By Kirby Neumann-Rea
For the Oregon Beer Growler
the process of fermentation involved in the making of beer, in which sugars are converted to ethyl alcohol
Dan Peterson is the microbiology-trained brains and brawn behind Ferment, one of Oregon’s newest breweries. Based in Hood River but brewed in Portland, Peterson plans a Hood River brewery and a Portland pub.
“Food will be made to suit the beer,” Peterson said. The pub should open by late summer and the brewery would follow in late 2016 or early 2017.
“It’s nice to have this kind of clean slate opportunity and say, ‘This is what I want to do,’” described Peterson. Last year, he left pFriem Family Brewers in Hood River, where he was one of Josh Pfriem’s first hires, to start his own brewery.
“It was a tough decision, but it was a great opportunity at the right time to have creative control over the beers,” Peterson said. He is doing the entire brewing process himself, and distribution is limited at this point. Peterson focuses on “balanced, English-style” beers.
“The cool thing is they go really well with food. And with Ferment, the focus is more experience-focused rather than beer as a liquid or beverage or commodity or bottles being distributed as far possible. It’s the synergy of food, beer, experience and environment.”
Ferment brewery and pub will both be known simply as “Ferment.” The pub will be in Portland, at a location soon to be announced. The brewery, however, will be in Hood River. Peterson is looking at a variety of locations, including a planned building on the Hood River waterfront, two blocks from pFriem.
Peterson, a University of Vermont microbiology graduate, got his fermenting start at Brooklyn Brewery in New York. He had worked in a cancer research lab before his love of homebrewing took him to a combination lab/entry-level brewing job at Brooklyn in 2003. He then came west to work at Full Sail in 2009.
“I was brewing with friends and I slipped down the slope of thinking a lot about brewing and thinking of it as a profession,” Dan said.
Peterson started Ferment in Portland in 2015, brewing at Pints in Old Town and at the new Zoiglhaus cooperative. His yeast concoctions start wild on the slopes of Mt. Hood, where he leaves cultures out overnight.
At this point, Peterson experiments with small batches. “This is a chance to do recipe development — see how things are received on a really small scale. I can get a couple of kegs out there to places and check in with people,” he said. “I’ve been doing test batches, making tweaks. And instead of just tasting them myself and deciding whether I like it, this is a way to see, in general, how consumers like it,” Peterson said.
He uses special malts out of England for most of the brews in order to find a balance with the hops and yeast. “My background is mostly English-style brewing practices,” he said. “There’s not a whole lot of English-style brewing in the Northwest. I like seeing what people think of it — to say, ‘This is a pale ale that’s not all that hoppy,’ compared to our standards now.”
In general, the yeasts will tend to exhibit a “pretty fruit ester character,” Peterson said, adding that they flocculate easily and leave a clear beer.
“Traditionally, (the English) brew a lot in casks and count on the yeast to settle in the bottom and expect the beer to be really clear. That’s kind of my goal also.” Peterson is not currently cask conditioning, but said, “I want to in the future as I get more established and have some good cask offerings.”
In Portland, you can find Ferment on tap at Clyde Common and The Richmond Bar. In Hood River, Ferment beers are available at Camp 1805 Distillery, Pine Street Kitchen and Volcanic Bottle Shoppe.
By Patty Mamula
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Finally, a craft brewery has arrived in the Lents neighborhood of Portland. Zoiglhaus Brewing Company, at Southeast 92nd Avenue and Ramona Street, is an oasis in a desert of family-friendly gathering places. The spacious, German-inspired pub opened September 2015, after more than four years of planning.
Of the many stories behind the brewery project, the one about its name seems the place to start. Zoigl is a variety of beer made in eastern Bavaria, which dates back to ancient times. The tradition is still practiced in the small towns of the Oberpfalz region. Locals share a communal brewery where they mash before taking them home to ferment. When the homebrewers of Oberpfalz put the Zoigl sign outside their house, it’s an invitation to come enjoy their beer. The sign is a six-pointed, blue-and-white star shaped from two triangles. The first symbolizes the brewing elements of fire, water and air. The second symbolizes the ingredients of malt, hops and water.
For co-owner and brewmaster Alan Taylor, the name Zoiglhaus was perfect. He said that when he and the other two owners met with the marketing representative to hammer out the concept of the brewery, they had three different ideas.
“We all came together behind the idea of the Zoigl and the name Zoiglhaus just followed. We liked the idea of a community brewery, of supporting the neighborhood, of sharing our brewhouse with other breweries, and of the traditional German heritage style of brewing.” The red-and-white logo features the traditional star.
Taylor’s interest in and love of Germany is deep and wide. As an undergraduate at Linfield College, he studied German and math and found time for homebrewing. He traveled to Germany numerous times for study and work, eventually combining his education and passion into German beermaking.
Taylor secured a brewing internship in Berlin at the Luisen-Brau in May of 1997. Competition for internships was fierce then, since there was only one main brewery, a handful of pubs and at least a dozen people vying for the spots. “I showed up week after week at the pub and finally wore the owner down,” he said.
