspotting? Add your summer drink predictions in the comments.

  • Fruit is back: Fruit-forward cocktails and infusions are back in a major way. This makes sense in a region blessed with more orchards and fruit farms than you can shake a swizzle stick at. The folks at House Spirits were mixing their tasty Krogstad Aquavit (a spirit made with star anise and caraway seed) with fresh lime juice and simple syrup, with fantastic results.
     
  • Dark beer's not just for winter anymore: We spied several surprisingly opaque "summer seasonals", including a very tasty Oatmeal Porter from Widmer Brothers' 924 series. Full Sail's Session Black is dark in attitude, but light-bodied and crisp enough to hit the spot even during a heatwave.
     
  • IPA gone mild: Last year, Portland's obsession with IPA led to some pretty radically hoppy flavor profiles (double imperial IPAs, for instance). This year's batch, however, seem content to instead focus on more balanced (and colorful-sounding brews) such as White IPAs and Black IPAs.
     
  • Young grapes: Pinot Noir is still Oregon's darling, but young, fresh-from-the-2011-harvest bottles are getting a lot of well-desrved attention in particular. Bergstrom, Willamette Valley Vineyards and others showcased standouts.
     
  • Rye, Rye, Rye: Eugene's Oakshire Brewing rolled out a very worthy summer "line Dry Rye" pale ale, brewed with honey. We predict other brewers will soon follow suit with similar efforts...or maybe we're just hoping they do!

 

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