At 25, Sarah Resnick is undoubtedly one of Oregon’s youngest brewers, and she has quickly risen up the ranks to become the head brewer at Freebridge Brewing in The Dalles after less than two years experience. Resnick moved to Portland from the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, Illinois to attend Reed College. While working on a degree in Biology, she made ends meet with a job at Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom on SE Division. Then in 2015 she moved to Hood River to take a job at Wyeast Laboratories and learned the Quality Control side of brewing operations. From there she moved to Syncline Winery in Lyle, Washington, before interning at Logsdon Farmhouse Ales. “My path into brewing has really been anything but linear,” says Resnick, who logged an impressive early resume in very little time before ending up at Freebridge Brewing in April of 2016. “From there, it became my mission to explore as many sides of the brewing industry as I could.”
Starting out as a part-time cellarman (or cellarwoman), she did everything from cleaning tanks to running pumps under the wing of the head brewer, who taught her how to brew on the 10 barrel system, and by June of 2016 she was brewing batches of flagship beers on her own. After the Freebridge head brewer later left to pursue another gig and owner Steven Light took on some brewing duties and needed help, Resnick has stepped up into the primary head brewer role.
This is chapter eight in a monthly-ish series in which we check in with brewers on what they are drinking, eating, enjoying and what’s currently bubbling away in their fermenters.
Q: What are your favorite beers right now? (Freebridge or other)
Sarah Resnick: Living in Hood River, I am heavily saturated with Pfriem beer, including one-offs like their new Juicy Winter Ale. It’s negligibly hazy, but juicy indeed. Since working in the winery, I have admittedly become fascinated with wine and seeking out value from top quality producers at accessible prices. Basque wine. Loire Valley wine. Greek wine. Drink it. And there is a pack of Rainiers ever present in my house, just in case one gets a hankering for a Columbia Gorge brewing industry favorite, Rainiers with Limes.
Q: What’s it like to be brewing in The Dalles and what other places do you like there for food and drink?
SR: Freebridge Brewing is the first business to hold a brewing license since Prohibition, and is located in the Abraham Lincoln-approved mint building, which was to serve as a safe destination for gold mined in Eastern Oregon. Brewing in the Dalles often means engaging several generations of long-standing community members to drink something different than they ever have. Right now, I brew solid classic styles to show our community that craft can be approachable, comfortable, familiar, and worth supporting. Outside of Freebridge, The Dalles has a good taproom in Liberty Tapworks, and is also the home to my closest Burgerville if I am ever patient enough to wait in the longest drive-through lines I have ever seen.
Q: What is the most interesting or exciting thing going on in The Dalles or in that general area?
SR: Well, my partner and I really like throwing holiday parties, and have heard them described as both “interesting” and “exciting”. There is also a $1.25 bowling night at Orchard Lanes. And bars are open until 9 PM this time of year if you’re trying to get wild.
But actually, our Brewers of the Gorge group meetings boast some impressive homebrewers, and these days, is attended by equally as many, if not more commercial brewers. When I worked in beer in Portland, I noticed that beer folks tended to self-select into smaller coalitions in search of community, limiting the diversity of each of those smaller groups. What we gain from our small numbers here in the Gorge, is a closer-knit, and more diverse beer industry across all careers, genders, experience, and age. The best bars in the Gorge? My friends’ living rooms.
Q: What is new or fresh on tap right now at Freebridge?
SR: My first complete recipe is on tap right now! I made a Schwarzbier, and I am pretty happy with it. I have also been updating some of the flagship beers to reflect my and broader tastes in styles like IPA and IRA.
Q: What beers do you have in the tanks right now or in the works to be made?
SR: In tanks right now we have a new batch of Pulpit Rock Pilsner, which won a silver medal at OBA last year. I made some slight recipe changes hoping to keep that momentum rolling into this year! I would love to brew a Vienna lager in the new year, and maybe a new Pale focusing on juicy, integrated hop character.
710 E 2nd St, The Dalles, OR 97058