Laurelwood Pizza Co. to close, New Brewery to Open

I recently learned from a New School tipster that Laurelwood Pizza Co., the well-loved family restaurant and brewpub, will be closing at the end of the year. Many know that the current Pizza Co. location was the original location and primary brewery for the Laurelwood empire before they opened the larger brewery and pub on NE 51st and Sandy.
Beyond the surprising news of the closure, the space will be taken over by a new and unrelated new brewery!

More details below…



Perhaps more interesting then the closure of the Laurelwood Pizza Co. is the news that a brand new brewery will be taking its place. Columbia River Brewing Company will add yet another startup to the ever growing lineup of new breweries.

I was able to confirm the closure with Laurelwood owner Mike De Kalb, who pointed towards problems with the property owner rather than business. Mike noted that they had a long run, almost 10 years at the 40th Avenue location and it was time to move on after their lease is up in January. Mike, however, knew very little about the new tenants, only that they had been one of many interested parties.

Very little information about Columbia River Brewing Co. is available at this point, only that a change of name and ownership has been filed on the space taking effect in January 2011. Knowledgeable residents of Portland may remember that Columbia River Brewing was the original name of Bridgeport Brewing Co., and was later the name used by a startup Gresham brewery that quickly failed and then became Port Halling, where Craig Nicholls (now owner of Roots Organic Brewing) honed his skills and founded the NAOBF. The Gresham brewery later became Main St. Brewing, and most recently was remodeled and renamed 4th St. Brewing.
As our tipster points out, this is almost certainly unrelated to any of those previous companies, but is an odd choice for a name when so many have used it and failed before. I’m curious whether the owners of the new company are aware of that name’s heritage or not?

It is unclear whether the closure of the original brewery will affect production of Laurelwood beers, but I must assume that we will see fewer seasonals and one-off beers. What is to happen to the brewing equipment on 40th Avenue? Will the new owners be purchasing it with the space? I put these questions in to Mike DeKalb, but have not received any answers yet.

If anyone has any more information on this, please contact me at: SamuraiArtist1 at gmail.com

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Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

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: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com

Discussion

  • Jeff Alworth
    Jeff Alworth
    Thu May 27, 2010 4:47 PM

    Nice sleuthing!

    • El.Hueso
      El.Hueso
      Thu May 27, 2010 4:57 PM

      Wasn’t there a brewery in the Laurelwood spot before they got it? Could be I’m remembering it wrong, which would not be unusual for me.

      • KeAloha
        KeAloha
        Thu May 27, 2010 5:30 PM

        This is sad if it limits the number of seasonal and one-offs from Laurelwood. They put out some awesome stuff at the old location like the amazing Helles. There were many weeks where I much preferred going to the pizza location than the new one.

        • Jim
          Jim
          Thu May 27, 2010 6:03 PM

          El.Hueso: There was a brewery in that spot before Laurelwood. the short-lived Old World Brewing. Christian Ettinger was the brewer there.

          • Barnacle Bill
            Barnacle Bill
            Thu May 27, 2010 6:37 PM

            Oh No! One less place for irresponsible parents to drink, get drunk and let the children run free to annoy the world. I feel so broken up about this! Oh well, there’s still the Sandy sight. Maybe the screaming children and drunk parents can keep that place open? ;-}

            Whoever Columbia Brewing is… I hope they drop a nice big corner booth in that old Laurelwood play area. :-0

            • Anonymous
              Anonymous
              Thu May 27, 2010 8:28 PM

              I have tried all of Columbia River brewing company’s beers, and as a beer lover i can honestly tell you that Portland is in for a new treat. They are unique and some of the best i have ever drank. To hear they’re coming to Portland is exciting.

              • Anonymous
                Anonymous
                Thu May 27, 2010 9:16 PM

                The brewer of Columbia River has won awards on his beer. There is nothing like his unique brewing style. Full flavor to satisfy any beer drinkers quench. This is EXCITING!!

