Of the Oregon Beer Growler
It’s been a big year for what once was a small Salem brewery. In February, Salem Ale Works took home the silver medal for their Cast Iron CDA at the Oregon Beer Awards. Then came the next big chapter: moving to a new location. While the journey was short (1,056 feet south, to be exact), the impact has been significant since their grand opening in June. More space, more beer, and equally as important — more food offerings from Prologue Pastries & Sandwich Library.
After the original brewery opened in 2013, food options were scarce. Then, along came a jelly doughnut. SAW discovered a husband-and-wife team — Jonathan Jones and Maura Ryan — had created a doughnut made with one of their beers: Juniperus Vinifera, an IPA that had been aged in a pinot noir barrel. “It piqued our interest,” said SAW co-founder Jake Bonham, “So we reached out to them.”
Prologue and SAW have been working together in a partnership capacity for about a year now, but started doing occasional events around two years ago. Fittingly, a beer and dessert pairing was their first. “It’s been really, really nice working with them. They’re fantastic people. It’s friendships, not just a business relationship,” said Jones.
When it came time for SAW owners Bonham and Justin Ego to move into the new 5,400 square-foot space, it only made sense that Prologue brought their mobile kitchen along for the ride. “It’s 18-linear-feet of actual cook space — everyone has to really get along and communicate well,” said Jones.
Jones, who is a photographer and writer by education, has been cooking professionally for six years. Ryan, who focuses on the baking side of the business, is a painter who majored in art history. “We sort of just took food to be our new medium. We treat everything that we do like art. We put our heart into it,” said Jones.
“We have a saying in the truck and at home where we bake; to not be afraid to show the marks on your hands. So everything that we do is fairly rustic and nothing is designed to be polished or hide any of who we are or what we do. I feel like I can reach a broader audience with food than I can with any other art form.”
Another way to reach a broad audience is with a diverse taplist. SAW’s new location is home to 14 taps in total, 12 of which are beers and two are guest ciders. While the brew system might appear larger than before, it’s still the same 3-barrel brewhouse — just in a roomier space.
“When we were looking to add food service, we wanted the food to go well with the beer and make pairings and it was important that the kitchen used our beer in the menu as well. Prologue proved that was something they were interested in doing and were already actively doing,” said Bonham.
Around 30 percent of Prologue’s menu utilizes SAW’s beer — whether it be in dipping sauces for their signature SAWft pretzels or braising liquid for bratwursts. But the real star of the show is Prologue’s Sandwich Library. One of Bonham’s favorites is aptly titled “Because We’re In Oregon” — featuring smoked wild chinook salmon, whipped cream cheese, pistachios, capers and a red onion jam tucked between two hearty slices of dark rye from Silver Falls Bread Company. The cold sandwich is a perfect match with the brewery’s Frisky Marmot Summer Ale on a hot August day — the citrus notes in the beer complement the salmon and help cut through the richness of the cream cheese, while its mild bitterness doesn’t have to compete with the earthy character of the bread.
If sandwiches aren’t your thing, any sandwich (or salad or hash) can be turned into nachos by request, and any nacho dish can also be made into a salad. “That’s 100 percent John,” said Bonham. “That was his creative way of expanding the depth of this menu. He’s working out of a fairly small kitchen; and by giving patrons the flexibility of taking these different menu items and turning them into different types of items, it almost doubles the size of the menu and what you can order.”
The South by Northwest nachos are a prime example of that menu versatility. Sauteed mushrooms, sweet potato and nopalitos (pickled cactus) are paired with the usual nacho fixings — pickled jalapenos, beans, cheddar, salsa and sour cream — on a bed of Juanita’s Tortilla Chips. Adding those first two ingredients to nachos might seem odd, but they give the dish such a rich earthiness that you won’t be asking, “Where’s the beef?”
To counteract the spice from the salsa and jalapenos, Bonham recommends drinking Hootenanny Honey Basil, one of the lightest (and most unique) offerings from the brewery. “It’s a nice light blonde with a cooling effect,” said Bonham. Featuring fresh basil and local honey from a Salem apiary, the beer offers a touch of sweetness that helps rebalance the palate, with the finish being dry and crisp to play with the saltiness of the chips.
This sustainable approach even translates to the treatment of employees. Jones of Prologue emphasizes, “We want to pay them enough and have them be happy enough so that they can work for us, make enough money to live, but also have enough time to pursue their own interests. We don’t ever want their job with us to feel like a chore.
“I think there’s a similar vibe from Jake and Justin. They keep the atmosphere here calm, pleasant and welcoming. And that’s what we’re trying to do with that kitchen out there. Just keep it pleasant. That really is one of our main goals — it’s not profit — we just want life to be pleasant,” said Jones.
