After hiking or biking at Silver Falls State Park, known as the crown jewel of the Oregon State Parks system with its abundant waterfalls and lush forests, trail lovers can reward their efforts with brews and barbecue at Silver Falls Brewery Ale House in nearby Silverton. The family-friendly pub opened last May and was an overnight success.
“Our five-year goals have turned into next year’s goals,” said founder Eric Druliner.
The brewhouse itself, a few miles away on Druliner’s property, has been in commercial production for nearly three years. His partner Andrew Fox handles nearly all of the brewing on a 2-barrel system, making batches at least three or four times a week.
Their motto: “One small batch at a time.”
Druliner’s original plan was to transition slowly from homebrewer to pro. While working full-time in law enforcement in Lake Oswego, he started a brand with a friend. But his 10-year career ended abruptly due to an injury and he changed course to full-time brewing.
“I had to jump through some bureaucratic hoops and plenty of paperwork to get the licensing for the brewery since it was at my house,” he said.
Druliner stayed on it and four months later, was self-distributing. Immediately, he realized it was too much for one person. That’s when his buddy Fox, a landscaper who was looking for a job change, came into the picture and a partnership was born. Historic, charming downtown Silverton seemed like a perfect fit for the brewery, but finding the right property was difficult. Many of the old buildings in the area simply weren’t practical. Eventually, they purchased a structure that once served as a garage. The extensive remodel involved taking off the flat roof and creating a new Craftsman exterior. In the process, they saved and re-used old beams. The tenants in the back half of the building remained, which helped make the project financially feasible. Druliner and Fox plan to locate their new production brewery in the space.
The inviting Ale House has an attractive patio, soothing fountain and fire pit, all designed by Fox. Outside seats around 48 and there’s space for approximately 50 people inside. Of the 20 taps, Silver Falls’ beer occupies a sizable 15 handles.
“That’s the beauty of our smaller system,” said Fox. “We can have that variety and flexibility and take advantage of premium ingredients.”
There are eight signature beers that include everything from a pair of IPAs to a pilsner to a porter and a couple of wheats. Food can be purchased from the Ale Houses’ small kitchen or a resident food truck with four sliders. The mug club just maxed out at 75. Members receive happy hour pricing, invites to new beer releases and other discounts along with a stainless-steel mug with their number engraved on it. Should a spot open up, add your name to the lottery, which already has 50 fans hoping and waiting to join. •