By Patty Mamula
For the Oregon Beer Growler
An ambitious startup craft brewery plans to open two locations in two different cities in March. Founder and brewer Jeremy Turner clearly aspires to live up to the mantra: “Go big or go home.”
Ancestry Brewing is a family business started by Turner and his father Gerald Turner with essential support from industry leader Al Triplett. The branding and marketing focus on a family tree of beers and the anchor logo recognizes the Turner family’s naval service.
The brewery and flagship location in Tualatin at 20585 SW 115th Ave., directly off Southwest Tualatin-Sherwood Road, is a 7,200-square-foot, brand new warehouse space. With most of the construction delays and speed bumps behind them, the founders anticipate opening in March.
For several years now, Turner and his father have been interested in starting a family business. Since Turner, an Oregon State University graduate in chemistry and biochemistry, has been homebrewing for more than 13 years, a brewery seemed like the logical business to get into. His day jobs at Hewlett-Packard and, most recently, the Portland Venture Group, combined with some brewing experience at Kulshan Brewing Co. in Washington, convinced him that a brewery was in the family’s future. But nothing was coming together until they met Al Triplett, a 24-year brewing veteran with Redhook.
“He blew the doors wide open for us,” said Turner. Triplett, now an equity member of the Ancestry team, helped secure hop contracts, which will be in place through 2020, and connected them with other essential suppliers and industry leaders.
“We identified this bare warehouse space in November of 2014. We wanted a suburban location and this Tualatin place was ideal,” explained Turner.
They went to work prepping the space — just a bare rectangle with a dirt floor. They even had to put in a wall dividing it from the adjoining auto business. With the usual paperwork and contract delays, it took until this June to complete the main infrastructure.
The 10-barrel, state-of-the-art system from JV Northwest — including six fermentation and two brite tanks with all the shiny bells and whistles, costing more than $500,000 — was installed in July.
“We finalized all our OLCC papers in October,” said Turner, “ and we’ve been brewing since then.”
Up until then, they had been testing and experimenting with the recipes. They worked with John I. Haas, Inc., the largest hop operation in the world, and used their innovation center in Yakima, Wash. to test out several of Turner’s homebrew recipes. They brewed up pilot batches and did blind tastings with 20-100 people, pairing Ancestry’s brews against industry-leading beers. Since then, they’ve also done guest tap tastings at Hop N Cork in Lake Oswego and the Platypus Pub in Bend.
“We built extra time into our business plan to test everything out,” said Turner.
They plan to have 12-14 of their beers on tap, plus cider and perhaps root beer and wine. To start, the beers will be identified by type — IPA, ale, ESB, stout and Belgians. They will be listed on Ancestry’s family tree of beers with three different pillars for American-style beers, British Isles beers and Continental European beers. “The actual names will come from our customer reviews and feedback,” said Turner.
He will be joined by brewer Trevor Lauman, who favors British-style beers, such as porters and stouts, which he describes as more balanced and malty. “I want to bring back a couple different styles,” he said, “including British mild.” He proudly served me a sample of the mild with its distinct hazelnut taste achieved without the use of hazelnut extract.
Lauman, also an accomplished homebrewer, returned to school several years ago to study computer science, but quickly switched to fermentation science at OSU. While completing that program, he gained experience at Ninkasi in Eugene and Feckin in Oregon City. He joined Ancestry in July and, like the entire team, looks forward to the official opening. But preparation for that day has meant working numerous 15-16 hour days.
The tentative brewing plans call for around 1,500 barrels of production the first year and 2,200 the second, with brewing happening two or three times a week and double brews every two weeks. Since one barrel of beer equals 31 gallons or 320, 12-ounce bottles — that’s a good amount of beer.
The crisp navy-and-white logo, created by Portland-based Nemo Design, is everywhere — on their growlers, on the lid of the tanks, on all the growler labels, the glasses, tasters and kegs. The brewery’s interior, while industrial, is airy and bright with plenty of natural light. The windows and outdoor space overlook a natural wetland. A rustic wood bar will offset the custom wallpaper of enlarged maps from Limerick, Ireland, a nod to the Turner family’s roots. The shiny, new brewhouse and cold storage facility are adjacent and open to the taproom, yet still separate from it.
Ancestry will sell traditional growlers and bottled beer to go along with prefilled, pressurized growlers in 16, 32 and 64 ounces. Their bottling machine can handle 12-ounce bottles and 750-milliliter barrel-aged bottles. PDX Sliders will be the food partner at both locations, and their staff will handle all the kitchen responsibilities. The award-winning food cart has come out on top at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s “Eat Mobile” competition two years in a row.
