By Patty Mamula
For the Oregon Beer Growler
It’s hard to believe, but true. There are still a few places in Oregon where craft beer is NOT king. Albany, sandwiched between Corvallis and Salem, is one of those places. Not exactly a craft beer desert (Calapooia Brewing and Deluxe Brewing Company are both located in Albany) — but close when compared to other cities that boast at least half-a-dozen breweries.
Enter Vagabond Brewing from Salem. When the opportunity arose to take over a former growler fill station next to Albany’s Heritage Mall, Vagabond jumped on it. Vagabond Brewing Outpost, a cozy sports pub, held its grand opening March 31. Located at 14th Avenue SE in Albany, it’s in a prime spot right off the city’s busiest street. “We have all the business on this end of town,” said Vagabond co-founder Dean Howes.
Vagabond Brewery, on Salem’s north side, celebrated its three year anniversary in February. The founders are James Cardwell, Alvin Klausen and Howes — three Marines who served multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq and traveled all over the globe once they completed their service. “We developed a passion for beer and wanted to figure out something to do together,” said Howes.
They decided to capitalize on that passion and start a brewery named Vagabond. “We zeroed in on Salem. There wasn’t much happening here for beer,” said Howes. They wrote a business plan and scraped together enough capital to qualify for and secure a Small Business Administration loan. “We brewed with anyone who would give us the time of day — Gigantic, Breakside, McMenamins in Salem and several others. This industry is incredibly accommodating, “he said.
Their beers will be featured front and center at the Vagabond Brewing Outpost. Ten of the taps will be Vagabond’s and the other 20 pour guest beer and cider, with an emphasis on local products. Vagabond’s lineup is American, mostly Northwest styles. Their best-selling beer is a hop-heavy IPA called Attack Owl. It’s named for some local birds that began attacking people in a Salem park. The owl attacks made the national news and so did the beer. Howes said, “At one point, people were buying it as fast as we could make it.” Naturally, when Rachel Maddow mentioned it on her show, they sent her some samples.
Vagabond, which made 50 different beers last year, also plans on adding a 20-barrel lagering tank in order to make larger batches. Some of that increased capacity will surely be due to the traffic in Albany. The Outpost, which seats 60 inside and offers outdoor accommodations, features a new bar that was built by the three partners. In fact, the three did much of the construction work on the new location. Although the pub has a kitchen, the focus for the immediate future will be on beer.
Klausen and Howes plan to manage the Outpost and work the bar so they can get a handle on it and work out any kinks as they come up. During that time, they’ll launch the search for a manager.
Growth has been steady for this trio of Marines turned brewery owners. Last year, Vagabond opened the Victory Club in downtown Salem. Located between Commercial and Liberty Streets NE, it has a retro, speakeasy feel. The brewery itself is undergoing a 2,000-square-foot expansion. In the fall, a new 10-barrel brewhouse from JV Northwest will replace the current 3.5-barrel system. Vagabond produced 700 barrels last year, and with the new system capacity will increase to 2,500.
2195 14th Ave. SE #103, Albany
Laura Bryngelson, CEO of Calapooia Brewing in Albany, may not get all of the fame and glory normally associated with brewers in the industry, but her role is just as critical. In addition to running the business, Bryngelson works as a software programmer and is the primary caretaker of her family’s household. Photo by Erica Tiffany-Brown
By Erica Tiffany-Brown
Of the Oregon Beer Growler
It’s no secret that brewers are basically the rock stars of the beer industry. Just like meeting the musician who sings your favorite song, meeting the brewer who makes your favorite beer can be quite the pivotal moment for a beer fan. They’re the ones who, albeit with slightly less fabulous hair and a lack of leather pants, seem to gain most of the recognition at a brewery.
The owners, much like the manager of a band, don’t really get as much acknowledgment as they should for being the glue that holds it all together. However, at Calapooia Brewing in Albany, a true triple threat walks among us.
Laura Bryngelson co-owns Calapooia with her husband Mark Martin, but she holds the official title of CEO. She may not be one of the brewers, but combined with working at least 20 to 25 hours at Calapooia each week (not including festivals and special events), she works 20 hours as a software programmer, which is, ironically, another male-dominated industry. Bryngelson somehow manages to balance these two jobs while also being the primary caretaker of the house and the coach of her daughter’s volleyball team.
“Just being able to juggle all this … I don’t want to be sexist, but I know for sure my husband could not do it,” she says with a laugh.
While a woman running a business may not seem as glamorous as a woman who brews, both should be given admiration in their own right.
“The women who have worked up to be a brewer in this industry have really just done it against the odds, so I really respect that.”
Bryngelson thinks very highly of brewers, whether women or men, but is “envious as hell” of them for being the rock stars of the industry.
