The remarkable history of beer is revealed in artifacts thousands of years old discovered in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. Brewpub history is a recent gift to North America from Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Credit goes to the Pacific Northwest for the history of craft beer brewpubs from day-one.
That history will be on display Thursday, November 14th, 7-9 PM, at Falling Sky Pizzeria, located in the U of O EMU Student Union, with the screening of The North American Brewing Renaissance, a 23 minute documentary. Paul Hadfield, owner of Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub & GuestHouses in Victoria, BC, will headline the event. A second 9 minute film to be shown that evening documents Spinnakers in 1987. Suggested donation $5.00, food and beverage available for purchase.
In Vancouver, BC, John Mitchell became the grandfather of the craft brewing industry in Canada with the founding of a brewery near his Troller Pub in 1982. Under BC law at the time, a pub and brewery could not be contiguous. When Mitchell and Hadfield became business partners they lobbied for provincial and national laws to be changed. They succeeded, and Spinnakers opened in 1984 with the brewery and pub in the same building. It is now the oldest operating brewpub in Canada. Mitchell passed away at 89 in June of 2019 leaving behind a wonderful legacy.
A bag of Cascade hops circled the earth 128 times aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1982. Astronaut Bill Readdy, a homebrewer, eventually made the hops available to Spinnakers for a special brew. Cascade hops were developed in Corvallis, OR in 1956, becoming an agricultural success and brewing phenomenon that continues today.
There is no doubt that some of the best beers in America were being made in Oregon by homebrewers long before brewpubs became legal in America. A chartered tour bus carrying homebrewers from Oregon made a special trip to Spinnakers in 1986. It might be a good guess that some of those homebrewers are now publicans themselves. The first American brewpub, Yakima Brewing and Malting Co., opened in Yakima, WA in 1982.
Homebrewer and filmmaker Mike Dilley saw brewpubs as a miracle in the making and set out to document the unfolding events. He began brewing after a family member gave him a dog-eared copy of Henley’s Twentieth Century Formulas, Processes and Trade Secrets. “Beer” begins on page 118 in this 1942 edition. If beer doesn’t float your boat, there are almost 10,000 other formulas in this book. It is a must-have for Cascadia earthquake survivalists.
The North American Brewing Renaissance will introduce the audience to the brewers that kaunched the brewpub experience – from Portland, to Yakima, through Seattle and into Vancouver and Victoria, BC, with other stops along the way. This is the only known documentary footage of the first brewpubs from that era. Shot on 16mm film, it premiered at the 1987 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO. A digital restoration will be shown at Falling Sky Pizzeria.
Research links. https://fallingskybrewing.com/ http://www.spinnakers.com https://trolleralehouse.com
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.