Ancestry’s second location in Portland’s Sellwood neighborhood is on the Springwater Corridor at 8268 SE 13th Ave., which is handy for bikers. Its outdoor service area will have a bike-up growler fill with two large sliding doors to the outside. The taproom and kitchen, on the ground floor of a new apartment complex, will be about 1,300 square feet.
Imran Haider, a longtime friend of Turner’s who teaches at OSU, will assist with management responsibilities, and Mel Long, who has extensive experience as a beer distributor, will be the cellar manager.
Turner said they had initially hoped to open both locations at the same time and then kept going back and forth about opening dates. As it stands now, they plan to open the Tualatin location first, followed by Sellwood a week or so later. Check the Ancestry website for updates.
Shaun Kalis, founder of Ruse Brewing, has a temporary home at Culmination Brewing. He met Culmination owner Tomas Sluiter at Old Market Pub & Brewery. A trust developed and Kalis found himself in a unique situation: he’s part of the Culmination team and uses that system for Ruse between production times. Photo by Kris McDowell
By Kris McDowell
For the Oregon Beer Growler
By definition a "ruse" is a trick or an act that is used to fool someone, according to Merriam-Webster. In some cases, there is malicious intent behind it. In other cases, like with M.C. Escher's impossible constructions, it is a way to play with the mind. In the case of Ruse Brewing, one of the newest to debut on the Portland brewing scene, it speaks to the mystery of the word and is a drinkable expression.
Shaun Kalis is the founder of Ruse, a transplant from Michigan whose resume includes six years at Old Market Pub & Brewery as well as stints at Cascade Brewing Barrel House and Two Kilts Brewing Co. which bookended an education at the American Brewers Guild. Like many, he remembers the beer that opened his eyes to what beer could be beyond the yellow, fizzy swill he had previously known -- a stout from Michigan-based Bell's Brewery, Inc. Known for the vast number of stouts they produce, it's no wonder that the beer had such an impact on the young Shaun and was part of what drove him to begin down the brewing path. What started as homebrewing, and self-described as "minimalist" at that, evolved into something much greater after his relocation to Portland.
The location of that move was somewhat of a random decision based on his desire to get into brewing. And while multiple cities would have sufficed, he could not have landed in a better location than Portland. Not only does the area have an incredible brewing culture, but it has the added bonus of a vibrant live music scene. Although he’s played since he was a kid, Shaun got more serious about music as an adult — taking the time for lessons and then using his skills as a guitar player in a Portland bluegrass band.
When developing the concept for Ruse Brewing, Shaun knew he would incorporate music as he feels it parallels brewing in that a song is written to speak to a particular feeling and experience in the same way that brewing a beer, for him, is speaking to something. Ultimately, Shaun would like to have a brewery/music venue where he can work with artists and musicians to create beers. In the meantime, he has found a fortunate situation and temporary home at Culmination Brewing. Shaun met and worked under Culmination founder Tomas Sluiter at Old Market and their relationship has deepened as Shaun's brewing has evolved. Rooted in their time together at Old Market is a trust that has allowed Shaun to step into a very unique situation: he is both part of the Culmination brewing team as well as an independent brewer utilizing the Culmination system between production times. As collegial as the relationship is, there are designated spaces within the Culmination facility for ingredient, empty keg and cooler storage of beers as well as a 10-barrel fermenter Shaun owns. For anyone that has experienced living with a roommate, allowing someone to have intimate access into one's personal space requires trust and communication. That is taken to a higher level when that sharing of space is in the place that houses one's livelihood and is something that speaks to Shaun's integrity as a person and competency as a brewer.
So what about the beer that Shaun is making? To begin, his year-round offerings will be Translator IPA, a citrus-forward beer with a soft mouthfeel from an English yeast, and Architect Saison, an approachable, session beer (4.8% ABV) that is dry and light in body. He wants to focus on fewer styles out of the gate so that he can be more creative with them. In addition, Shaun is adamant about quality control and committed to dumping out anything that doesn't meet his standards. As part of his role with Culmination, he is also taking over the brewery’s quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC).
Year-round beers may be a solid foundation for any brewery, but it's often the one-off and seasonal beers where brewers really get to have fun. For Shaun that fun is creating barrel-aged beers, saying "something about the oak is so romantic." At first blush, delving into barrel-aging so early on might sound limiting, but as Shaun explains it, "it gives me a buffer — time to focus on the IPA and the saison."
