As the summer weather seems to be coming to an end and the seasons begin to change, there is still no sign that the explosive growth of new craft breweries opening in Portland is slowing down. With at least a dozen new Portland-area breweries trying to open before the end of 2015, the rate only seems to be increasing. One big difference, though, is a movement toward contract and gypsy brewing, which has been commonplace across the world in the last five years, but not so much in Oregon. It looks like that’s about to change.
2015 has already had the openings of at least six new breweries in the city (of which I know): Culmination Brewing, Leikam Brewing, Back Pedal Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing PDX, Splash Bar and Montavilla Brew Works. You would think that the summer beer drinking boom or the earlier Craft Brewers Conference would have spurred many more breweries, but instead there is a glut of them, many of which have been delayed by city permitting and tax and trade bureau licensing.
Here is a preview of Portland’s next dozen new breweries:
Brewed by Gnomes
This is another example of a homebrewer going pro and of the increasingly common trend of startups contract brewing their beer to build capital before purchasing their own brewery. Brewed by Gnomes will focus on farmhouse ales and lagers using botanical and herbal ingredients. Some of the beers the brewery has been developing include a Red Fennel Ale, a Rose Cardamom Pale Ale, a Honeysuckle IPA, and a Belgian Herb and Spice Abbey Ale. Founder Shay Hosseinion was originally planning to open in the new Ford development across the street from APEX and Beermongers, but has shifted to a contract brewing and self-distribution angle to start off. He has not revealed where he will be contract brewing yet. Follow at https://www.facebook.com/brewedbygnomes
Coin Toss Brewing
Tim Holh (of KPAM radio fame)’s new 10bbl brewery in Oregon City is coming along nicely. You may have already tried his beers from Coin Toss Brewing, but they were previously brewed at Lucky Lab and there has not yet been a beer produced on the brewery’s own system. Installation is going well, though, and the build-out for a tasting room is also almost complete. We should soon be able to enjoy Coin Toss beers brewed in-house at the brewery’s own tasting room. Follow at https://www.facebook.com/CoinTossBrewing
Great Notion Brewing
This is the exciting new brewery project by James Dugan, Andy Miller, and Paul Reiter that is slowly taking over The Mash Tun on N. Alberta. The new owners have already taken over management of the 10 year old brewpub, but are awaiting TTB approval before they change over the name and can begin brewing their own beer. While they are waiting, though, they are not sitting idly by; they have cut the menu down to a manageable size and instead sourced more local and fresh ingredients. They have also added a kids area and are trying to run through all the beer from The Mash Tun. In doing so, they have freed up a couple of beers for great guest taps from the likes of Breakside and are working on making Mash Tun the beers their own. New brewer James Dugan said, “We filled Pinot barrels with a strong ale with cherries and brettanomyces. The cream ale went into barrels with peaches and my house sour culture. The stout is going into oak this week with 44 lbs of raspberries per barrel.” Cannot wait until these guys really get rolling, hopefully by the end of November when they can start brewing their own beers. Follow at https://www.facebook.com/greatnotionpdx
From the guys behind the local tank and brewery fabricating company Portland Kettleworks comes The Labrewatory. We reported on this new conceptually interesting brewpub concept back in March , 2015 and The Labrewatory even hosted an open-house party during the Craft Brewers Conference. That invitation-only party backfired, though, when the OLCC raided the brewery and accused it of selling beer before it had the licensing to do so, even though the owners and many party goers insisted all the beer was free. A month or so later The Labrewatory fought the OLCC and won the case. You would think then that the brewery would have made its estimated opening of June 2015, but no. With demand high for new brewhouse equipment, the Labrewatory guys have built and sold not one but two of their own brewhouses built for the Labrewatory. Owner Thad Fisco assures me that the new one is only about 2 weeks away from being finished and will definitely be the final one. It’s a 3.5bbl brewhouse and will have fifteen 3.5bbl fermentation tanks. The business model is similar to Portland U-Brew, aka Unicorn Brewing, where anyone can come in and guest brew their own beers, taking most of the kegs or bottles away to sell themselves but leaving a few behind for The Labrewatory tasting room. But instead of U-Brew’s homebrew focus, The Labrewatory hopes to attract professional brewers who want to try out recipes, as well as bars and restaurants who want to brew their own brands. The Labrewatory will have an in-house brewer to help oversee the operations and brew a couple of standard beers that can fill out the taps, namely an IPA and a rotating seasonal. The Labrewatory provides the equipment and base malts, while guests pick up their own specialty grains, adjuncts, and hops, but Labrewatory plans to feature different experimental varieties and have in-house yeast for its own beers. The plan is to have about fourteen taps running at all times–two house beers and the hopefully the rest from guest brewers. Thad describes the tasting room as an upscale but small 50 seat space that he hopes to open to the public in October of 2014. Follow at https://www.facebook.com/theLabrewatory
TBA Dan Peterson Brewery
This is perhaps the most mysterious brewery on the list, primarily because no one seems to know anything about it. All I know is that it will be headed up by Dan Peterson, the respected head brewer at pFriem Family Brewers over the last couple of years. Dan has left on good terms to head up a new brewing operation in the Portland area. Other than that, the only thing I know is that the ownership is behind local restaurants, bars, or hotels or something, and plan to open the own brewery to produce their own house made brews. Dan has been kind enough to return my calls but cannot confirm anything but that he will be helping open a Portland area brewery. No one else seems to know anything about this. We will keep our ears to the ground as usual.
