By Anthony St. Clair
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Sam Draper Eslinger’s grandmother passed away in 2004 and he was supposed to follow family tradition and pass down his middle name, which was his grandmother’s maiden name. However, he didn’t have any kids. After relocating from California to Oregon’s Umpqua Valley in 2010 to start a brewery, he realized what to do.
“I could pass on the name by naming the brewery after her,” says Eslinger. From there, Draper Brewing opened its doors to the public on July 1, 2012. It was a different time in the city of about 22,000. While many breweries now call Roseburg home, when Draper opened the only major craft beer presence in town was the McMenamins Roseburg Station Pub & Brewery.
With flagships Chocolate Porter, Cream Ale and IPA, Draper also focuses on sours and barrel-aged beers. Eslinger sees Roseburg’s citizens and tourists as ready for beers inspired by brewing traditions from all over the world, but bringing palate-pushing beers to a small city is the latest bend in the road for Eslinger’s brewing journey.
Growing up in Northern California, he was working in construction in Sacramento, Calif. at the start of the 21st century when he “started enjoying beers I couldn’t afford.” A co-worker homebrewed and shared advice. “I decided to start making hefeweizens and such that I enjoyed but couldn’t really afford,” says Eslinger. “So I got into homebrewing, started reading books, got really passionate about it.”
During 2002–2003, an injury and rehab forced Eslinger to consider big life changes.
“I realized I wanted to make beer.”
Still working construction during the day, Eslinger attended night school for classes that would help him qualify for the American Brewers Guild. He also started doing cellar work at BJs, who hired him as a brewer after he completed his training.
“I was fresh out of school, a beer nerd. They knew I was frothing at the bit to brew something I could put my name on,” says Eslinger. “They were already barrel aging, so they got some in, gave me seven beers, some barrels and some fruit, and told me to blend and age and run with it.”
After a stint at Lost Coast Brewery, Eslinger was ready to go out on his own. His family had acquired 30 acres in Tenmile, and he could set up shop there. Despite being a California boy who was moving to Oregon, he saw opportunity. “The town I grew up in was an old logging town, and Roseburg is an old logging town, so it wasn’t a stretch.”
There was also an untapped market. “Everyone else has come after me. It’s crazy how many we have here now compared to when I started.”
Earlier in his homebrewing journey, Eslinger had dabbled in barrel aging but had to give it up while living in the Humboldt County area. Relocating to Umpqua Valley’s wine country restored access to wine barrels. With much interest in the brew-it-if-you-got-it traditions of Belgian farmhouse ales, Eslinger was also inspired by the 25 plum, apple and pear trees that had been planted by the original homesteaders in 1949. “Forty feet from the brewery are all these fruit trees,” he concluded. “Made sense not to waste it.”
In addition to the flagships, Eslinger brews seasonal beers, such as summery Blueberry Wheat Ale. He prides himself on brewing any style, but Eslinger’s heart is with Draper’s Renaissance Series of barrel-aged and sour beers. He consults local winemakers for suggestions on using fruits and barrels for limited-release beers. Many Renaissance beers also are fermented with Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, and/or Brettanomyces, and barrel condition for at least one year.
Eslinger’s tastes lean toward “more esoteric beers,” and he knows that can be a challenge. “When I opened, I didn’t intend on making an IPA,” he explains. “First account I got said I was crazy if I didn’t make an IPA. Now that pale ale is one of my biggest sellers. You can’t walk away from it.”
Draper’s flagship beers provide a gateway into other offerings. “If you just have esoteric, it’s harder to tell if the brewer can make good beer. But if they have a regular pale ale or cream ale, and it’s good and clean, that proves to people that I can make good, clean beer. It gives the customer a barometer of trust, and they can work their way up to trying the different, more esoteric stuff.”
The inaugural 1-barrel system is now a 7-barrel system, but Eslinger jokes that “my brewery’s not modern by any standard.” Equipment in the 2,400-square-foot brewery includes open primary fermenters and closed conditioning tanks, a mix of gear from a now-defunct area brewery and even a repurposed dairy tank from 1956. Draper’s 2015 production was approximately 200 barrels, and the same is expected for 2016. Current distribution is primarily local, with some accounts in Eugene and Portland.
Draper’s 3,500-square-foot tasting room is located in a registered historic building constructed in 1908. With seating for up to 40 people, there is live music and other events throughout the month. In addition to Draper bottled and draft beers, the tasting room curates a selection of 60 sour ales and European imports. “We go out of our way to educate — help people try beers they haven’t tried.”
To increase Draper’s sour production — and protect flagship beers from potential cross-contamination — Eslinger recently constructed a new 480-square-foot sauerhouse at the Tenmile brewery for blending and barrel storage. The two facilities also help him plan Draper’s future and increased distribution.
Eslinger knows his tastes can be a challenge for the market, but he looks ahead with the same confidence that brought him to believe he could start an esoteric craft brewery in a small city. “I’d like to see the market go more and more in that direction. I go to San Diego, Sacramento, Portland … I see it going that way.” And he’ll have Draper at that forefront, pushing the public’s palate.
