You don’t see a lot of hard-to-pronounce Laht Neppur Brewing in Oregon unless you attend larger beer festivals like the OBF or Holiday Ale Fest, where they make their presence known. That’s going to change, though, with the opening of a new 30 bbl production brewery in Oregon.
(Pictured: Ron Standring on the left and Gerald Barthel on the right in front of the new tanks)
Don’t bother trying to properly pronounce the name of the small 3.5 barrel brewer; the name is simply owner Court Ruppenthal’s last name spelled backwards. Based out of Waitsburg, Washington, the brewery is perhaps mostly known for its odd name and, at least to me, for its desserty fruit beers like Strawberry Cream Ale and Peach Hefeweizen, both which use real fruit juice not extracts. They have also had some success in competitions with awards from the North American Beer Awards and the Washington Beer Commission. The Beervana Buzz blog has a nice writeup about the brewery’s home in Washington and its history: http://www.beervanabuzz.com/2012/10/laht-neppur-mixes-great-beer-with-rural.html
I was surprised to learn that the brewery supplies both the popular Alehouse in downtown Walla Walla and bottles and kegs to Oregon and Washington from such a tiny system. Sure enough, the brewery has been maxed out and trying to open an expansion, but like many others has been held up by the TTB now for 6 months (and the current shutdown will make it longer). The new production brewery will be located in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, just 8 or so miles across the state border from Walla Walla. The Milton-Freewater brewery is installing a 30bbl brewhouse with both used and new equipment. Founder and Brewer Court Ruppenthal tells me, “the kettle came out of the Moke River Brewery about 7 years ago, and we picked the mash tun up from Grand Teton Brewing last January. They had been using it for 15 years, so it has quite the proven track record. The two 60bbl fermenters are new and were produced by Marks Design over in Vancouver. We have an assortment of dairy tanks, fermenters and conditioners to round everything out. Plus, a new Meheen six head bottler to do our bombers.”
The new facility will brew more of the year round beers Peach Hefeweizen, IPA, Scotch Ale, Strawberry Cream Ale, Porter, and Backseat Blonde, and package them as well. That frees up the original brewery to do more one-offs and seasonals. The owners also hope to eventually do growler fills at the new brewery, though there will not be a taproom. Keep your eye out for more of Laht Neppur’s beers, available in Oregon from General Distributors.