One Nation Brewing
Perhaps the most delayed and most controversial brewery on this list is One Nation Brewing, announced on The New School back in January of 2015. This 10bbl production brewery and tasting room was scheduled to open in March in a warehouse space just on the other side of the block from The Beermongers. I have been periodically checking in with the brewer, DJ Moxley, who has assured me it’s moving along. Now I hear that due to problems getting the city to approve some of the plans, the team has brought in Craig Nichols of Turnkey Consulting, who thinks the brewery can get up and running in the next month. That’s not the only hold-up, though; rumor has it there are trademark problems with the name One Nation Brewing–not only does fellow Portland brewer Natian Brewing have a problem with it, but there may be just too many things with the word “Nation” in it. So, this brewery will likely have a different name when it opens.
This is a new German-influenced brewery taking the contract brewing approach to start out. Founded by experienced homebrewers with a love of German ales and lagers, Rosenstadt’s founders call inner southeast Portland their home but are brewing at Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub in Tigard. They already have their first batches in the bag (or tank) and you should be seeing them on tap in about 2 weeks. The first two beers are a Kolsch and a German-style Pale Ale using all German hops, yeast, and malts. Follow at https://www.facebook.com/rosenstadtbrewery and http://www.rosenstadtbrewery.com/
Ross Island Brewing
As we already reported, Ex-Alameda brewmaster Carston Haney is off on his own new venture entitled Ross Island Brewing, set to open on SE Powell near the Ross Island Bridge. I checked in with Carson and he is busy building out the space for a brewery and finishing the floors for the future tasting room. He has his eye on a couple brew systems on the market and is proceeding on schedule to hopefully be open before the end of the year. Follow at https://www.facebook.com/RossIslandBrewingCo
Shaun Kalis has been homebrewing for many years and working on funding his own brewery, which will finally begin to get off the ground with an alternating proprietorship at Culmination Brewing. This means that he will be able to brew 20 barrels of his own beer per month on Culmination Brewing’s system and release it under his own name, Ruse Brewing, on a self distributed, draft-only basis. Hopefully this will lead to him obtaining his own space and brewpub that he opens to operate as a live music venue. Shaun has spent time at Old Market Brewery with Culmination founder Tomas Sluiter and has been with McMenamins for years, where he now books the bands at the White Eagle. Ruse Brewing will focus on Saisons, IPAs, and barrel-aged mixed culture wild ales. Shaun already has keg shells and has obtained and is filling 6 Burgundy oak barrels from Violin Wine outside of Salem. Ruse Brewing’s main beers will be IPA, Dry-Hopped Saison, and a Black Saison with mixed culture wild ales in specialty limited edition bottle releases. If all goes as planned, Ruse Brewing’s beers should become available in October. For more info and to follow the progress: www.rusebrewing.com and https://www.facebook.com/rusebrewing
Zoiglhaus aka z-Haus Brewery
One of the most ambitious new startups comes from Alan Taylor of Pints Brewing and his new business partner Chad Rennaker, who also owns Ponderosa Brewing in Albuquerque, NM, where Alan oversees brewing operations. With Zogilhaus, Alan Taylor takes the lead with Chad as a partner who also ambitiously plans to reinvigorate the Lents neighborhood in outer southeast Portland with new housing developments and shops.
Zoiglhaus–aka Z-Haus Brewery–is pretty ambitious itself, taking over the former Ararat bakery space. With grant assistance from the city, this will be a 10bbl brewpub with a large restaurant, banquet/events room, a brewing library, offices, and plenty of room to even expand that among its 3 floors. Zoiglhaus main floor has a large bar as a centerpiece with a beautiful skylight that lightens the entire room. Half of the floor will be family-friendly and the other half 21+. There will be a kids play area, a couple of TVs, a communal group seating table, and an emphasis on its namesake, the traditional Zoigle houses of Germany you can read about here. In that tradition they have already invited other brewers like the upcoming Aletruism Brewing (which could technically be the 13th brewery on this list) to produce on the brew system. The food menu will also follow in traditional German pub and family dining concepts, with nods towards local staples like burgers, salads, and other sandwiches. Zoiglhaus is being built out at a blistering pace and plans to open the pub in mid-September 2015 with beers from Pints Brewing and the house brewery coming online by the end of October. Follow at https://www.facebook.com/zoiglhaus
Charlie Devereux photo by 1859 Magazine
TBA Charlie Devereux Brewery
Ever since Charlie Devereux left Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River, the brewery he helped co-found, there has been speculation about what he would do next. While he is still keeping secretive on the details, we know he has a new brewpub planned for inner southeast industrial district. The focus will be on food and German-style ales, with well-known restaurant and chef partners on board and a GABF medal winning brewer in tow. This will probably be the most anticipated opening of the bunch and we plan to have the announcement on name, location, and brewer in the next few weeks.
TBA Splash/Indio Spirits Brewery
We learned about this brewery from partner Chris Lenahan of the new Splash Bar & Brewery. Apparently the guys of Portland’s suburban Indio Spirits are teaming with Lee Medoff of Bull Run Distilling and Chris to open a 10bbl production brewery somewhere on the west site. Supposedly the space is locked in and will have a large barrel-room for aging beer in spirits (and vice versa), as well as a tasting room with beer garden and food carts. The location is uncertain but is supposed to be revealed anytime now.