It’s that time of year again! The Elakha Alliance is hosting their second annual Oregon Otter Beer Festival at OMSI on April 15th.
The Elakha Alliance is a non-profit organization committed to returning sea otters to the Oregon coast. Once upon a time, not too long ago, Oregon’s coasts and kelp forests were home to a thriving population of sea otters. Poaching and habitat destruction have driven the otters to local extinction.
Sea otters are fundamentally important to the health of our marine ecosystems. Without this keystone species, Oregon’s kelp forests have suffered greatly in recent decades. Urchin populations have grown exponentially and have destroyed swaths of kelp forests. Without the kelp forests, thousands of other environmentally and economically important marine species have begun to suffer. Returning sea otters to the Oregon coast is an urgent and pressing matter – they keep urchin populations under control and, in turn, protect the kelp forests. The Elakha Alliance has been working diligently to bring back our fuzzy friends to the coast.
So, how are we at 7 Devils helping the cause? By brewing beer, of course! Every year the Elakha Alliance hosts a beer festival for any brewery to participate in. This year, thirteen breweries from Oregon and Idaho have submitted otter-themed beers and will be donating a portion of the proceeds to the Elakha Alliance. The festival is held at OMSI in Portland, where guests can taste all of these fun beers. A friendly competition is held between the breweries to see who can make the best beer. Last year, we won the award for best artwork! Thanks again to Arusha Dittmer for the beautiful artwork for this beer – you can check out the original piece at the Waterfront Alehouse!
The beer we made is called the Elakha Ale. It is an English-style brown Ale with roasted dulse (edible seaweed) and sea salt. This year we made a beer similar to last year’s Elakha Ale, with a couple of fun changes. We’ve still used maris otter malt, and chinook hops (another nod to a critically important species in our marine ecosystem and coastal culture), but instead of using fresh dulse, we used roasted dulse and a pinch of sea salt to enhance the coastal nuance of this beer. The result is a layered, malt forward beer with a hint of savoriness we think you’ll enjoy! The Elakha Ale will be available on tap and in bottles at both of our locations. We will be donating 10% of gross sales to the Elakha Alliance, so every pint you drink is going to help this important cause!
We wanted to thank Oregon Seaweed for growing the dulse we used for the beer. Their growing operation in Bandon OR is a sight to behold – check it out if you’re ever in the area!
The health of our coastal ecosystems is constantly in peril. It is our duty as stewards of this coast to do whatever we can to protect and preserve this place we hold so dear. Many people in our community rely on the ocean for their livelihoods. By helping restore the sea otters to their natural home we can ensure that our current and future generations will have a more sustainable and vibrant coast to call home. Cheers!