Deschutes Brewery

Right about this time every year, quite a few very cool specialty releases arrive on short notice and vanish even faster. Hopefully you'll still be able to hunt some of these bottles down. A lot of them sell quickly, but don't be surprised if they turn up in cellar sales or on some of Seattle's finer bars' bottle lists pretty much any time between now and 2024.

First off, there's Deschutes's Mirror Mirror barleywine, which is an 11.2 percent double-strength and oak-aged batch of their staple Mirror Pond Pale Ale, not unlike what Firestone Walker does to make their fantastic (and somewhat more readily available) Double Barrel Ale. Like many of Deschutes's bigger beers, it features a convenient "best by" date marked a year from the brewing date, as a year or two of age can help these beers' very high alcohol content mellow out and bring out more defined flavors in what can at first seem like a mess of heat and sweetness. Even though the brewery has released Mirror Mirror only twice before, in 2005 and 2009, Deschutes makes a lot of beer, so it's not (yet) impossible to come by.

Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, out of Hood River and founded by David Logsdon—who also launched Wyeast Labs in 1985, helping define many of the flavors of American craft beer—is one of the most-hyped young breweries in the Pacific Northwest. Their Kili Wit—a little tart but not sour, perfectly thin, and endlessly refreshing—is one of the few American Belgian-inspired wheat beers that I can enthusiastically recommend. Their take on the saison style, released as Seizoen, Seizoen Bretta (an earthy, funky, Brettanomyces-forward saison), and Oak Aged Bretta (see previous, add oak), is generally great, but their most sought-after product is Peche 'n Brett, which takes Oak Aged Bretta one step further by adding local peaches, giving it an added sourness and an extra (but well-hidden) alcohol kick in a very fruit-forward but not sweet beer. If you can find it, grab as much as you can.

Though barrel aging has become standard practice in many beer scenes, tequila barrels tend to be utilized way less than those that once housed whiskey or wines. This is starting to change, though, as in the Lost Abbey's 15th anniversary beer for Wallingford staple Bottleworks. The beer is a blend of brandy-aged Angel's Share (a massive strong ale that truly doesn't taste like anything else), tequila-aged Agave Maria (a strong brown ale), and bourbon-aged Judgment Day (a raisin-aged quadrupel). It's huge and, surprisingly, still not too hard to come by, but don't expect it to stay available for long. recommended