                • Samurai Artist
                  Samurai Artist
                  Thu May 27, 2010 9:23 PM

                  Anonymous’ if you guys know something about this brewery please email me at samuraiartist1@gmail.com

                  I am confused about how you refer to it like it has been around but I can find nothing about it or who is behind it.

                  • Anonymous
                    Anonymous
                    Thu May 27, 2010 9:35 PM

                    Business registration is under the name Rick Burkhardt from Gladstone. http://egov.sos.state.or.us/br/pkg_web_name_srch_inq.show_detl?p_be_rsn=1456319&p_srce=BR_INQ&p_print=FALSE

                    • Samurai Artist
                      Samurai Artist
                      Thu May 27, 2010 9:42 PM

                      Yeah I am aware of that but it still has not gotten me anywhere. Needs a phone # or something.

                      • DOSiR
                        DOSiR
                        Fri May 28, 2010 2:38 AM

                        After the new 51st location… I have never gone back to the old spot. I will however remember it, and all the Boss IPA’s I had there. I always jumped from Laurelwood to the Kennedy school…. as it was a short distance. I am sure with their remodel of their NW location, their brand new Battleground location…. and existing killer 51st & Sandy location… there will still be plenty of seasonals.

                        Good luck to this new brewery… as great beers can be had next door at Moon & Six Pence… they are still there right?

                        Love the Gresham love too… 4th St. is still alive and kicking well… with fantastic beers. The Portland scene gives no credit out our way here in Gresham. Can’t tell me Demented Duck isn’t one of the best Ambers around!

                        • pooper scooper
                          pooper scooper
                          Fri May 28, 2010 6:29 AM

                          4th Street Brewing (gag)isn’t that owned by the people who own Philadelphia’s? (Gag twice) 😉

                          I heard all of Gresham is now Section 8 Housing, is that true? :-O

                          • Samurai Artist
                            Samurai Artist
                            Fri May 28, 2010 9:00 PM

                            Dosir,
                            you realize that the NW location and Battleground do not have breweries right? If anything there openings mean the beer is stretched thinner. While the 51st is the main brewery the 40th still produced a lot of the beer.

                            4th St. Amber Ale one of the best ambers? That is like saying Folgers is one of the best instant coffees.

                            • Anonymous
                              Anonymous
                              Sat May 29, 2010 9:45 PM

                              lil’ samurai, all in due time….

                              • Anonymous
                                Anonymous
                                Mon May 31, 2010 12:30 AM

                                Rumor has it that the new Brew Master for Columbia River Brewing CO. has studied under several old school European Brew Master and has family history in the beer making business dating back to the 6th and 9th centuries within the Christianized counties. Any truth to this? Sounds farfetched… but ya never know…

                                • Samurai Artist
                                  Samurai Artist
                                  Mon May 31, 2010 1:10 AM

                                  No offense anonymous but if you are related to Columbia River Brewing your not doing it any great service by leaving anonymous comments talking it up without any real info to back it up. Really it just seems childish and unprofessional. Also dont comment Anonymously on my blog. Anymore will be deleted. If you want to contact me about this email samuraiartist1@gmail.com

                                  • Anonymous
                                    Anonymous
                                    Sun Jun 6, 2010 6:09 AM

                                    Just another small family owned business being sucked up by idiots who know nothing.
                                    The laurelwood is a hands on pizza company which focuses on family and community. I feel like a part of a family when I come here.
                                    I hope the new owners know what they are doing!!!!! You have a big pair of shoes to fill.
                                    The employees of the Lauralwood work hard, have a great attitude and deserve good things.

                                    • Anonymous
                                      Anonymous
                                      Tue Jul 6, 2010 9:28 PM

                                      You know that’s the new owner commenting right?

                                      • Anonymous
                                        Anonymous
                                        Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:55 PM

                                        Re: Barnacle Bill – Go somewhere else. Laurelwood is one of th few places that a family can dine, have a drink and bring their kids. Selfish bastard.