“I wake up kind of angry every day, but we gotta get over that and look forward to a brighter future,” says Dan Hart, co-owner of Prost, Mississippi Marketplace, Stammtisch, Bantam Tavern and Interurban.
Once simply known as “The Feed Store” by locals (and still occasionally referred to as such), downtown Cottage Grove’s Brewstation / Coast Fork Feed store has begun brewing on a nano-sized system as Coast Fork Brewing. Owner Emily Rinck, who took over the backyard farm store six years ago, let the community guide her decision to evolve the business the way it has.
“We try to have the business pay for its own ventures,” says Rinck. That mindset is why she and brewer and Brewstation beer buyer Stephen Mathys opted for a 1-barrel direct-fired brewhouse from Stout Tanks. They walled off a small section of the feed store and put the system on a rack, installed a sink, and prepped two- and 3.5-barrel unitanks for service.
At press time, the fermentors were full and all necessary licensing was in place. Rinck could not give a specific release date for the beer, as they want to make sure it’s up to their standards before the public gets a taste. “We’re not in a rush, we’re just educating ourselves on the system right now.”
Rinck’s long-time friend, Stephen Hughes, co-founder of ColdFire Brewing and a Cottage Grove native, helped passivate the new stainless and has offered advice along the way. Hughes pointed out that “we’re entering an age where a brewery belongs to a village or town,” which is why the business is an important addition to Cottage Grove (pop. ~10,000). The community seems to agree, as the bar and patio are well-occupied and patrons are on a first name basis with the staff.
Mathys has been the beer buyer for the Brewstation since 2014, and has been a homebrewer for nearly three decades. He will split his time between the office, pub, and brewery, keeping his finger on the local pulse. “After five years of watching what people come in and drink, [Cottage Grove] is an IPA town, but this town has a ‘cult of red.’ So we’re gonna do an Irish Red first.” A Kölsch and IPA are set to follow. Rinck has been making cider and brewing beer for about a decade, and is learning the system along with Mathys.
Originally an offshoot of the feed store, the Brewstation was a homebrew supply store with some beer on tap for growler sales. Customers could sip samples while shopping for malt and hops. Proper licensing to do pint sales took place just a couple years ago to meet demand. Beer enthusiasts showed up.
Now, it is a popular locals hangout and serves a range of beer on tap, boasts a case of classic imported bottles, and serves a locally-sourced menu of pub food. There is live music and other events regularly throughout the week, as well as special beer events like Oktoberfest. The front patio is well appointed with greenery and umbrella-shaded tables, and is an excellent place to enjoy a beer.
Now that there is house-brewed beer on the way, Rinck plans to renovate the bar to feature a draught tower of Coast Fork’s beer, but Mathys will also keep a solid selection of guest craft beer and cider on tap. “Our customers appreciate our rotating beer lineup,” says Rinck. Until demand dictates more change, the batches will remain small and will only be sold in-house. __
Coast Fork Brewing 106 S 6th St Cottage Grove, OR 97424 541-942-8770
PUB HOURS: Mon – Thurs, 11-9 Fri – Sat, 11-11 Sun, 12-6 All ages until 8:30pm coastforkfeed.com
Aaron Brussat is a complex living organism with an interest in all things fermented. He started writing about and working in the beer industry in 2010. His experience stems primarily from spending six years at The Bier Stein as a beer steward, homebrewing since 2005, and passing the BJCP and Certified Cicerone exams. Highlights along the way include numerous collaborations with local brewers, curating beer dinners at The Bier Stein, and traveling to Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Peru, and New Zealand (as well as many parts of the U.S.) for a chance to drink beer at the source.