Wild Brew Yonder

An inspired movement celebrates beers with foraged flavors.

bmbw-2014-square250One of the most buzzed-about events at GABF was for Beers Made By Walking, a celebration of beers made with foraged ingredients—meaning, brewers and their friends head out to the woods (or across urban environments), score some exotic ingredients, and return to the brewhouse to make their wanderings into wort (unfermented beer).

Later their creations commemorate the journey itself and a lifestyle concept that Norwegians call friluftsliv, or "free air living". Founder Eric Steen launched the concept in Colorado Springs in 2011, and to date, some 50 breweries have joined his taste-driven trips, which help support various local charities.

Sure, it may sound a bit like a Portlandia plot, but consider the heavyweight brewers that showed up to pour at the organization’s latest event: Oregon’s Deschutes (a national mainstay), as well as Portland’s all-organic powerhouse Hopworks, and Breakside (winners of the nation’s top American-style IPA for 2014), among others.

Last Saturday, Beers Made By Walking and Portland’s Forest Park Conservancy celebrated the end of a summer-long series of hikes with brewers by tapping sixteen beers at three of Portland’s top craft beer venues: Cheese Bar, Belmont Station, and Horse Brass Pub. Among the creations were beers made with everything from hand-gathered spruce tree branch tips to hazelnuts, rose hips, and Oregon myrtle.

Talk about earning your ale! What’s the most exotic beer you’ve ever tried? Tell us below.

And read on for a wild tap list of excellent beers made with ingredients brewers gather by hand.

Claim 52 Brewing
GruitNoir - Gruit brewed with St. John's Wort, mugwort, juniper, yarrow, lemon balm, chamomile & black pepper, aged on oak that was soaked in 2012 Pinot Noir from a vineyard where they harvested grapes. 6% 0 IBU

Coalition Brewing Co.
Walk A'brown - American Brown Ale with vanilla leaf, and hazelnuts smoked over Western Red Cedar. 5.75%, 15 IBU

Deschutes Brewing Co.
Botanic Ale - A light and crisp beer with rye, wild sage, and meadowsweet inspired by a wildflower hike on the Middle Deschutes River.

Fort George Brewery
Spruce Budd Ale - 100% organic beer, brewed with only hand-picked spruce tips and 2-row barley. 5%, 0 IBU

Ground Breaker Brewing
Guild's Lake Ale - A light and slightly hoppy ale brewed with blackberries, aged with ginger, and dry-mugged with mugwort. 5.5%, 35 IBU

Laurelwood
Saison de Walkle - Saison with rose hips and elderberries. 5.5%, 12 IBU

Seven Brides Brewing
Pseudo Tsuga IPA - Light bodied IPA with a piney aroma and resiny flavor from the addition of Douglas Fir needle tea. 5.4%, 60 IBU

Thunder Island Brewing
Sour Darkness - Wild yeast harvested from Forest Park old growth. Dark, smooth, and a puckering background that tastes like fall.

Hopworks Urban Brewery
Salal Slap - A bracingly sour Berliner Weisse with salal berries.

Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider
The Elder Berry - Wildcrafted elderberries and western red cedar that is hand-harvested are steeped in finished cider from Oregon grown apples with a touch of local raw honey added. 6.8%

Agrarian Ales
Oxalis Saison - Herbal saison with wild harvested oxalis and spruce tips, yarrow and river sage, and organic triticale. 5%, 0 IBU

Breakside Brewery
Just the Tip Spruced Wheat - Easy drinking American wheat ale made with locally foraged blue spruce tips that the brewers collect themselves. 4.5%, 13 IBU

Burnside Brewing
Cedar IPA - IPA aged with western red cedar, with citrus and pine notes.

Flat Tail Brewing Co.
High Side Botanical Ale - Blonde ale with rose hip and rose petal and infused with beets. 5.5%, 20 IBU

Sasquatch Brewing Co.
Walk in the Park - A well balanced IPA with just a touch of vanilla to compliment the unique flavor and aroma of Oregon Myrtle. 6.8%, 74 IBU

Vagabond Brewing Co.
The Wanderer - American brown ale aged on white oak and maple syrup. 5.5%, 32 IBU

Photo Credit: Beers Made By Walking

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