“We pride ourselves on being a local brewery; we try to be engaged with the community and source as much as we can locally on the brewing side,” said Bonham.
Prologue also uses a plethora of local vendors and suppliers, and offers vegan, gluten-free and paleo items for those with dietary restrictions or who are simply looking for healthier options. On that note, although the following dessert might be gluten free, it’s not exactly healthy. But some things are just worth the extra calories.
Prologue’s Hazelnut Dacquoise, while hard to pronounce, is certainly not hard to eat. This layer cake made with hazelnut meringue, dark chocolate and whipped cream isn’t as sweet as it is rich, which is a philosophy Jones and Ryan use for the majority of their pastries. The local hazelnuts and dark chocolate beautifully complement the roasted malts in the rich Sun’s Out Gun Stout — making this one of the most decadent pairings on the menu. Along with the four current mainstays, look for rotating, seasonal desserts in the future, along with a kid’s menu (minors are allowed daily until 9 p.m.).
As for SAW, the brewery will not only be hosting a “Breakfast, Brew, and Eclipse View” party on Aug. 21, but this month also marks four years in business.
“I’m so excited that Salem is at a point that it will support a venture like this, because it is a little different how we’re presenting things. We’ve lived here for three years, and in that short time, the town’s acceptance of new ideas and willingness to grow has been really amazing to watch and Maura and I are so excited to be a part of that,” Jones concluded.
Whatever the next chapter holds for these two businesses, this is just the beginning of their story together. And to think, it all started with a jelly doughnut.
Because We’re In Oregon Sandwich
Paired with Salem Ale Works Frisky Marmot Summer Ale
By Chef Jonathan Jones
2 slices dark rye bread (Prologue uses Silver Falls Bread Company)
2 tablespoons whipped cream cheese
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon roasted salted pistachio kernels
2 tablespoons red onion jam
~ 1/4 cup smoked wild salmon
· Spread cream cheese on both sides of bread.
· On one side, spread capers and pistachios evenly.
· Top with onion jam, then salmon.
Paired with Salem Ale Works Hootenanny Honey Basil
By Chef Jonathan Jones
9-inch pie pan, filled with Juanita’s Tortilla Chips
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup cooked and drained black beans
1/4 cup sauteed button mushrooms
8 pieces thinly sliced fresh jalapeno
8 strips nopalitos (pickled cactus)
1/4 cup roasted and diced yam
Sour cream and salsa, to garnish
· Layer all but sour cream and salsa together, making sure to top with cheese.
· Bake in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes.
· Top with sour cream and salsa and serve immediately.
Paired with Salem Ale Works Sun’s Out Gun Stout
By Chef Maura Ryan
Adapted from Deb Perelman’s Chocolate-Hazelnut Macaroon Torte
Oil or butter for greasing parchment rounds
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 large egg whites
2 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, then skinned as much as possible
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For chocolate filling:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso granules (optional)
For whipped frosting and filling:
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy or whipping cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Frangelico or another hazelnut liqueur or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· Position oven racks in the top and lower thirds of oven and heat oven to 325 degrees.
· Outline four 8-inch circles on individual pieces of parchment paper.
· Turn each sheet of parchment over so ink or pencil lines don’t seep into macaroons.
· Place each piece of parchment paper on large baking sheets.
· Very lightly coat parchment with oil or butter.
· Place hazelnuts, 1 cup sugar and salt in food processor and blend until finely ground.
· Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large, dry bowl with clean beaters until soft peaks form.
· Drizzle in vanilla extract, then slowly add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Beat until stiff but not dry.
· Fold nut mixture into egg whites in 1/3 increments.
· Spread 1/4 of macaroon batter evenly within each circle, filling completely.
· Bake macaroon layers until golden and dry to the touch — approximately 20-23 minutes.
· Cool macaroons on their sheets on a cooling rack.
For chocolate filling:
· While meringues cool, heat half of chocolate, water and coffee (if using) in small heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring until smooth.
· Off the heat, stir in second half of chocolate chunks until melted.
· Spread thin layer of chocolate evenly over tops of meringue rounds.
· Cool until chocolate is set, or until firm.
For whipped frosting and filling:
· Beat cream with sugar and liqueur or vanilla in bowl with cleaned beaters until it holds stiff peaks.
To assemble dacquoise:
· Gently peel parchment off back of each macaroon round.
· Arrange first disc on cake serving plate.
· Spread 1/3 cup whipped cream over it. Repeat with second and third macaroon rounds, then top with final round.
· Frost top and side of dacquoise with whipped cream.
· Decorate top of dacquoise with whole hazelnuts, if desired.
· Serve immediately or store in fridge.
Salem Ale Works/Prologue Pastries & Sandwich Library
2315 25th St. SE, Salem