Oregon Breweries & Oregon Hop Growers Advocate for Clean Water & River Protections with Wild & Scenic Earth Day Collaboration Series


Oregon’s brewing community knows better than anyone that “Great beer starts with clean water!”

Right now, we have a huge opportunity to secure the largest expansion of river protections in Oregon history. This effort would protect watersheds, critical fish and wildlife habitat, carbon-storing forests, and world-class recreation opportunities — not to mention the #1 ingredient in every single beer! So Oregon’s brewing community is stepping up to show their support for this historic campaign by releasing a special Wild & Scenic Earth Day Collaboration Series during Earth Week!

Senator Wyden’s River Democracy Act proposes a bold expansion of new river protections across Oregon. This historic legislation calls for protecting over 3,200 miles of Oregon’s waterways as federally designated and protected Wild & Scenic Rivers. The River Democracy Act is the result of a groundbreaking grassroots river nomination process, multi-years of vetting, and the work of hundreds of activists and river enthusiasts advocating for their backyard rivers, drinking watersheds, fishing holes, hiking trails, kayak routes, and love of the wildlands and rivers of Oregon. Over 15,000 river nominations were received from the public. Additionally, over 50 Oregon breweries sent a letter to Senator Wyden voicing their strong support for protecting Oregon’s rivers, creeks, and streams.

To keep the momentum going and help advance this historic proposal, a half-dozen Oregon Brewshed Alliance partners are releasing Wild & Scenic Earth Day Collaboration Series beers during Earth Week in honor of their watersheds! Coleman Agriculture and Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) have generously donated Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe hops to participating breweries who in turn are brewing special beers to honor their respective brewsheds and raise awareness about the need to protect Oregon’s rivers.

Participating breweries are: pFriem Family Brewers, Sunriver Brewing Co., Deschutes Brewery, Cascade Lakes Brewing, Binary Brewing, and Leikam Brewing.

“From growing, to processing and brewing; I think the central importance of water across the beer industry is a really cool connection point we all share and can enthusiastically get behind. We are thrilled to be working in collaboration with YCH and the Brewshed Alliance along with several breweries on the Wild & Scenic Beer Series this year!” said Coleman Agriculture’s Program Manager Garrett Weaver.

“Seeing the snow-capped peaks just beyond the hop fields reminds us how lucky we are to have access to such pristine water. It is also a reminder that we have the responsibility to protect these river systems, not just for the next harvest but also for the next generation. We don’t just grow hops in the Pacific Northwest, we live and recreate here. Scenic and healthy waterways are an important part of our lives. We are thrilled to partner with our friends at Coleman Agriculture to support the environmental advocacy work of the Oregon Brewshed Alliance,” says Levi Wyatt, YCH’s manager of Corporate Social Responsibility.

“Supporting the passage of the River Democracy Act should be a top conservation priority for anyone who values clean water, outdoor recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, and Oregon’s amazing brewing community,” said Oregon Wild’s Sami Godlove.

About the Oregon Brewshed Alliance / Coleman Agriculture / Yakima Chief Hops

Launched by Oregon Wild in 2015, the Oregon Brewshed Alliance is a coalition of brewing businesses, brewing community partners, and conservationists who understand the value of clean water and protected forest watersheds. The Oregon Brewshed Alliance supports Oregon Wild’s conservation work to protect and restore the wild lands, wildlife, and waters that make our state a great place to live, work, and enjoy great beer. Great beer doesn’t start at the tap — great beer begins with clean water. Beer is over 90% water, after all, and that water is a product of the land that it flows through.

Coleman Agriculture has been a proud member of the Oregon Brewshed Alliance for the last five years. As hop growers, the Oregon watershed is crucial to our day-to-day operations. As a 6th generation family farm, maintaining the Oregon watershed is crucial to the sustainability of the farm for the next generation. We are hyper-conscious not only of the water we use for irrigation, but also the effect we have on the watersheds via our management practices. This is why we take measures to limit our water inputs via drip irrigation, minimize runoff and erosion with cover cropping and participate in sustainability certification programs such as Salmon Safe to limit our use of inputs that might negatively affect watersheds.

Hops require a significant amount of irrigation to grow, and the quality of that water directly affects the yield and health of the plants. Elevated alkalinity levels in irrigation water can lead to an increase in the soil pH, which can make certain nutrients like zinc, manganese, and iron less available for uptake. Coleman has experienced firsthand the need to treat irrigation water due to poor quality and understand the very real business and environmental costs associated. By designating more river coastlines as Wild & Scenic via the River Democracy Act, we protect our watershed from potential industry related contaminants that could compromise the water quality we depend on to grow our hops.