[a] 640 SE Jackson St., Roseburg
By Anthony St. Clair
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Smaller urban areas are seeing a rise of craft beer, often alongside a rise of artisanal local food. Manny and Olivia Anaya, founders and owners of Salud Restaurant and Brewery in downtown Roseburg, wanted to build on their deep roots in the community where they grew up, but they wanted some flare in the food — and craft beer in the glass. So the husband-and-wife team decided to bring Latin-inspired food, paired with house craft beers, to the 22,000 citizens of their small city, located about an hour south of Eugene off I-5.
“When guests enter Salud, they come as strangers and leave as our friends,” says Manny Anaya, which makes sense given the name he chose. Meaning “to your health,” salud is a common toast in many Latin and Hispanic countries, and Anaya describes Salud’s atmosphere as “created for laughter and relaxation.” The small restaurant and brewery offers appetizers, tapas, specialty entrees, tacos and desserts. Beverages include Umpqua Valley wines, craft beers, house margaritas, mojitos and mules. In addition to being family friendly, Salud also features SNL, but not the one you might be expecting. Salud Night Life brings in local musicians, bands and DJs with happy hour specials.
“We consider ourselves Spanish-fusion cuisine,” explains Anaya. “We take fresh ingredients, add some interesting spice, use some old-school-meets-new-school recipes, we take our time and we end up making some really amazing food.”
Ten employees work alongside the Anayas, including brewer Sean Vincent. From a family who owned restaurants, Vincent began as a homebrewer and evolved into professional brewing. Together with the Anayas, Vincent develops beers on Salud’s 1-barrel system with what Anaya describes as “uncommon and unique ingredients.” That could be tamarind in a triple IPA or Mexican chocolate in a stout. “The first beers we made were our Ab-Salud-Ly IPA and our Dusk ‘til Dawn Mexican chocolate stout,” says Anaya. “We literally brewed that beer from dusk ‘til dawn that first batch.”
The recently released spring and summer menu features a large selection of tapas and continues evolving Salud’s offerings: saffron clams cooked in a creamy coconut milk broth, duck tostadas cooked in traditional French confit, lobster ceviche served with handmade chips and lichen skewers dusted with cumin and cinnamon, served with a house-made crema. An imperial red ale is about to be released and fresh mint is being brought in daily for mojito season, which “is in full effect.”
Patrons can also sign up for Salud’s Familia Membership. In addition to receiving a custom 64-ounce growler with name and member number, members of Familia gain access to special events and deals, including tap takeovers, dinner pairings, beer debuts, discounts on merchandise and growler fills, and admission to private parties on holidays like Halloween, New Year’s Eve and Salud’s anniversary.
Anaya came from a restaurant background. “My parents, aunts and uncles have many successful Mexican restaurants here in Oregon,” says Anaya. “I worked for my family for about 12 years helping them manage their restaurants with the goal to one day have a place of my own.”
He and his wife evaluated properties and kept an eye on local opportunities. When the right space came along in downtown, among a growing scene of local shops, eateries, and other small breweries and taphouses, the Anayas jumped on it. After four months of remodeling, Salud opened its doors to the public in 2014.
“My wife has been a great partner in all of this,” says Anaya. “She works full-time as an operating room nurse here in town and has helped me get this dream of mine together. We collaborate on menus and work closely on our wine and beer pairing dinners. We both have always had a passion for handmade delicious food and good craft beer. Our best dates have been exploring cities one bite at a time.”
As Salud gains popularity, the couple are looking ahead for how they might grow the brewery. Beer, though, will remain in-house for now. “We love showcasing and pairing our food and beer together to create the whole dining experience,” explains Anaya.
Salud also reaches out to the broader community and is there for the ups and downs. In the aftermath of the October 2015 shooting at Umpqua Community College, Salud teamed up with four other local breweries (Backside Brewing Co., Draper Brewing, Old 99 Brewing Co. and Two-Shy Brewing), plus Hop Valley Brewing Co. in Eugene/Springfield, to create an ale to raise money for victims and their families.
Despite the UCC shooting being what brought national attention on the area, Roseburg, Douglas County, and the Umpqua Valley have been seeing positive change after years of struggling with the decline of the once-strong timber industry in the self-described “Timber Capital of the Nation.” The Umpqua Valley is known for its wine, but breweries are growing too. “We were the sixth brewery to open here, but the second full restaurant and brewery,” says Anaya.
While optimistic for the future, Anaya also acknowledges that Roseburg and the surrounding area face challenges. “This is a small town with not a lot of disposable income. Roseburg also does not have much of a hospitality industry, which can be a challenge for travelers,” he says. However, “Douglas County has the potential to grow, we just need more local businesses to invest here. We see Roseburg growing and changing in the near future.”
Anaya feels that local support for Salud, and for craft beer, is growing, but no matter what, he and his wife are running their business where they belong.
“This is where we grew up,” says Anaya. “This is home.”
Salud Restaurant and Brewery
[a] 537 SE Jackson St., Roseburg
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