He anticipates the barrel-aged beers will sit for at least nine months, only being released when they're ready and if they meet his standards. The barrels he's sourced, to date, are pinot noir and Burgundy barrels from Walter Scott Wines in the Willamette Valley and spirit barrels from McMenamins and Bull Run Distilling Company. Shaun's first two barrel-aged beers will be MultiBeast and Red Saison. MultiBeast uses Ruse's own Brettanomyces strain (banked at Imperial Organic Yeast) and is dry hopped with Mosaic. Nearly ready, Shaun may debut it at Saraveza's Farmhouse and Wild Beer Festival in March, in addition to bottling it. The Red Saison won't be ready for months as it just went into barrels in December 2015, but a young sample of it shows great promise, displaying a pleasing licorice aroma with hints of leather and oak in the smooth, saison flavor.
Those looking to try out Ruse Brewing for themselves need not look far, starting with the taproom at Culmination where at least one of his beers will be part of the lineup on an ongoing basis. Beyond his home base, the new management at Great Notion (formerly Mash Tun) in Northeast Portland took a shine to Ruse, buying the first available keg in December 2015. And as a 10-year veteran of McMenamins (in a non-brewing capacity), his connections there ensured that beer can be found at some of their locations, including the Market Street Pub near Portland State University. Going beyond beer-centric spots, he's started the process to get both his IPA and Saison into Bamboo Sushi locations. He plans to be in 10-12 businesses around Portland and will be bottling the IPA and saison in 22-ounce bottles in the near future. His barrel-aged beers will be available in a 500-milliliter format.
By Kirby Neumann-Rea
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Ed Wilder is fighting, and a little mad.
“I had a stroke,” Ed says, splaying the fingers on his left hand across his face and flashing a look of frustration.
Ed is the owner and founder of DaBrewshop/Hood River Brewers Supply, which quickly became a small slice of ale haven where folks in the Gorge could find Northwest one-offs and obscure Belgians. But DaBrewshop, where Ed held court at the bar with locals, has gone dark — for now. In November 2015, Ed suffered a stroke. He was actually found 30 hours later on the basement floor of his business. Fortunately, he survived. And despite the long road to recovery that lies ahead of him, he has the support of a slew of people. Brewers, restauranteurs and friends immediately began fundraising to help with Ed’s medical bills. A “Cheers to Ed” silent auction and dance took place in December 2015. The following month, a larger party called “EdStravaganza” was held on Ed’s birthday. Plenty of money has been raised, but Ed’s supporters declined to cite a figure.
“It’s remarkable — truly inspiring how generous this community has been,” said Matt Johnston of Boda’s Kitchen in Hood River, one of the people organizing Cheers to Ed benefits. “Ed’s needs are great and going to be great for some time to come.”
“It’s phenomenal how everyone has come together,” said Ed’s brother, Mike, of Grand Rapids, Mich. “Every time I thought things couldn’t become more pleasant, more things happened to show how generous the community is.” At the first Cheers to Ed event, Mike told the crowd of 500: “You are his family.”
Ed founded Hood River Brewers Supply in 1997 in Hood River’s Heights Business District. He then moved the business downtown to the corner of Cascade Avenue and Second Street in 2001. He’s sold tobacco and smoking supplies, motor scooters and other products for years, but focused on the taproom starting in 2013. Ed made the bar by hand and expanded the taps from eight to 16. The taproom is the sort of place where time spent talking about the hockey and car racing on TV is split between discussions on grain bills and kettle capacities. He runs the brewing supply shop from the building’s basement, where he also homebrews.
Ed’s regained enough of his motor skills to make limited outings to favorite Hood River pubs, but he spends most of his time doing the hard work of getting better. Much of January was spent in physical therapy at the Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles. Ed is proud of the progress he has made. When asked how his therapy has gone, he says “A-OK,” while giving the corresponding gesture with his left hand as the right is experiencing mobility issues.
Ed’s goal is to return to his own home and reopen the shop. The details are still being worked out according to his brother Mike.
“There are plenty of options; we just have to find the best one,” Mike said. “There are a lot of pieces that need to come together. For him to stay at his existing home, it will take some time — possibly it would be some intermediate facility until this is complete or another residence is secured,” he said. “Wherever it is, it will be the best possible one for making him comfortable and to meet his rehabilitative needs.”
