Industry News

Carston Haney to Open Ross Island Brewing on SE Powell Blvd

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Carston Haney in front of his new Ross Island Brewing

Carston Haney in front of his new Ross Island Brewing

The New School is stoked to see Brewmaster Carston Haney re-emerge just 4 months after leaving Alameda Brewing, announcing his own new brewery called Ross Island Brewing. Carston was one of our first features on this site back in February of 2010, and has since become a well-known and well-liked local brewer specializing in English ales with a Pacific Northwest update. We peeked in at the new Ross Island Brewing construction zone at SE 7th and Powell Boulevard, a location that sits just across the street from a dispensary and a strip club, and only 2 blocks from Portland institution — the Original Hotcake House. Carston and friends are working there now, doing as much of the demolition and buildout themselves as possible.

Ross Island Brewing plans to use the storefront–formerly a car stereo installer–as a small bar and tasting room, while in the back garage will be a modest 7-10bbl brewery. The tasting room/pub will serve meats and cheeses, but don’t expect a full menu, and it will not be kid-friendly. The decor will hearken back to outdoorsmen with a hundreds of years old canoe hanging above the salvaged wood bar, old fishing poles, and possibly even an elk head hanging along with other eclectic vintage items Carston and his wife Maude have been saving. Carston acknowledges it won’t open with a completely finished and polished look; he wants the space to come into its own with time. He is also awaiting a logo for the brewery, which will inform the rest of the brand image from the beer names to the look and feel.

Though he doesn’t say “never” to anything, Carston envisions Ross Island Brewing as a small operation that will not package beers in the near future and will self distribute. He does not plan for any major growth and has no interest in competing with other larger brewers for supermarket shelf space. He will tap into using the well-established relationships he already has with bar owners around town to carry his beer, sticking with people he knows and can call to retrieve empties or tell them about his latest Northwest ale. Speaking of the beer, Ross Island Brewing plans to stick with what they do best, so expect to see beers like Alameda’s Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA (which Carston created); classic ales, stouts, and lagers will be the brewery’s bread and butter. Later down the line the brewery would like to have a barrel-aging program and experiment with barrel-aged brettanamyoces sours and fruit beers.

With any luck Ross Island Brewing hopes to be brewing by December, but Carston–who has experience building out a few breweries now–acknowledges that there are often many unforeseen holdups. We will be following Carston and Ross Island Brewing’s progress closely!

Carston Haney far at Ross Island Brewing

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: [email protected]

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