Every Oakshire kettle-soured beer is an experiment. Each new ale uses a different fruit, malt bill and hop profile.
Maybe it makes sense given Oakshire—which today becomes the first-ever Eugene brewery to land a beer in our annual top 10 list—does things much the same way as they're done in a high-school chemistry class.
Head brewer Tyler West puts a bubbling mass of dry ice into the sealed brew kettles before adding Nancy's yogurt, then holds it at a very specific temperature for 24 hours.
"It really helps us purge out all the oxygen," he says. "When we were starting out, we realized there was a need to keep as much oxygen out at possible."
That attention to detail—and four pureed and juiced cucumbers per barrel—is how Oakshire's Sun Made Cucumber Berliner Weisse became the perfect beer of summer 2015.
A pale, tart wheat ale with a fizzy Champagne-like carbonation and a fleeting white head, the beer rode the nerve highway between your tongue and heart with reckless, melon-flavored abandon.
With a special blend of wheat and pale malts and a smattering of a new variety of "really bitchin'" German hops renowned for their cantaloupelike flavors, the beer is perfectly fruity, light and thirst-quenching.
Among those who got a taste of one of the two batches the brewery produced, we're probably not alone in wishing for a swimming pool full of it.
More traditional German Berliner Weisse has historically evoked equally passionate responses. When faced with a tart, Southern German wheat beer during his time there, Napoleon famously called the thirst-quenching brew the "Champagne of the North."
For West, who was initially skeptical about brewing with cucumbers, the first batch was a revelation in a glass.
"About three to four days into the bright tank it became clear," he says, "that this thing was going to be something worth talking about."
And as the brewery continues to develop new flavors to infuse with its increasingly noteworthy sour and wild ale program, Sun Made is a high-water mark West plans to revisit during this year's warmest months.
"I don't know how much, and I don't know when it's gonna be released," says the brewer, "but I know we're gonna be peeling cucumbers."