By Ezra Johnson-Greenough
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Even at 218 or so breweries, Oregon has yet to reach peak status. True, industry growth is slowing and real estate in popular places like Portland and Bend are harder to come by. But there is still room for the local brewpub. Some large towns — like La Grande — don’t even have a brewery yet, but 2017 looks to change that. Here are our top 10 major breweries scheduled to open this year.
Bodega Beer - Portland
This 15-barrel brewery and taproom will open on the corner of Southeast 14th Avenue and Stark Street right across the street from Meat Cheese Bread and their taproom/bottleshop called Beer. Ex-Laurelwood brewer Steven Balzer will be on board to focus on hop-forward beers with a lager and some international styles represented. They won’t have food, but will have a food cart on site.
Breakside Brewery Slabtown - Portland
Breakside Brewery’s third location was scheduled to open in the Slabtown neighborhood of Northwest Portland last summer, but it’s now on track for a spring 2017 launch. The space will feature a full restaurant, event room mezzanine and outdoor seating on both a patio and rooftop. Best of all — the 10-barrel brewhouse is going to pump out completely new, experimental hop-centric beers.
Crooked River Brewing – Prineville
The 4-barrel startup is taking over a 7,000-square-foot industrial space that used to house an antique shop. Prineville’s second brewery will favor IPAs and pizzas in a setting that will include outdoor seating, a conference room and pool tables. Brewing is still a good six months out or more due to city and federal permitting. (Read more on page 14).
Ferment - Portland and Hood River
Daniel Peterson moved to Hood River to work at Full Sail and then pFriem after experience with microbiology at New York’s Brooklyn Brewery. In 2015 he set out to open his own project with a brewery in Hood River and a taproom/restaurant in Portland, originally slated for the Yard development on the east side of the Burnside Bridge. Peterson said he’ll now look for a nearby ground-floor location that will be more accessible to foot traffic.
The Horn Public House & Brewery - Depoe Bay
Chris Jennings, one of the Hillsboro Brew Brothers before leaving to join the team at Alameda, now takes on the role of head brewer at this upcoming coastal establishment. From the owners of Gracie’s Sea Hag comes this 10-barrel, two-floor brewpub that is already open and should have its own beer on tap sometime after January. Jennings plans to make a variety of styles, with 10 house beers — plus guest offerings — on tap. (Read more on page 18).
Level Beer - Portland
A trio of all-stars came together to launch Level Beer: Bailey’s Taproom owner Geoff Phillips along with brewer/partners Jason Barbee (formerly of Ex Novo) and Shane Watterson (formerly of Laurelwood). Making its home on garden/farmland in outer Northeast Portland off I-84, there will be a tasting room (but don’t expect farmhouse beers).
Little Beast Brewing - Beaverton
When Charles Porter left Logsdon in 2015, he sought a warehouse space to open his own sour blendery, with a brewery off-site. But in late 2016, he found the defunct Brannon’s Pub & Brewery in Beaverton where he’ll start his business before eventually relocating to a space in Portland with more room for barrels. For now, he shares the building with The Westgate Bourbon Bar & Taphouse, which opened in December.
Reach Break Brewing – Astoria
This new 7-barrel brewery and taproom will focus on barrel-aged sour and wild beers, but will also pour clean East Coast-style IPAs and farmhouse brews. Customers can enjoy a covered outdoor beer garden with food carts and to-go menus from local establishments. If there aren’t any holdups, Reach Break could be open by the time you read this with non-wild yeast/bacteria beers and barrel-aged styles debuting as they are ready.
Ross Island Brewing - Portland
Ex-Alameda brewer Carston Haney’s inner Southeast Portland project has been hit with numerous delays by the City of Portland. After waiting more than a year, he hopes to open the taproom in January while work continues on the brewery. Expect big and sessionable English, German and American styles of beer in a cozy neighborhood pub with an outdoorsman's touch.
Side A Brewing - La Grande
When Eastern Oregon University professor Scott McConnell realized that La Grande was the only city in Oregon with a population of more than 7,000 that didn’t have a brewery, he knew he had to do something. Along with two partners, one with brewery experience and the other food and beverage, they are slated to open Side A Brewing in the historic Eastern Oregon Fire Museum this spring.
By Kirby Neumann-Rea
For the Oregon Beer Growler
the process of fermentation involved in the making of beer, in which sugars are converted to ethyl alcohol
Dan Peterson is the microbiology-trained brains and brawn behind Ferment, one of Oregon’s newest breweries. Based in Hood River but brewed in Portland, Peterson plans a Hood River brewery and a Portland pub.
“Food will be made to suit the beer,” Peterson said. The pub should open by late summer and the brewery would follow in late 2016 or early 2017.
“It’s nice to have this kind of clean slate opportunity and say, ‘This is what I want to do,’” described Peterson. Last year, he left pFriem Family Brewers in Hood River, where he was one of Josh Pfriem’s first hires, to start his own brewery.
“It was a tough decision, but it was a great opportunity at the right time to have creative control over the beers,” Peterson said. He is doing the entire brewing process himself, and distribution is limited at this point. Peterson focuses on “balanced, English-style” beers.
“The cool thing is they go really well with food. And with Ferment, the focus is more experience-focused rather than beer as a liquid or beverage or commodity or bottles being distributed as far possible. It’s the synergy of food, beer, experience and environment.”
Ferment brewery and pub will both be known simply as “Ferment.” The pub will be in Portland, at a location soon to be announced. The brewery, however, will be in Hood River. Peterson is looking at a variety of locations, including a planned building on the Hood River waterfront, two blocks from pFriem.
Peterson, a University of Vermont microbiology graduate, got his fermenting start at Brooklyn Brewery in New York. He had worked in a cancer research lab before his love of homebrewing took him to a combination lab/entry-level brewing job at Brooklyn in 2003. He then came west to work at Full Sail in 2009.
“I was brewing with friends and I slipped down the slope of thinking a lot about brewing and thinking of it as a profession,” Dan said.
Peterson started Ferment in Portland in 2015, brewing at Pints in Old Town and at the new Zoiglhaus cooperative. His yeast concoctions start wild on the slopes of Mt. Hood, where he leaves cultures out overnight.
At this point, Peterson experiments with small batches. “This is a chance to do recipe development — see how things are received on a really small scale. I can get a couple of kegs out there to places and check in with people,” he said. “I’ve been doing test batches, making tweaks. And instead of just tasting them myself and deciding whether I like it, this is a way to see, in general, how consumers like it,” Peterson said.
He uses special malts out of England for most of the brews in order to find a balance with the hops and yeast. “My background is mostly English-style brewing practices,” he said. “There’s not a whole lot of English-style brewing in the Northwest. I like seeing what people think of it — to say, ‘This is a pale ale that’s not all that hoppy,’ compared to our standards now.”
In general, the yeasts will tend to exhibit a “pretty fruit ester character,” Peterson said, adding that they flocculate easily and leave a clear beer.
“Traditionally, (the English) brew a lot in casks and count on the yeast to settle in the bottom and expect the beer to be really clear. That’s kind of my goal also.” Peterson is not currently cask conditioning, but said, “I want to in the future as I get more established and have some good cask offerings.”
In Portland, you can find Ferment on tap at Clyde Common and The Richmond Bar. In Hood River, Ferment beers are available at Camp 1805 Distillery, Pine Street Kitchen and Volcanic Bottle Shoppe.
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.