Many Bendites don't like to think about spring when the days are still short and there's at least half a chance at some face shots on Bachelor remaining, but the beer industry never rests. It knows that, by the time we're all taking off our outer layers, we'll want something lighter in our glasses to fend off the mosquitoes.
10 Barrel, for one, is wasting no time. Last week saw the official debut of Riding Solo, its new spring seasonal, after a test run at a bar or two around Bend. It's the product of Ben Shirley, one of 10B's brewers and the guy who collaborated with brewmaster Jeremy Seifrit on the label's Big Daddy fresh hop beer back in the fall. (Shirley also lent his name recently to a beer from The Ale Apothecary called, "Shirley, You Can't Be Serious," which features some plums grown in his backyard.)
Riding Solo, as the name suggests, is a single-hop pale ale from Comet with citrus on the top and subtle malt notes on the bottom. At 6.5 percent ABV, though, it's not quite what one would call sessionable. Luckily, GoodLife has you covered on that front, too. In February, the southwest-Bend brewery will launch Brewshed Session Ale, a 4.5-percenter that's its first new release in a while to ship out in cans across its distribution sphere. This brand gets its name because part of the sales go to the Brewshed Alliance, a Washington-based non-profit that encourages water conservation via partnerships with breweries. GoodLife will be partnering with a few other charities for similar releases later this year. Check out the launch event at the brewery on Feb. 4.
Meanwhile, the rumors coming from Fort George in Astoria should make IPA fans salivate. 3-Way IPA for 2016 will be a collaboration between them, Barley Brown's Brewery, and Melvin Brewing out in Wyoming; expect it in late spring. The next batch of their Suicide Squeeze IPA, on the other hand, will be an encore of the 3-Way recipe from 2014, a brew that drew enormous adulation all across the country. It'll be a very hot summer, indeed.