In the fall, he began attending the Versuchs- und Lehranstalt fur Brauerei in Berlin, a brewing institute for professionals started in 1883 by the German brewing and malting industry. He successfully completed the intensive 10-month course and received his degree in 1998. After that, Taylor jumped back and forth between the states and Germany, finding plenty of work at breweries, including Widmer Brothers Brewing until 2011 when he started planning his own brewery.
“The first hurdle was finding a location,” Taylor said. With backing from investor Nick Roberts, he looked at 50 or 60 different locations around town — on the west side, in St. Johns, in Southeast. It took two years to locate the building in Lents, which was owned by the Portland Development Commission. It was a good match. The PDC had been looking for a tenant for the 28,000-square-foot building, close to the Lents Town Center/Foster Road MAX Station, after a failed bakery left them with unpaid loans and a gaping hole in services for the proposed Lents Town Center.
From Taylor’s view, the building was perfect for a brewery, with nearly 7,000 square feet for a restaurant and 3,000-plus for the onsite brewery with a loading dock in back, a freight elevator to take the grain and other supplies to the full basement and the possibility of developing event space on the second floor.
But the brewery project slowed, and at that point Taylor “told Nick to stop paying me for a while.” He went looking for an in-between job — one that would keep him financially solvent while he moved his brewery project forward. That’s how he ended up as head brewer at PINTS Brewing Company in Old Town Portland. Taylor increased the beer production and business at PINTS almost overnight. “We went from 13 barrels a month when I first started to 106 in July,” he said.
In time, PINTS owner Chad Rennaker saw the opportunity in Lents and joined forces with Taylor and Roberts. He also bought nearby property, including the New Copper Penny nightclub, and plans to build a mix of affordable housing and retail on that site. Other property in the immediate area is also slated for development.
In another twist to a complicated business relationship, Taylor agreed to assist Rennaker with his brewery in Albuquerque, N. M. — the Ponderosa Brewing Company. Taylor trained the brewer there and oversees production, making monthly visits to the brewery. Until recently, he was back and forth between PINTS and Zoiglhaus. All the brewing was happening at PINTS because the 10-barrel brewhouse expected in September was delayed. Now that it’s arrived, Taylor is excited about its big brewing capabilities.
“The PINTS brewhouse, built in 1997, is not made to handle ‘big’ beers,” said Taylor. “The 3.5-barrel system works best for ESBs and lagers.”
The new equipment is from Newlands Systems in British Columbia, Canada, and custom designed to Taylor’s specifications. By the time this goes to print, the brewhouse will be operational. Even with all the shiny tanks and three extra fermenters for other operations, the brewhouse has room to grow. When it’s at capacity, they can produce 10,000 barrels annually. Of the extra fermenters onsite, one belongs to a founding member of The Oregon Public House, a nonprofit brewpub in North Portland, and the other two are for a startup brewery soon to find its home in Hood River.
Taylor plans to brew three or four days a week at Zoiglhaus, one or two days at PINTS and travel to Albuquerque, N.M. once a month. At Zoiglhaus, two other brewers will assist him. The tap list at Zoiglhaus currently has 10 beers, including a couple of IPAs and a red. The German beers include dunkelweizen, schwarzbier, hefeweissbier and a crisp kolsch. There aren’t plans for guest taps.
Even though Taylor has embraced modern conveniences in his brewing practices, choosing electricity instead of wood fires, and kettle whirlpools for cooling instead of coolships, he wants to brew in accordance with the German purity laws that says brewers can only use water, hops, malted barley and yeast — unless its top fermented and then they can use anything that’s maltable. “The whole idea here was to have German beer done right.”
The menu features several traditional German dishes, such as homemade sauerkraut and sausage, kaesespaetzle with layers of Swiss cheese and caramelized onion and jagerschnitzel, along with more traditional pub fare.
Zoiglhaus Brewing Company
[a] 5716 SE 92nd Ave., Portland
By Kris McDowell
For the Oregon Beer Growler
With the explosion of craft beer, so too has come an explosion in beer writers who are celebrating the industry through the publishing of books, articles and blogs. One of those beer writers is Fred Eckhardt, who started tackling the subject when the founders of the craft beer industry were still homebrewing. His "A Treatise on Lager Beers" was published in the early 1970s, followed by books on beer styles and sake. His extensive career also includes writing for The Seattle Times and The Oregonian as well as magazines like All About Beer.
Before he began his writing career, he was in the Marines and one of the impacts the Bay of Pigs invasion had on him was to make him ponder life after a nuclear holocaust. According to an interview with John Foyston, Fred said, "I realized that if you could brew alcohol you would be welcome in whatever shreds of civilization might remain after a nuclear war, so I took a good homebrew recipe and made my first batch of beer." Whether he was being entirely serious or not, his early forays in homebrewing were the beginnings of a career that would impact the craft beer world for decades.