“No one wants to meet the person who filled out all the paperwork to make the OLCC and ATF happy. There are no "Meet the HR/accounts payable/accounts receivable/compliance/CEO/marketing director" nights down at the local pub!
Brewers work hard, I know, I see them at our place daily. But other than scheduling brewing/bottling/grain deliveries, etc. — when they punch that clock, their workday is over. I worry about taxes, payroll, the prices of malt, hops, yeast — what our distributors are doing, what our reps are doing, staffing special events, all that.”
Even the most independent stars need a support team, and Bryngelson says she couldn’t run the show without the help of general manager Paul Huppert and her husband Mark, who started out as brewmaster and secretary and also is in charge of sales and distribution. When you see this duo interact, it’s evident that they’re still going strong after nearly nine years of professionally performing together.
It turns out that Bryngelson isn’t the only female triple threat worthy of the spotlight in Albany — one of the women she admires most in the beer industry is quite literally the girl next door — or at least a few blocks over.
Jamie Howard co-owns Albany-based Deluxe Brewing and Sinister Distilling along with her husband Eric/“Howie.” Like Bryngelson, Howard has two young kids at home. However, on top of running not only a brewery but also a distillery, she still works full time at another job. “My outside job is only half time! She makes me feel lazy!” Bryngelson exclaims.
Bryngelson and Howard were invited to give a co-presentation at the Albany Regional Museum a little more than a year ago. “We’re two women in beer, let’s focus on the real history,” Bryngelson says. The pair spoke about the “origins of how it was all women (who started making beer) and that’s where the whole ‘brew-ha witch thing’ came from.”
Other female superstars Bryngelson admires include Pink Boots Society founder and “pioneer” Teri Fahrendorf and 10 Barrel Brewing’s Tonya Cornett, described as an “award-winning brewer who has earned a lot of respect, and because of her skill and experience, can work wherever and command whatever she wants. Just like the guys!” Women Enjoying Beer founder Ginger Johnson also made it on the list. Johnson actually used Calapooia’s Chili Beer for a cheese pairing at the Spring Beer and Wine Fest a few years ago, which helped the beer gain some extra recognition.
“I wish I was more involved in some of these women’s groups, I just have no real extra time. I should be, as a woman in beer, getting out more and getting more women (involved with) beer. I’m just busy trying to get the kids out the door.”
Bryngelson might not consider herself to be a rock star in the beer industry, but she definitely gained a fan out of me.
[a] 140 NE Hill St., Albany
Breweries & Brewpubs:
Agrarian Ales Brewing Company
31115 W. Crossroads Ln., Eugene, OR
Crossroads Farm near Coburg began growing a dozen hop varieties in 2007. In 2012, the three Tilley brothers opened Agrarian Ales, brewing in a converted dairy building built in 1941. 11 beers available, tap list changes seasonally; try Porch Song Saison, Cucurbita Pumpkin Mild Brown Ale, and Blazing Wildfire Porter.
Brewers Union Local 180
48329 E 1st St., Oakridge, OR
A 2013 Bon Appetit Top 10 Favorite Nanobrewery. Ted Sobel turned a former dive bar into one of the country’s only pubs specializing in English-style cask ales, or “real ale.” Serves food, guest taps, and house-brewed beers such as Wotcha A La Cascade Best Bitter, Fools of Good Heart IPA, and Frost on the Bumpkin Winter Stout.
1030 Tyinn St, Eugene, OR
NEW! The Abbey Tap Room at Sprout! Marketplace, 418 A St., Springfield, OR
When homebrewer Trevor Ross named his garage system “Claim 52” after the land’s original pioneer land claim, little did he know what would happen next. Today flagship and seasonal beers such as Claim 52 Kolsch, Dashfire IPA, Southtown Session ISA, and Cascades Dark Session Ale are found throughout the local area.
686 E Broadway St., Eugene, OR
Founded by the folks behind Eugene’s popular Delacata food cart, Elk Horn seeks to bridge the gap between beer, cider, and wine. After opening with guest taps this fall, Elk Horn serves up Southern-inspired food and is now tapping their own house beers and ciders.
1334 Oak Alley, Eugene, OR
Pour House & Delicatessen
790 Blair Blvd., Eugene, OR
With local accolades including “best bar grub,” “best burger,” and “best place to drink in the sun,” Falling Sky has made a mark with its ability to brew and cook diverse beers, sodas, charcuterie, breads, pickles, and more. Varied beer selection includes Blue Balloon Belgian Pale, Doctor Optic Standard Bitter, and Wet Earth Winter Ale.
