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Food & Drink » Beer & Drink

Two for the Holidays

Keep it light and crisp, or dark and barrel-aged

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Looking for something a little special to break out at Christmas dinner? Or simply dreading the thought of a week snowed in with your extended family without booze? Bend's local breweries have you covered—and in two very different ways, too.

Last week saw the release of Bubbly from 10 Barrel, the first time the rapidly expanding brewery has released a cider. Debuting at the Pray for Snow party a little while back at their production facility, Bubbly was a side project for experimental brewer Tonya Cornett for a couple years before finally seeing release. As ciders go, its ingredients are pretty straight-line—Pink Lady and Granny Smith apples from a farm in Yakima, Washington—but the difference is the wine yeast Cornett used for fermentation.

This results in a very champagne-y look and feel (hence the name), something that was very clear during Bubbly's debut event. It's light in color, subtle in flavor, and at 6.5 percent alcohol, not going to put a major dent in your evening. And while its dryness might not be your cup of tea if you're into the sweeter drinks that a lot of craft cideries pride themselves on, it's a lovely alternative to beer that should go well with a lot of the food you'd traditionally eat for Christmas.

Something not so traditional, meanwhile, debuted down the street at Crux Fermentation Project last weekend. Nordic Saison, the seventh release in its One-Off Banished series, is a collaboration with Anders Kissmeyer, a veteran Danish brewer who founded the well-known Nørrebro Bryghus before going solo in 2010. It's described as an experiment on Kissmeyer's part, a series of saison-type ales that he's brewing with a number of breweries worldwide using the same base recipe. Pouring dark as a lump of coal, it's flavored with blackberry honey, heather flowers, and rose hips, then socked into wine barrels with a wild strain of yeast for good measure. Like all the One-Offs, it's a pretty limited release (only 20 cases were bottled), so if you don't mind the $29 price tag for a bomber, run on over if you like your beers thick, heavy, and full of Christmas cheer.

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