beer

Downtown Oregon City Gets a New Brewery

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Rumor has it that back in the day Henry Weinhard bought the old Oregon City Brewing, tore it down, added a tavern and built a warehouse for his Portland-brewed beer empire. Though beer wasn’t brewed on premise, it’s a glimpse into how Oregon City was once a thriving beer scene.

Is Oregon City back on track as a beer destination? Feckin Brewery has been cranking out beers on McLoughlin near downtown. The Highland Stillhouse packs in hungry crowds and serves an impressive selection of beers (and single malt Scotch). And up on the hill a new taproom, Growler Run, recently opened.

Starting in early November another brewery, the also-named Oregon City Brewery, or OCB, will be producing a half-dozen of their own beers and carrying up to 40 beers on tap, focusing on smaller Northwest breweries.

The brewery, started by co-partner Bryce Morrow, his father and father-in-law is a true family affair. They began brewing at home six years ago, five gallons at a time in Morrow’s kitchen. The trio then moved up to a half-barrel on the back porch. Moving into a new home with a detached garage, Morrow says the road to a full, OLCC-licensed brewery began as they set up shop there. “We always loved craft beer and we started to compare ourselves to others out there and thought ‘we would pay for this beer,’” says Morrow.

A chance meeting with a neighbor walking by and peering into their brewing setup changed things. Turns out the neighbor was the owner of a local BBQ chain and soon the brewers were producing beers for the BBQ under the BBQ’s own label. Their OCB beers (an IPA and a red ale) were then on tap at local Oregon City restaurants such as Mi Famiglia and taproom Growler Run.

The next logical step was a full-time brewery. It was also logical to build the brewery in Oregon City. Morrow and his dad are Oregon City natives and Morrow says there wasn’t much thought about being anywhere else.

“It’s home to us. We know the area, and it’s also underserved. If you’re going to start yet another brewery in Portland – who cares? You’ve got already great breweries in Portland.”

Morrow compares the potential of Oregon City as a beer destination, similar to Bend or Astoria, “Oregon City has been overlooked in many ways. There’s a real history here and there hasn’t been a fully functioning brew house since the 1880s.”

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The new 5,000 square foot space has just started with a renovation and will eventually house a 3-barrel system. There won’t be a kitchen s0 no food will be served, but the OLCC will allow food from the outside and the brewery plans on partnering with local restaurants to deliver food to hungry customers. For now, Oregon City Brewery will focus on brewing beer for the taproom, direct to consumer and their wholesale accounts. Styles of beers they plan brewing include Irish Red, Scottish Ale, Pale Ale, Marionberry Ale, Double Chocolate Stout, and of course, an IPA.

Oregon City Brewery will be located at 1401 Washington in downtown Oregon City and is planning on opening November 1.

John Chilson writes about Portland history and architecture at Lost Oregon. He's also written for Neighborhood Notes, Travel Oregon, Portland Architecture, Askmen.org, San Diego Reader, and Portland Food and Drink. Follow him on twitter at @LostOregon for local history nerdism; for beer tweets he's at @Hopfrenzy. Shoot him an email at [email protected] if you want to get in touch.

9 Comments

  1. BEERinOC?

    September 15, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    “there hasn’t been a fully functioning brew house since the 1880s.”

    Except for the one mentioned in the second paragraph?

    • Samurai Artist

      September 16, 2014 at 7:06 am

      your referring to a quote from an interviewee not from the articles writer. Feckin Brewery is pretty brand new in their defense.

  2. Danielle

    September 17, 2014 at 5:08 am

    As an Oregon City resident I am always excited to see new businesses arrive; however, I am dismayed that this brewery will not serve food. This will reduce the likelihood minors will be allowed. My husband and I often frequent brew pubs that are family friendly. This will be yet another business in the OC that we will not frequent, because it is not family friendly.

    • Bryce

      September 19, 2014 at 6:49 am

      As a father of two young boys I also typically frequent family friendly businesses. It was a tough decision for us to not offer food, but ultimately we just want to focus on making exceptional beers.

      Best,
      Bryce Morrow
      OCB

      • Kristi

        October 10, 2015 at 5:15 pm

        If no food is offered, can people bring in their own food??

  3. Homelife Furniture

    October 2, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Looking forward to another great business opening up around here!!!

  4. Casey

    October 2, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Totally bummed out there will not be any food here. I enjoy taking my family of 7 to local family friendly brew pubs. Plus… I always need some fries or pretzels to go with my beer! I wish them luck although highly doubt they will succeed.

  5. Dick Martin

    October 23, 2014 at 5:31 am

    Hope you do good, let us know when you open.
    Great location.

  6. Michelle

    October 27, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    I am sure that Tony’s from across the street would be very happy to supply a bowl of chowder, Or some smoked salmon:)

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