Traditional Germanic brews are often ignored by American
craftsmen who might rightfully resent the fact that “beer” is synonymous
with Bohemian pilsners in red states. By making only German
styles—Hefe, Kölsch, Alt, Dunkel—North Portland’s Occidental Brewing Co.
is squeezing into a thistly niche. Any newish brewery not attempting an
unbalanced Tripel with an irritatingly punny name is worth a sip or
two, and Occidental heartily rewards. Its fall seasonal, a dark wheat
Dunkelweizen called (get this!) “Dunkelweizen” manages to be both
refreshing and complex. It’s a mature and bready brew, headlined by
bananas that have gone spotty, ready to unpeel themselves at the
slightest touch, and red apples that have surrendered their crispness.
It’s a round, relatively dry wheat beer with rich flavors but without
loud esters. Poured into a tall, thin 12-ounce glass that could pass for
a stange at BeerMongers, it’s surreptitiously contrarian and cheerfully