As for DaBrewshop, Mike said, “My goal has been to get that place open and serving beer as quickly as possible.” He is in contact with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission licensing specialist, but said “it’s a lot harder than we originally hoped,” to maintain the license since Ed is legally accountable.
Even though Ed isn’t physically at DaBrewshop, he’s not far from the business he loves. An administrator named Lisa at The Dalles medical center reintroduced herself to Ed in his recovery room. It turns out they’d met before.
“I came to your shop. You taught me to make currant wine and beer, and I’m working on my meadery,” she tells him.
Ed remembered helping her, and thanked her.
He indicated he had enjoyed his recent pub outings to Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River and Solera Brewery in Parkdale.
He’s asked: “Were you able to try some beer? Is that part of your diet?”
He gives a thumbs up and puts two fingers close together.
Donations for Ed Wilder can be sent to attorney Teunis G. Wyers, 216 Columbia St., Hood River. Funds beyond Ed’s needs will be used for another local cause, at Mike’s request.
By Gail Oberst
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Gold Beach was named for the bonanza of gold found at the mouth of the Rogue River in the 1800s.
But now there’s a different source of gold in town. Arch Rock Brewing Company’s multiple gold medals have put a new sparkle in this scenic Southern Oregon coastal village. Since it opened three years ago, Arch Rock’s Gold Beach Lager has won prestigious gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival and at the North American Beer Awards, as well as gold for its State of Jefferson Porter, also at the NABA. Additionally, the brewery was featured in a Cosmopolitan magazine article titled “Best Places for a Quickie,” referring to drinks, not the other kind.
Owners of the brewery, Larry and Marjie Brennan, and their production team, Kristen and James Smith, have filled the Brennan’s former cabinet shop with three 30-barrel fermenters, a 30-barrel brite tank, and a 15-barrel brewhouse. Since the unexpected accolades two years ago, brewer Smith said production has skyrocketed.
“People started taking us seriously,” Smith said. “Medals sure help to get your name out. The brewery is self-distributed for the most part in Southern Oregon, but also at a few bars and bottle shops in Portland. For the Cosmo-style “Quickie” experience, visit the brewery a mile or so off Highway 101, at 28779 Hunter Creek Loop, Gold Beach. In a small alcove with a window to the brewery, visitors can taste what’s on tap. Growlers are also filled onsite.
For those who want to sip Arch Rock suds in the comfort of a country bar, Hunter Creek Bar & Grill next door carries Arch Rock’s lineup.
How did this wilderness shop become an award-winning brewery so quickly? Smith claims it is luck, but three-peats prove it is his talent.
Raised in a relatively liberal Utah Mormon family, James started homebrewing in 1999. He joined the ranks of Uinta Brewing’s crew and eventually began brewing for them. Everything changed in 2009, the year James met and fell in love with Kristen, a Grand Teton Brewing Company employee, at the Great American Beer Festival. He followed her to Idaho’s Grand Teton Brewing, taking a job as a cellarman there. Within a few years, they started scouting out a small-town brewery they could run together.
At the same time, Larry and Marjie Brennan were looking for a better use of their cabinet shop space and had settled on a brewery. Together, the two couples hit gold -- medals, that is — within a year of opening.
“We’re both used to remote areas,” said Smith. “We wanted to be in a small town. This is perfect for us.” Kristen was born and raised in Michigan.
Today, the two couples run the business with help from a delivery driver. In 2014, Arch Rock sold 845 barrels. Last year, capacity expanded to 1,800 barrels.
Visitors to the brewery are welcome 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, visit their web page, archrockbrewingcompany.com or call 541-247-0555.
Josh and Annie Pfriem are preparing to expand their family brewery to the rest of the 20,000-square-foot Halyard Building in Hood River. The move brings extra stress and long hours, but finding time for themselves, along with a foundation of friendship, helps keep their relationship strong. Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
By Kirby Neumann-Rea
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Few beer names are worth a battle royal for trademark infringement, but you couldn’t blame Josh and Annie Pfriem for going to court if they really wanted to dub a beer “Headlamp.” It’s a name used by at least three American breweries. But there likely won’t be any legal battles anytime soon — the owners of pFriem Family Brewers in Hood River gravitate toward more traditional names rather than relying on puns, places or physical objects.
But if they did go another route, “Headlamp” should be theirs by any romantic right.
