Redmond has a new brewery: Porter Brewing Co. Husband-and-wife team Deven and Avara Roberts are opening Porter in an underserved industrial area in east Redmond, and plan to stand out with a twist.
They will exclusively “offer 100-percent cask-conditioned ales, brewed to traditional English style and served at cellar temp,” according to the website. Currently only one other brewery in Oregon is all-cask: Brewers Union Local 180 in Oakridge.
“It sets us apart from all the other breweries in the area, giving people a reason to come see us,” said Avara. “They are not just getting a beer poured from a regular tap. We like to think of it more as a destination and an experience. The beer will be hand pulled from the cask with traditional hand pumps imported from the U.K. We are excited to offer something different to the community.”
Casks differ from standard keg packaging in that neither carbon dioxide nor nitrogen are used to dispense the beer. When a cask is tapped, the beer is pumped from the container by hand, which introduces air into the keg. Air of course contains oxygen, so once a cask is tapped the beer comes into contact with oxygen and the clock starts ticking on its shelf life.
This introduces an element of risk into opening a brewery with all cask-conditioned beers. It can be alleviated somewhat by the use of cask breathers to blanket the beer with carbon dioxide to help preserve it, which is what Deven plans to do.
He recognizes there will be some element of education in introducing cask to a market that may be unfamiliar with the concept. “I’ll serve the beer at 50 degrees to start out, because that’s what people are used to,” he said. “After a while I’ll raise it to 55, because that’s the proper cellar temperature.”
Deven’s brewing background comes from 10 years of homebrewing, including brewing cask ale at home, complete with a beer engine. The couple talked about opening a brewery since before they had children, and upon moving to Central Oregon two years ago decided the time was right.
They began looking for a location at the end of last year, focusing initially on downtown Redmond. While they loved the look of some of the older, historic buildings, ultimately they weren’t suitable for their needs.
Instead they decided on the industrial park east of Highway 97, and are optimistic about the location. In addition to the brewery, two other alcohol producers will be moving in: Dry Fields Cider and Gompers Gin.
The brewery will house a 3-barrel system, purchased from Stout Tanks and Kettles of Portland. Beers will be served from eight taps in the 600-square-foot tasting room, and there will also be outdoor patio seating. There is no kitchen, so food options will be limited to food trucks.
A grand opening was planned for Sept. 29. Barring any major roadblocks, Porter Brewing should be the next cask hot spot by fall. •