Ashland’s Caldera Brewing Company has
been producing beer since 1997, but it’s only recently ramped up
distribution with plans to open a giant new brewhouse this spring. As
the first Oregon outfit to brew and can its own beer—a surprise
considering cans are far greener than bottles in the long run—Caldera
has an innovator’s edge. Oddly, Caldera’s higher-end “Kettle Series,”
which includes a smoked lager, two imperial stouts and Hopportunity
Knocks, the company’s second IPA, comes in the familiar 22-ounce bomber.
Hopportunity is a purer breed than Caldera’s original IPA, using
citrusy Centennial hops almost exclusively. Caldera cooks up the whole
hop flower and runs the suds through an atypical filtration system,
leaving the bottle we bought at Pearl Specialty Market & Spirits
with clean, sharp and grassy flavors. Bitterness is rated up in the
100-unit range, comparable with Ninkasi’s Tricerahops Double IPA, but a
surprisingly soft and sweet finish is this beer’s best quality.