Wolves & People

30203 NE Benjamin Road, Newberg, 487-6873, wolvesandpeople.com. Tasting room will open to the public starting late spring.

I'll start with a caveat: Wolves & People was not yet open for a visit when I made the 20-minute drive down to the edge of wine country. But founder Christian DeBenedetti's résumé and the samples he poured were of such outstanding quality we could not in good conscience leave it out of this year's guide. DeBenedetti is a renowned beer writer whose work has appeared everywhere from The New Yorker to GQ to National Geographic Adventure. When he finally decided to open his own shop, he moved it into the old hazelnut barn where he played as a child on the family farm. The project has been slow—we had expected it to open by this time last year—but steady. The samples I tried were made with the farm's well water, yeast propagated from fruit trees on the property, and fresh Willamette Valley fruit. The flagship is likely to be a saison, but it's the special releases blended from mixed fermentations that will turn the state's beer scene on its ear.

Drink This: Whatever you can get, as soon as you can get it.

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