Hard Knocks Brewing
1024 E Main St., Cottage Grove, OR
Deciding that Eugene shouldn’t have all the beer fun, the folks behind Hard Knocks now have a brewpub with 6-foot TVs, a pub menu, and 13 beers and ciders on tap. Enjoy a Hard Knocks White Knuckle Wheat, or check out their new, just-tapped Northwest double red ale.
980 Kruse Way, Springfield, OR
990 W 1st Ave, Eugene, OR
Hop Valley’s name pays homage to the Willamette Valley’s long history of hop growing. Along with their original Springfield brewpub, Hop Valley now has a production brewery and tasting room (great views of the brewery) in Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood. Enjoy The Heff, Stepchild Red, a 541 Lager, or a Vanilla Infused Porter (VIP) along with favorite Northwest pub foods.
Mancave Brewing Company
540 Fillmore St, Eugene, OR
After three years of ups and downs on a journey to become one of Eugene’s newest breweries, Mancave is soon to open its doors and start pouring three inaugural “palate-altering ales:” Exalted IPA, Waldmeister Hefeweissbier, and Irkalla Oak Aged Imperial Porter.
East 19th Street Cafe
1485 E 19th Ave., Eugene, OR
High Street Brewery & Café
1243 High St., Eugene, OR
22 Club Rd., Eugene, OR
McMenamins is renowned for giving new life to old buildings and for funky, distinctive art in 50+ locations in Washington and Oregon. Enjoy a meal and Terminator Stout, Hammerhead, and locally brewed seasonal beers at your choice of next to Hayward Field, in a 1900s house, or by the Willamette River.
Ninkasi Brewing Company
272 Van Buren St, Eugene, OR
Perhaps founders Nikos Ridge and Jamie Floyd were a bit psychic, or maybe they were channeling the spirit of Ninkasi, the ancient Sumerian beer goddess. Either way, they named their first beer Total Domination IPA, and today Oregon’s fourth-largest brewery serves up six flagship beers, three craft lagers, and more than 20 special-release and seasonal beers in seven states and British Columbia.
1055 Madera St, Eugene, OR
Oakshire Public House
207 Madison St., Eugene, OR
Oakshire’s renown grows not only due to its flagship beers—Watershed IPA, Amber Ale, and Overcast Espresso Stout—but for its wide variety of single-batch beers, its Hellshire and Brewers’ Reserve series, and a growing list of awards. Available on draft, in cans, and in bottles throughout Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Idaho.
Plank Town Brewing Company
346 Main St., Springfield OR 97477
The name “Plank Town” harkens back to Springfield’s logging days, and that heritage is on view with saw blades and rich woodwork throughout the downtown brewpub. A rotating menu features lunch and dinner specials, along with weekend brunch. Guest taps, two cask beers, and 10 house ales and lagers available, including Plank Town Pils, Riptooth IPA, and Hobbit's Habit Olde Ale.
25327 Jeans Rd., Veneta, OR
Named after the traditional start of the English agricultural year, Plough Monday in Veneta opened in 2014 with an aim to combine local organic hop farming, local ingredient sourcing, and engaging, ever-evolving, artisanal beers. American Brown Ale, Chinook Pale Ale, Double IPA, and ongoing small-batch releases are coming soon to numbered bottles. No tasting room at this time. Beers available in Eugene, Veneta, and Seattle, with plans to expand distribution to Corvallis, Portland, and Bend.
Rogue Ales Public House
844 Olive Street, Eugene, OR
Newport-based Rogue Ales’ downtown Eugene pub is steeped in local brewing history back to 1866. Today, the historic former Eugene City Brewery location features a full menu and 35 taps pouring both Rogue beers and locally brewed Track Town beers such as Triple Jump, 200 Meter, and Honey Orange Wheat.
Sam Bond’s Brewing
540 E. 8th Ave., Eugene, OR
Maybe it’s a natural evolution that the folks behind Sam Bond’s Garage, one of Eugene’s favorite bars, would brew beer too. Recently celebrating their grand opening, Sam Bond’s Brewing combines Northwest favorites with up-and-coming beers of interest, such as Accelerator ISA, Sam I Am Beer, American Wry, and Dana’s Alt.
199 E 5th Ave #1, Eugene, OR
While most Eugene-area breweries have opened during the 21st century, Steelhead has been around for over 20 years. Beers such as Raging Rhino Red, Hazy Hefeweizen, and Bombay Bomber APA have won 24 medals. Also serves lunch, dinner, pizzas, and happy hour specials.
Cask Ale Fest in Oakridge
Every August in Oakridge, craft beer and real ale enthusiasts come together for a weekend of beer, food, and music that benefits local non-profits.
Eugene Ale Trail
From Travel Lane County and unveiled in summer 2014, the Eugene Ale Trail is a guide to some of the best beer destinations in Lane County. Download or pick up your Ale Trail passport for maps, tips, and prizes for completing the trail.
