Oregon brewing legend John Harris has been making beer for more than 30 years. Rigel Sparkling Ale, currently on tap at his just-opened Ecliptic Brewing in North Portland, has been in the works for 27 of them. Back in the ’80s, while working at McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse in Hillsboro, Harris and his fellow brewers found a wild grape vine growing by the road and decided to make a beer with the fruit. That first attempt planted a seed, and now Harris has honed the recipe with this highly carbonated, refreshing ale combining light malts and fruity Crystal hops with riesling juice from a winery in Roseburg. That addition gives the beer a touch of musty funkiness, but it’s still drinkable and subtly sophisticated. Forget Miller High Life—this is the real Champagne of beers. Recommended.
Click here for a review of the new Ecliptic Brewing brewpub.