“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.
A third generation 100+ year old 50-acre fruit farm in Mt. Hood’s town of Parkdale, Oregon is launching a brewery next month. Mt. View Brewing is part of Mt. View Orchards family, a fruit stand and farm operation that makes wine under the Grateful Vineyard label and produces their own Golden Row Ciders in-house. It may be the first company in Oregon to produce all three classic fermented beverages.
Katrina McAlexander owns the farm and all of it’s separate but related options that include a beautiful wedding venue, small restaurant cafe service and fermentation facility. Mt. View grows apples, pears, cherries and more, they also have young rows of riesling, pinot noir, pinot gris, gamay noir, and cab franc grape vines. The house wines of Grateful Vineyard are made by McAlexander’s cousin Adam Campbell at Elk Cove Vineyards.
“It was my farming goal from the beginning when I bought the farm from my parents in 2014 to weave together farming, fermentation and hospitality,” says McAlexander. “I saved up 200 a month since the age of 23 to buy my families land one day and worked at a Nurse Practitioner in PDX for 15 years before I moved back to carry on the families farming legacy.”
McAlexander has a vision to combine her love of hospitality while showcasing the fruits of the farms labor right there on-site. Mt. View and Grateful Vineyard is a destination spot off the beaten path, having a brewery that sells beer primarily at their own space will add to that draw.
Christopher Vincenzo is the cidermaker for Golden Row and will also be the brewer behind Mt. View Brewing. Vincenzo has been a homebrewer for 7 years, the type that geeks out on water chemistry, spunding, and closed trasfers, in other words: process, process, process.
Vincenzo was running Hood River Draft Services and commuting to Portland for 5 years before entering the fermentation biz. He specialized in draft system installs and maintenance, rented jockey boxes and c02 for festivals and weddings. Then one day, Vincenzo was hired to install the draft system at the Grateful Vineyard tasting room and while he was there, asked if they needed help making cider.
“She [McAlexander] said she did but wanted to know if I was interested in designing a brewery for her and brewing beer, which I jumped at,” says Vincenzo.
“I have been selling a lot of our fruit (peaches, plums, sour cherries) to local breweries for the past 5 years at wholesale,” says McAlexander. “I thought when we pursued permitting for our winery/cidery that we should also start our permitting for our farm brewery as well.”
To tighten up his skills and prepare for a new career in brewing, Vincenzo attended a brewery immersion course at Big Choice Brewing in Brighton, Colorado. There he got to brew on their 7bbl brewhouse and got a crash course in brewery operations.
“I was the kind of [home] brewer who brewed the same beer over and over again, making small adjustments and taking careful notes, until I had everything dialed in,” says Vincenzo. “So right off the bat I can say that I will brewing beers that I have been brewing for years.”
Mt. View’s brewery and cidery operations share a building across from the Grateful Vineyards tasting room. Cider and brewery production are separated by a wall and are designed for small 4bbl production to serve their own taproom and wedding/event venue.
Vincenzo says his initial lineup of beers will be a classic copper colored and citrusy IPA. A rotating hopped pale ale. A Czech-style 4% lager. An American Stout that relies on roasted barley and late hopping. And a malt forward Amber Ale with pale and chocolate malts that keep the hops in the distant background.
Fruit will feature heavily into Vincenzo’s future plans, beginning with kettle soured beers that will then be aged in barrels on fruit. Mt. View plans to consult with more experienced mixed culture brewers to develop a more wild farmhouse program as the brewery develops. McAlexander even hopes to distill fruit brandy including peach, pear, apple and kirsch (cherry) at some point.
The farm tasting room features four Golden Row ciders available by the glass, flight, bottle or growler at the tasting room. All the ciders utilize the Newtown Pippin apples grown right there at the orchard. The apples are pressed in-house and fermented and then back sweetened wit the same base. From there Vincenzo layers in single fruits for a blackberry cider, cranberry, peach and single-apple semi-sweet showcase of the Pippon’s.
The wine, cider and soon brewery tasting room features a small farm-to-table kitchen serving pizza’s, salads, sandwiches and snack plates. The bright, high ceiling space has tall windows that look out onto the orchards with an incredible view of Mt. Hood. It’s a beautiful space with a huge lawn patio where you can sit outside on adirondack chairs in the grass or by an outdoor/indoor fireplace while sipping wine, cider, and soon beer.
Mt. View Brewing will release their first beers at a Spring Beer Release Party on Saturday, March 21st at the tasting room. The Grateful Vineyard/Mt View Brewing tasting room is open 7 days a week at 6650 Trout Creek Ridge Rd, Mt Hood, OR 97041. The location is just a 5 minute drive from Solera Brewery or 24 minutes from Hood River, OR.
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.