Brewpublic took a day trip to McMinnville, Oregon, where, in the heart of Oregon Wine Country Golden Valley Brewery pours up some delicious handcrafted beers. GVB Brewmaster Mark Vickery was on hand to discuss their most recent release, a highly anticipated small batch Imperial Stout aged in Pinot Noir barrels. Barrels from neighboring Panther Creek Cellars, one of Oregon’s highest regarded producers of Pinot, are used for this pioneering brew known as Black Panther. A version of GVB’s regular stout was also aged in the barrels and available on tap exclusively at the brewery. The first commercial brewery in Oregon to use Pinot Noir barrels to age beer, Golden Valley’s big cat is an out of this world dark, rich beer with a melange of notes ranging from creamy oak and earthy tannins to robust roasty malts and piquantly cherubic hops. Each year we make certain have a couple of these laid down in our building vertical.
Good friends with Panther Creeks’ winemaster, Michael Stevenson, Vickery himself also has a few barrels of blended reds on site at the winery. Vickery says this has helped him in expanding his knowledge of and appreciation for the other fermentation process. The Valley’s culture of renowned winemaking has evolved to embrace craft beer through brewers like Vickery and Heater Allen Brewery just down the street. Next time you are in McMinnville, Oregon, take time to taste a vast assortment of artisan wines, and, yes, artisan beers.