Eugene Beer Week
A week of beer tastings, brewers dinners, special pairings, beer appreciation classes, and much more, Eugene Beer Week celebrates craft beer in the Willamette Valley. Held in June and concludes with the Sasquatch Beer Festival.
KLCC Microbrew Festival
Lane County Fairgrounds, Eugene
The venerable Microbrew Festival is not only a benefit for Eugene’s local NPR affiliate, KLCC, it is also a chance to try dozens of beers from Oregon, the Northwest, and around the world. The annual Collaboration Brew also has area brewers creating beers based on an agreed style or theme.
McKenzie Cider and Craft Beer Festival
Willamalane Center, 250 So. 32nd St., Springfield, OR
Nov. 7-8, 2014
As fall gets colder and wetter, it’s time for warming ciders and craft beers from over 60 brewers. Presented by the McKenzie After 5 Rotary Club and the Springfield Rotary Club, the festival supports Bags of Love and Belly-Full, which provide assistance to children in need. Live music, food, and a homebrew contest too.
Sasquatch Brew Fest
The one-day Eugene beer festival has undergone many changes in its 12 years, but constants have been dozens of local and Northwest beers, an AHA/BJCP-sanctioned homebrew contest, brewer’s dinner, and live music.
Breweries & Brewpubs:
Block 15 Restaurant & Brewery
300 SW Jefferson Ave., Corvallis, OR
In the heart of downtown Corvallis, Block 15 serves up locally sourced pub food and 16 taps of guest beers and house ales, including One Hop-Wonder Citra, Aboriginale, Nebula Naked Oat Stout, and Brewer’s Brunch Blend 2014. Also serving cask ales and rotating monthly specials.
Calapooia Brewing Company
140 NE Hill St., Albany, OR
Calapooia’s pub and brewery are housed in what was once a keg distributor and the now-defunct Oregon Trader Brewing Company. Today, 11 distinctive Calapooia beers such as Caber Toss Scotch Ale, Chili Beer, and Big Aft Pale can be enjoyed throughout Portland and the Willamette Valley.
Deluxe Brewing & Sinister Distilling
635 NE Water Ave, Albany, OR
Why stop at brewing, when you can have a “brewstillery”? That’s the goal of owners Eric and Jamie Howard. Specializing in craft lagers such as Deluxe Resurrection Pre-Prohibition Pilsner, Wild Beaver Amber Lager, and Pure Sin Schwarzbier Dark Lager, the Howards are also beginning to produce whisky, rum, and gin.
Flat Tail Brewing Company
202 SW 1st St, Corvallis, OR
On the waterfront in downtown Corvallis, Flat Tail is also a two-time “People’s Choice Award” winner from Eugene’s KLCC Microbrew Festival. Enjoy food and the day’s game along with Kolsch Tailgater, 6 A.M. Stout, Seltrecht Pilsner, or 2011 Brett Bourbon Pale.
33930 SE Eastgate Cir., Corvallis, OR
A touch of Belgium in Benton County. Husband and wife team Jeff and Kathy Tobin have homebrewing chops going back to 1984. After a 2011 trip to Belgium, they returned inspired to open their own brewery. This year Mazama took home three awards for their Nightside Eclipse, Dubbelganger, and Saison d’Etre.
McMenamins Monroe Brewery
2001 NW Monroe Ave., Corvallis, OR
An old diner next to the OSU campus now serves up McMenamins pub grub and entrees, along with over 10 McMenamins beers and ciders such as Midway IPA, Nebraska Bitter (named after SW Nebraska Street), and Edgefield Hard Apple Cider. Also queue up for the pool and shuffleboard tables.
Oregon Trail Brewery
341 SW 2nd St., Corvallis, OR
With its beginnings in a time where “craft beer” was still the marginal “microbrew” underdog, Oregon Trail was indeed blazing a trail. Today, after new owners took over in 1993 and two GABF silver medals, Oregon Trail continues brewing from a space it shares with Old World Deli. Brown Ale, White Ale, and other beers available primarily around the Corvallis area.
Sky High Brewing and Pub
160 NW Jackson Ave, Corvallis, OR
At the bustling Corvallis Farmers Market and ready for a break? Head to the former Avalon Cinema building, ride the glass elevator to the heated patio, and settle in for an Extend-O Burger and a pint of Linus Pauling Ale, Bavarian Hefeweizen, or Bohemian Pils.
Corvallis Beer Week
Sept. 11-19, 2015
A nine-day celebration of all things craft beer throughout the Corvallis area. Beer classes, special tastings, release parties, dinners, live music, and more.
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.