Blueberry Beer

Deschutes' David Bredgars prepared blueberries for Lil Bluebaer beer (photo courtesy of Deschutes Brewery)

Many breweries from New England offer a blueberry beer in their repertoire, and now we are starting to see this trend slowly gaining momentum here in the Pacific Northwest.

Cascade Brewing recently released a blueberry sour ale featuring a wheat beer base and aged in barrels previously holding Pinot Noir. This beer debuted at Brewpublic’s KillerBeerFest and soon after made an appearance at the Cascade Brewery Barrel House where it currently pours.

Cody Bortorff of Cascade Brewing smashes Oregon blueberries through a screen in preparation for Cascade's Sour Blueberry Wheat

Astoria Brewing tried their hand at a sour blueberry ale as well. Brewer John Dalgren employed a Wyeast lambic blend to ferment out the beer and added 165 pounds of blueberries and an additional 3.5 pounds to each keg. Brettanomyces was added along with oak chips soaked in wine barrels and aged for five months.

Astoria Brewing Co.'s Blueberry Lambic

Now, Deschutes Brewery has made a blueberry ale of their own that currently is on tap at their Bend taproom. David Bredgard and Paul Arney (lead brewer at the Bend pub) pureed over 100# of blueberries from Mel Johnson’s farm in Salem (Johnson is the grandfather of one Bend’s pub servers). These berries went into the kettle at knockout to make Lil Bluebear…a modified weiss with Maris Otter malt from England and a fair amount of wheat.

So will blueberry beers grace the taps across Oregon and the Northwest anytime soon? Perhaps not. Perhaps these are simply fun on-offs and seasonals. Still, we love the use of sweet, tangy, and tart blueberries in our beer and we hope you do, too. If you’re a brewer reading this, consider making a blueberry beer of your own. We’ll surely drink it!