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Craft Beer Issue 2017

A History of American Beer Geekdom

What the Hell Beer Should I Drink?

Brews for New Avenues: Beer for a Great Cause

Portland’s Beer District

Beer and Cheese Are BFFs

Oregon brewers—and Oregon beer drinkers—have always been early adapters, which explains why you don’t have to search very hard to find a local beer infused with cucumber. That’s right, we’re still ahead of the curve on the cucumber craze that still hasn’t quite seemed to materialize. Summer’s a fine time for these cuke brews, which are light and refreshing in unorthodox ways.

El Guapo
Flat Tail Brewing (Corvallis)
ABV: 5 percent
With apologies to the Mercury’s fact-checker, we’re calling this the first American craft beer to be brewed with cucumbers. It debuted in 2010, and we can’t find another one that appeared before 2012. Brewer Dave Marliave says he “came up with the recipe while walking through a Portland farmers market. There was a vendor cutting cucumbers, habaneros, and limes, and the aroma combo blew me away.” Hence, this cucumber-lime-habanero-blonde ale has been one of Flat Tail’s core summer seasonals since.

Salado Pepino y Tomatillo Gose
Widmer Brothers Brewing (Portland)
ABV: 3.8 percent
The addition of tomatillo and lime creates what brewer Tom Bleigh calls “gazpacho meets salsa verde.” Using tart gose as a base style keeps it dancing on the tongue, and its low alcohol content means you can drink several pints before it has you speaking in tongues.

Cucumber Crush
10 Barrel Brewing (Bend)
ABV: 5 percent
This Berliner Weisse infused with cucumber flavoring garnered a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival. When brewer Tonya Cornett noticed her Berliner naturally had notes of cucumber and melon, she decided to accent it. It’s so popular it’s now made year-round.

Sun Made Cucumber
Oakshire Brewing (Eugene)
ABV: 4 percent
This low-alcohol cuke beer is delectably tart and quenches while it cools (it’s available through July). The Oakshire brew features a remarkable ratio of fresh peeled cucumber—one per half-barrel keg!—to lactic kick, making it neither too sweet nor remotely picklish.

Benedict Cumberbatch
Buoy Beer Company (Astoria)
ABV: 4.9 percent
Clearly cucumber works in sour beers, and this dashing number boasts 100 pounds of juiced cukes per batch. The lactobacillus and salt innate to the gose style give a twist of lemon to its pronounced melony finish.