Nestled in Newberg, Oregon is the state’s only farmhouse brewery—Wolves & People. The dream-come-true of Christian DeBenedetti, the brewery is a culmination of several facets of his life, including his family’s background in the hazelnut industry.
Christian’s parents started farming in the Newberg area in the late 1960s, taking over a hazelnut orchard that had been in production since the 1920s. They processed and shipped the nuts from their own barn—the same barn that’s now home to Wolves & People.
After Christian graduated college, he traveled the world and collected the skills that would pay dividends in founding his own brewery. He attended Whitman College, and it was during these university days that he made his first attempts at home brewing. Following his graduation, he visited Europe and studied beer making. The influences from this tour still manifest themselves in the varieties made by Wolves & People.
Christian returned to Newberg in 2011 and began laying the groundwork for the brewery. The beloved barn from his childhood would become the home base. They renovated the hundred-year-old structure and installed the brewing set up and in May 2016, Wolves & People opened for business.
One of the first beers on the tap list can be attributed back to the hazelnut heritage of the farm. La Truffe is a hazelnut truffle beer, brewed with hazelnuts from the family farm and locally sourced white truffles. The beer made its debut at a local truffle festival and has since gone on to be an annual seasonal favorite in late winter and early spring.
Next, the iconic pairing of hazelnuts and chocolate made its way to the pint glass. Christian now makes Nut Farm, a beer brewed with hazelnuts and cacao nibs handpicked from a chocolatier in Portland. The beer has become a favorite during the fall and winter months. However, the brewery plans to can Nut Farm and make it available year-round at select grocery stores and bottle shops.
As for the popularity of hazelnut beers and why people are drawn to them, Christian credits the rich, warm taste of hazelnuts. The nutty flavor is familiar, and the bold hazelnut flavor works well with the malts to give the beers a distinct taste.
To check out the full Wolves & People tap list and hours, visit https://www.wolvesandpeople.com/.