Yakima Chief Hops — Land use change and water availability are the greatest environmental risks facing the hop industry. Working in partnership with conservation organizations such as Oregon Wild, YCH is helping to invest in watershed protection and restoration programs in hop producing regions to ensure access to clean water for growers, brewers and recreationalists alike. These agroforestry efforts also benefit freshwater ecosystems as well as our communities. Since its inception in 1988, YCH has been rooted in environmental stewardship, with the firm understanding that healthy hops require healthy waterways. YCH values the opportunity to expand our reach by partnering with Oregon Wild on initiatives such as the River Democracy Act, which actively advocates on behalf of our local landscapes and stakeholders.

About the Watersheds & the Beers They Inspired

Hood River Brewshed — The West Fork Hood River and Cold Springs Creek (Tamanawas Falls) are two of the waterways in this brewshed that stand to gain new protections via the River Democracy Act.

pFriem + Oregon Wild IPA (7.0% abv, available on draft), pFriem Family Brewers – You can’t brew great beer without great water! This IPA was brewed in partnership with Oregon Wild to celebrate Earth Day, and features Salmon Safe malt from LINC Malting and experimental hops from the USDA public breeding program; all grown in the Pacific Northwest. The result is a bright, fruit-forward and citrusy IPA!

“We always say, “you need great water to make great beer”. We are lucky to live in a watershed abundant with beautiful, clean, crisp water. Water is the primary ingredient in beer, and all brewers should be obsessed with protecting this irreplaceable natural resource.”

~ Rudy Kellner, CEO, pFriem

Tumalo Creek / Bridge Creek Brewsheds – The namesake Tumalo Creek as well as the headwater streams like Bridge Creek are some of the waterways in this brewshed that stand to gain new protections via the River Democracy Act.

Bridge Creek Brown IPA (6.3% abv, draft in Bend tasting room), Deschutes Brewery — Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe hops bring citrus and pine notes to balance a sturdy malt backbone with notes of caramel and dried fruit.

“Our amazing watershed in Bend is one of the biggest reasons that our city is home to so many top-quality breweries. Our water is pristine, making it ideal for brewing. The importance of protecting this precious resource goes well beyond making great beer, but it’s also one aspect that I appreciate.”

~ Robin Johnson, Head-brewer, Deschutes Public House

Cascade Earth IPA (7.0%, available in draft at Bend & Redmond pubs), Cascade Lakes Brewing – A light, approachable malt body punctuated by the fruity dankness of Simcoe hops!

“Clean water is essential for life. Clean water is also essential for excellent beer. Some of us would argue that excellent beer is essential to an excellent life. Let’s all work together for clean water.”

~ Ryan Schmiege, Cascade Lakes Brewmaster

Upper Deschutes Brewshed — Fall River and key tributaries of the iconic Metolius River both stand to gain new protections via the River Democracy Act.

Alluvial IPA (7.0%, on draft & in cans at their pubs), Sunriver Brewing Co. – Alluvial is a collaborative IPA brewed with Oregon Wild, along with our friends at Coleman Agriculture and Yakima Chief Hops. Hopped exclusively with Oregon-grown hops sourced directly from Coleman’s fields, this beer features the brightest varieties available to a brewer. Alluvial throws big notes of mixed berries, candied grapefruit, evergreen, and passionfruit.

“At Sunriver Brewing Company we pride ourselves on the quality and consistency of our beer. A big part of that profile comes from our water sources in the Upper Deschutes watershed. As a brewer, once you’ve experienced brewing with water from a high-quality watershed, you’ll never again take your water for granted. In my opinion, it’s the single most important ingredient in making great beer.”

~ Brett Thomas, Sunriver Brewing Director of Brewing Operations

Tualatin River Brewshed — Critical drinking watershed for the community of Beaverton

R.I. / Riparian Intelligence IPA (6.0%, draft), Binary Brewing – Riparian Intelligence is a modern West Coast IPA. With just the right amount of bitterness and lots of late hop additions to accentuate the aromas and flavors of the Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe hops, R.I. is a drinkable refreshing quaff to celebrate the coming of warmer weather and the Tualatin River.

Bull Run Brewshed — Oregon Wild and partners helped to increase protections for Portland’s drinking water in 1996 and further protected it in 2001.

Third Stone From the Sun Pale Ale (6.0%, draft & cans), Leikam Brewing – A hoppy pale ale with Mosaic, Citra and Simcoe hops.

“Clean Water = Good Beer. We know Bull Run is the best watershed in Oregon and makes the best beer.”

~ Sonia Marie Leikam, Owner Leikam Brewing



About Author

Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. CascadeBusNews.com • CBN@CascadeBusNews.com

Leave A Reply