Their love started with beer and a headlamp-lit glacier and it continued to grow while helping develop two breweries. Now with a family and a business — a brewery of their own that focuses on Belgian-style beers and brings home numerous awards — life is more complex, perhaps. But it’s also more rewarding. However, their relationship didn’t start out on such strong footing.
The two worked together as ski guides in British Columbia, Canada and when they met, “We really clashed,” said Josh, now 35. “I was arrogant and young and she was loud and emotional.”
Annie confirmed the description and added, “We were really young and I had broken up with my college boyfriend, and I was like, ‘I don’t need you.’”
The guide work was “a couple-year commitment, and it was a tight-knit group of like-minded folks,” Josh explained. “And we were friends for the first couple of years we knew each other, but at the start we actually didn’t like each other.”
A mutual dislike gave way after a beer recommendation.
“That first summer, we kept away from each other. But when we came back to the U.S. we hit Boundary Bay in Bellingham,” said Josh.
“His hometown brewery, you know?” Annie interjected while elbowing Josh.
“And Annie and I happen to sit next to each other and she was having trouble deciding what to drink, and I said, ‘Do you need a beer recommendation?’”
"'Even though I drink craft beer," Annie said.
“But she was stuck,” Josh said.
So Josh recommended a Blonde ale. She liked it, and that led to talking about skiing, and coming out that winter to snowboard at Mount Baker.
"And that's when our friendship took off and it led to a relationship," Josh said.
Shortly after they started dating, the first mountain they summited together was Sahale Mountain in northern Washington. But as they descended in the dark, that’s when the headlamp entered the picture: Annie’s broke, requiring her to follow behind Josh.
“It was an epic day and we learned later that both of us thought later on, ‘If we ever have a little girl, Sahale would be a pretty awesome name,’” said Josh.
Their first child, daughter Sahale, is now 10. The couple also have 6-year-old son Watou, named for a beer center in Belgium. Their other child, the brewery, was conceived at least 10 years ago when Annie and Josh realized their mutual fondness for the craft.
“I'd get home from brewing, and fire up the homebrewing, trying recipes,” Josh said. “pFriem Brewery was the plan all along, and Annie’s been part of the process from day one; together we're talking, visiting places — including Belgium -- building a vision of what we wanted to have happen.”
Today, “our employees love to see us working together,” Josh said. As they sit next to each other in the brewery’s cozy upper room, decorated by Annie and termed “The Library,” something sparkles as clear as a pFriem pilsner — their mutual willingness to tease and be teased, and that they can seamlessly finish each other’s thoughts.
“When we're here in the office and Annie gets too loud and I tell her to ‘Be quiet, it’s very not corporate,’” he said. “We go to beer events together and people see us as a couple, it shows more and more of what we're trying to do here at pFriem.
“I’m soft at heart but pretty go-go-go during my day to get things done, and Annie's pretty good at letting people know the softer side — when they need the Mama when Papa's a little too gruff.”
In fact, in the early part of their marriage, Josh took to calling Annie “Brew Mama.” It’s a nickname she puts on her business card and illustrates some of her chief brewery roles — ensuring “the touch and feel” of place, making sure the customers are comfortable and the atmosphere is family-like. She’s also in charge of donations and community outreach while assisting with the business’ social media presence. “But touch and feel is the little things you see around pFriem that you don’t necessarily see in restaurants or, more specifically, breweries.”
Of course, with success comes new challenges. This year, pFriem is planning to take over the rest of the 20,000-square-foot Halyard Building, which is owned by the Port of Hood River. That will provide more space for storage, fermenting, bottling and the office. While stress and long hours accompany any expansion, creating something together has its rewards as well.
Josh adds, “It’s really romantic that we're building something together. It’s like raising children, there's a romance to that."
How are beer and romance connected? “It gives an opportunity for love and joy,” Josh answered.
Annie was more to the point: “Beer is sexy,” she laughed.
As busy as they are with running a burgeoning business, they manage to find time for themselves and family.
“We have little breaks, and our kids have grown up in the mountains — between skiing and biking and camping and nowadays we mountain bike quite a bit,” Josh said. “That’s another way we connect outside the brewery. We try to get out on mountain bike dates, rather than going out to dinner. Since we do so much for events, we try to do non-beer things. But there's usually a beer at the end.”
Referring back to the origin of their relationship, Josh said that “we were definitely just friends for a long time, which has helped these times — some of them hard when you have the brewery and this business and the children,” he said. “We have this cement foundation of friendship.”
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.