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Like many residents of of Odessa, Zach Schafer is a descendant of the Germans who’ve farmed wheat outside the small town for a century. So when his father decided to start a brewing operation after retiring, he wanted his ales to reflect his roots. Schafer, who took over managing Rocky Coulee Brewing when not helping out with the farm, steers clear of the hop-heavy brews common in the Northwest, instead of churning out distinct wheat-based, German-style ales. The brewery makes a blonde using honey from bees produced from fireweed. Considered the “champagne of honey” by beekeepers, it gives the ale a smooth sweetness and higher alcohol content. Rocky Coulee also makes other relatively unique libations, including a cream ale and a Dunkelweizen, a German-style ale made from dark wheat and bavarian hops that’s surprisingly light for its color.

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