Punk rock brews aren’t dead yet! Mike Hunsaker of Fat Head’s Brewing fame is bringing his aggressive, anti-establishment brews to the establishment in opening the new punk and metal themed “Grains of Wrath Brewing.” Mike has made a name for himself in Oregon, surprising locals with his clean, bitter, beautiful, yet bold IPAs, while also succeeding with lagers, barrel-aged beers, and a GABF gold medal-winning Blitzkrieg Bock. Now he’s moving his skills to Camas, Washington, to open a new 10 barrel brewpub that will focus on kicking the shit out of the whitebread locals’ palates (my words, not his).
Hunsaker will be partnering with Brendan Greenen, owner of Caps N’ Taps taproom in Camas, and downtown Camas business owners Shawn Parker and Brendan Ford. Mike is also bringing back his former cellar manager. Owen Lamb, who had returned to Ohio to run the Fat Head’s production brewery cellar, will be returning to be the #2 man at Grains of Wrath. Owen has some renown for his skills in barrel-aging. Also, to head up the kitchen they are bringing in Fabiola Ponce-Wyatt (wife of Jackson Wyatt of NWIPA fame) as Executive Chef. Fabiola is a South Park Kitchen alum who also spent time as the souse chef at Roman Candle.
Mike Hunsaker at his Grains of Wrath Brewing before the buildout begins
In more amazing news, Mike has been able to secure membership into an exclusive hop trial club from HopUnion that lets some smaller breweries have an early crack at new developing test hop varieties that are usually hard to find and only offered to the big boys. That kind of access and a continued focus on the beers that, Mike says, “I’ve become known for, especially IPAs and hop-forward beers, plus German and Belgian style beers,” is good news for hopheads and lovers of clean, refined beers like we see from Breakside and pFriem.
Grains of Wrath Brewing’s interior pre-build out. Photo by Michael Perozzo
Grains of Wrath Brewing is just beginning buildout of a 1930s industrial space that’s been a dealership and tire and auto repair store. It will end up being a full restaurant and brewery with liquor, a small but creative gastropub menu, and the kind of “raw, industrial feel with eclectic music genres ranging from metal to punk to old school hip-hop,” says Mike. That’s far from the bright, colorful, kiddie-like decor of Fat Head’s that some despise, but instead will be more like the breweries where Mike was raised. “I grew up in Chicago, so breweries like 3 Floyds and Surly Brewing were huge influences in the beer styles I enjoyed, as well as their attitude. ” Grains of Wrath will include a small, well-curated liquor bar to complement the beers.
The brewhouse will be familiar to Mike; it’s almost exactly the same as the JVNW brewhouse he’s been brewing on at Fat Head’s PDX, with a few of his own tweaks. It’s a 10 barrel, 3 vessel brewhouse that will get off the ground with eight 20 bbl fermenters and eight 20bbl serving tanks. “It’s the same equipment I use here at Fat Heads and really love it. JV makes some of the best equipment available,” says Hunsaker, continuing, “I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve once we get the system dialed in.”
The biggest question, why Camas? Already ingrained in the Portland beer scene, it will be sad to see Mike to switch teams to Washington. On switching sides of the river: “Portland has been very good to me and is the best beer culture in the country.” The love for Oregon is obvious, but perhaps the draw to the Vantucky area was too open a market to resist.
Mike Hunsaker after winning Gold at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival
“Camas is a great town. I’ve lived in far SE Vancouver, Camas, and now in Washougal since I moved to the NW, and I really like the area. My partners are all either from here or live here as well. If you’ve never been to downtown Camas, you’d enjoy the vibrant downtown with a lot of small, locally owned businesses. I also see a large amount of people who really enjoy craft beer and I believe they are always looking for exciting new options and believe we can help contribute to the quality of the fast growing Clark County beer scene.”
Don’t worry, though; Portland will still see Grains of Wrath beers in some form, with limited distribution outside of the pub. “I’ll believe it’s very important to keep a presence in Portland… I hope customers there will still support me once I’ve left Portland proper, but I’m only 20 miles away.”
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