By Dustin Gouker
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Central Oregon is home to world-class athletes and world-class beer. It was probably inevitable that the two would converge at some point.
Nate and Valarie Doss — two of the best disc golfers on the planet — are working on getting their own brewery, Bevel Craft Brewing, up and running in the region. And the married couple from Bend has already done a number of collaborations with breweries around the country related to their travels for disc golf.
The pair has won seven disc golf world championships between them. Nate, 32, won three of those; the rest belong Valarie, 31 — including the 2016 world title — who is better known in disc golf circles as Valarie Jenkins.
But why beer and disc golf? It’s a pretty natural connection to listen to the Dosses talk about it. They’ve found a lot of crossover between the sport they love — and make their livelihood from — and the beer industry.
“We travel a lot, and we do a lot of driving and we go through all these different cities and states,” Valarie said. “So our favorite thing to do between tournaments is to check out the local breweries.
“And there is always a disc golfer when we go, whether it’s behind the bar or the owner or the brewer; it’s really incredible how much of a connection there is.”
Both of them grew up playing disc golf, but the idea of trying to make a career out of craft beer is a more recent development.
Nate said he got the bug to start brewing after visiting a friend working at Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, Mo. several years ago. He brewed his first batch at home in 2012, and the idea of a disc golf brewery started percolating for the Dosses. Then the couple moved from California to Oregon five years ago and things got a little more serious.
“Luckily there’s a lot of craft brewers and owners that play disc golf — have a passion for the sport,” Nate said. “And just through who we are and the world of disc golf, we started meeting a lot of these people and becoming pretty good friends with them.”
As the couple tossed around the idea of planning their own brewery and learning more about brewing, those relationships turned into an internship for Nate at GoodLife Brewing in 2013.
From there, the pair started developing a business plan and getting investors lined up. They came up with a name and branding — Bevel, which comes from the beveled edge of a disc.
But the Dosses note that it’s been a slow process. After all, they are still in the prime of their disc golf careers, which pays the bills. They can travel for months at a time, sometimes internationally, to play in the biggest tournaments. When talking to the Oregon Beer Growler for this story, the couple was getting ready to head to this year’s World Championships in Georgia.
But they hope to get things rolling later this year in earnest. Finding commercial space in Bend to open up a brewery/pub is a challenge in the quickly growing town. (A recent story in The Bulletin reported that 12 people a day are moving to Bend.) In the short term, the focus of Bevel would be just on making beer; a pub with a connected disc golf course would come later.
In the meantime, the pair has been upping their profile on the beer scene as opportunities become available. In 2015, they struck a deal to do a collaboration with Fiddlehead Brewing Company in Vermont in connection with a tournament, resulting in the release of Understable IPA.
That initial collaboration has led to more beer making. Already this year, Nate says they’ve completed four collaborations with breweries near disc golf tournament stops. That included a beer (Pine Bender Pale) with Calapooia Brewing Company out of Albany for this year’s Beaver State Fling in Estacada.
These projects are quenching their thirst for getting into the beer industry for now, while they wait to get Bevel off the ground.
“That’s our idea, we’re doing these disc golf collaborations to not only do what we love, which is making great beer, but really bringing disc golf closer to craft beer and vice versa,” Nate said. “Bringing in local business into a sport that’s up and coming.
“Craft beer and disc golf go hand in hand.”
The Dosses’ Favorite Disc Golf Courses
Where do world champion disc golfers like to play when they are in Oregon? They said one of their favorite courses anywhere in the world is Milo McIver State Park in Estacada.
Some of their other top picks:
· Pier Park (Portland)
· Blue Lake Regional Park (Fairview)
· Hyzer Pines (Sisters)
· Coyote’s Den (Crooked River Ranch)
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.