I first heard of Mt. Tabor Brewing from Derek’s Beer Around Town blog and some mentions on twitter. I am curious about all new breweries but this one especially since I live at the bottom of Mt. Tabor.
I managed to find the brewery on twitter and facebook and get ahold of them and Brian Maher took the time to answer my questions.
On to the interview:
SA:Who all is involved in the brewery and what are your backgrounds/experience?
Brian: Brian Maher owns the brewery as an LLC. Eric Surface is a silent business partner who helps Brian with all things brewing and sales-related.
Our background/experience is that of homebrewers. We have been brewing on 12 – 36 gallon homebrew setups for the last couple years, designing and tweaking our own recipes, and have taken a couple brewing classes along the way. Oh, and we have full-time non-brewing jobs so the beer made for the brewery won’t necessarily be on a regular schedule, but we will brew beer on demand, particularly for small parties / events.
SA: Where is the brewery going to be located?
Brian: Montavilla (SE 78th and Stark). Actually, in a storage building behind SE 78th and Stark. Advice to those who want to “stop by and see the brewery:” please wait until we get to phase II. Phase I is in a building behind our friend/landlord’s business there on Stark, and the only access is literally through his business and thus quite invasive. Phase II, when we are large enough to be able to afford renting our own space vs renting space behind a building, and when we brew more often than after hours & weekends, will be open to the public and will definitely have a tasting room.
SA: Is this a production brewery or will their be a pub or tasting room?
Brian: Production-only. Tasting room comes in Phase II, brewpub comes in Phase III.
SA: What size of a system will you have?
Brian: We can brew batches as small as 5 gallons and as large as 2 barrels. In Phase II we expect capacity to expand to 7 – 10 barrels and Phase III will be based on market demand / size limitations.
SA: Who is manufacturing the system or where are you getting it?
Brian: Brent Husum (firstname.lastname@example.org), a local Engineer who specializes in small-scale brewing setups for the homebrew and Nano-brewing markets. Brent designs and builds everything himself, so he’s able to keep costs low and pass that onto his customers. Full disclosure: I went to college with Brent.
SA: What kinds of beers will you be brewing?
Brian: Mostly ales based on what we like to drink / brew for ourselves: IPA, Blonde, Porter, Stout, Alt, and of course NW Pale Ale. We also enjoy venturing out into the world of lagers, belgians, and big, unique beers (have a tasty Russian Imperial Stout on tap right now, for instance).
SA: Will it be bottles or draft?
Brian: Draft for sure, bottles we are still debating.
SA: What is the house yeast strain going to be?
Brian: We will use a variety of yeasts from our friends at Wyeast Labs. As a small-batch brewery we have the luxury of not being permanently married to any one particular strain of yeast.
SA: What will the flagship beer be?
Brian: Dragon Lounge Pale Ale. Our first customer is the Canton Grill (www.canton-grill.com) and their bar is called the Dragon Lounge. We decided to brew the obligatory Northwest Pale Ale but give it a Chinese twist with hops originally cultivated in China.
SA: Will you be self-distributing?
SA: Do you have a philosophy or vision for brewing?
Brian: Mt Tabor Brewing started the same way many other breweries do: with the vision of a group of homebrewers. A group of friends started making homebrew together in the Mt Tabor Neighborhood back in 2007. We called ourselves the “Mt Tabor Brew Crew.” After a few early challenges we realized we were onto something: brewing delicious beer that was different, and sometimes even better, than much of the exceptional beer found on tap here in Beervana. Soon enough, word spread and people started demanding our homebrew. The problem is, it isn’t legal to sell homebrew. So, we did the research and decided we’d do the legwork to get licensed and start selling our beer commercially, transforming the old “Mt Tabor Brew Crew” into “Mt Tabor Brewing.”
SA: What goals do you have for the brewery?
Brian: Short-term: Make our mark with a beer or two at a restaurant or two in town. Be able to keep up with demand, paperwork, and most importantly, deliver a quality, consistent product every single time.
Long-term: Learn from our mistakes in Phase I and grow successfully into Phase II (full-time brewery) and maybe even Phase III (brewpub).
Follow Mt. Tabor Brewing on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mttaborbrewing
or Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Portland-OR/Mt-Tabor-Brewing/184076428180