The 2014 class of new breweries is looking promising with Baerlic Brewing joining the already craft beer dense inner southeast Portland neighborhood. You may have heard about the new brewery and tasting room steps away from The Commons Brewery, but you probably have not heard their story.
Ben Parsons and Rik Hall have been friends for 18 years, homebrewers for the last 7-8, and business partners in the new Baerlic Brewing startup for the last 2. As homebrewers and in both of their professional careers, they both work with their hands–Rik has been a bike mechanic and store manager at the same company for a decade, while Ben worked in branding for a hot design/manufacturing company called OMFGCo. Like most homebrewers, they dreamed of leaving their day jobs to pursue their hobby as a full-time career, and over the last 2 and a 1/2 years,hatched their plans to make it a reality.
Baerlic Brewing has followed a similar trajectory to its contemporary, Ex Novo Brewing, another startup brewery in construction phase. Both breweries originally planned to open in the newly renovated building on SE 11th and Division, yet both fell through. Luckily, both have found even better homes. Baerlic’s is just a few blocks down the street, sharing the same building with Blitz Ladd in the previous home of the late and lamented Kettleman’s Bagels, and the later, not-so-missed Einstein Bros. Bagels. Who knew that this space was so expansive? Yes, it has a great, moderately busy neighborhood storefront with a handful of seats, but the building actually stretches a ways west to reveal huge skylights and a walk-in cooler, large truck size roll-up doors and loading zone in the rear of the building, and even a 2nd floor office.
After tearing out cheap counters, tables, and booths Rik and Ben are really getting their hands dirty cutting concrete and building their own mill room for grains. Meanwhile, a 10 barrel brewhouse, perfect for a brewpub/taproom of this size, is waiting delivery. With the owners’ hands-on skills, they plan to build the space out as far out as the city allows without hiring contractors. Opening with 3 fermenters and one brite tank to pair with the 10bbl brewhouse, I expect they will want to add more tanks soon after opening in this popular neighborhood already the home of The Commons Brewery, The Beermongers, and APEX. Luckily, they have plenty of room to open up the roof and drop in more, even much larger tanks in the future. The backdoor loading dock is going to be great for deliveries and self-distribution of their draft-only beers.
Speaking of their beers, you won’t see any specific styles or trends. As homebrewers, these guys like to experiment and hope to keep the opening 10 draft lines mixed up with 2 or so guest taps and 8 of their own. “Things like barrel fermented cream ale in a sour barrel, single hop beer flights that come from the same base wort, yeast trials, and so on. So that will help keep things interesting and ever-changing,” reveals Ben. They had just started pilot batch brewing before my visit the other day, and while sipping on a Hopworks IPA discussed their vision for a quiet cozy neighborhood friendly taproom with a small food menu that welcomed drinkers to stay awhile. Don’t expect TVs; their neighbors at Blitz have more than enough of them. You should expect warm wood, a view of their barrel-room and of the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood, along with fine ales, open 6 days a week.
(Rik and Ben in front of the future barrel-aging room view from the taproom)
2235 SE 11th Ave
Though the space does not look like much now, a lot of the hard work is done and awaiting city permits. Baerlic Brewing could be open by early May.
Portland, OR 97214