Since those early days, beer writing has gathered steam with technical books like Fred's to ones telling the stories of the folks living their brewing dreams. The stories behind how each person came to be a beer writer are as varied the number of beer styles. Brian Yaeger, who wrote "Red, White, and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey," didn't know he was going to write a book until he announced it to a classroom during the pursuit of his master’s in professional writing. Once it was out of his mouth, he couldn't take it back. And before he knew it he'd secured a media pass to the Great American Beer Festival. From there he embarked on a six week road trip across the country. He describes the book as being "about the people, less so the beer."
Brian knew he'd write a second book but it wasn't until his publisher proposed "Oregon Breweries" that he knew what it would be. As luck would have it, he had already created the outline for it during the road trip that brought him and his wife from California to their new home in Portland. After retrieving the handwritten journal, he began two years of work during which the number of breweries in Oregon was growing exponentially. In the end, he had gathered the details on 190 breweries and brewpubs and was even more qualified to show visitors around, one of the things he loves most about being a beer writer.
Pete Dunlop, author of the 2013 book "Portland Beer: Crafting the Road to Beervana" started writing for the daily paper at Washington State University during graduate school. He went on to teach high school journalism and then had a career in marketing communications before going freelance. As opposed to Brian's books that are more contemporary, Pete's book is primarily historical in nature, no doubt influenced by his master’s in history.
When asked about his favorite part of being a beer writer, he replied that, "Beer people are easy to talk to," noting as well that he enjoys being able to write about the good in the industry (and sometimes bashing AB InBev). On the flip side, he noted that making money as a beer writer can be challenging. For him, publishing articles and authoring a beer blog were steps that led up to the realization that getting a book published was an important next move to make progress in this career. He's found magazine work easier to come by after publishing his book and is looking forward to writing a second historically based book.
Newer to the craft beer world is Steven Shomler, author of the just-released "Portland Beer Stories." Before 2007 he was not a beer drinker, having tasted the "crap beer" his dad drank and hating it. It wasn't until he was filming a hop harvest that he experienced what he described as "a life-changing experience." Smelling the hops in the field, during processing and in the drying room, opened his eyes and "stupid palate" to a world he didn't know existed. Later that day, he tried his first triple IPA and a whole new world opened to him, a world that he was able to write with a newcomer's perspective. However, he was new only to craft beer, as this would be his second book, following one about Portland's food cart scene. The realization that he was not going to be able to do a comprehensive piece was his biggest challenge so instead he focused on a mix of the old (McMenamins and Widmer) and the new (PINTS and Culmination). Finding stories to write about was easy as the brewers made themselves accessible, a sharp contrast to his experience with the wine industry.
The forthcoming "The Beer Bible" by Jeff Alworth is a product of his travels during two years visiting an array of amazing breweries overseas. It wasn't something that he had planned on writing; instead it was at the request of Workman Publishing, who had turned down his pitch for another book. They were looking for a follow up to "The Wine Bible" and sent him a copy, requesting he submit a table of contents as his "pitch." It was perhaps an unconventional way of finding the right author, but Jeff "didn't have anything to lose." After all, they were approaching him instead of the other way around and so he didn't stress about it.
Workman was happy with the table of contents Jeff submitted and after more than a year in contract negotiations, Jeff began the task of researching and writing his book that is broadly divided by beer styles. Since beginning work on the book in 2011 he has accumulated countless hours of stories about brewers all over the world, facilitated largely by making contacts with importers. Some countries he could have navigated on his own, the ones where English is commonly spoken, but it was destinations like Italy where he would have struggled without help arranging visits and translating.
Unlike Steven, Jeff had been a huge beer fan for years, having downed plenty of Henry Weinhard’s back when it was big, attending graduate school in Wisconsin when New Glarus Brewing opened and producing his own beers. That background, and having written ever since he was a kid, was the perfect combination that helped him begin his writing career, which started when he took over the beer column at Willamette Week following William Abernathy's departure. He went from there to write countless pieces for other publications.
Whether you prefer shorter pieces or books, historical or contemporary topics, there's something for everyone when it comes to beer writing. The best part is that they celebrate the day in and day out work that brewers do to fill our glasses. Cheers to the pioneering writers who first took it up and those who have followed in their steps!
Beervana Buzz http://www.beervanabuzz.com/
Portland Beer Stories https://www.facebook.com/PortlandBeerStories/
By Kris McDowell
Pints Brewing Company, the Old Town brewery home to brewmaster Alan Taylor, is putting a different spin on collaboration brews. Alan
came up with the idea to bring “all of the taproom employees through the brewery to make their ‘dream beers’ over the last few months.” I had a chance to sit down with one of them, Natalie Baldwin, to learn about her and her dream beer.
Natalie, like many who now call Portland home, is a transplant. Hailing from beer-centric Colorado she grew up around beer and while studying biochemistry at the University of Colorado she started home brewing. She moved to Portland two years ago and has been working at Pints for nearly a year.
Natalie designed the recipe for her dream beer based on one of her favorite styles to drink — a citrus forward IPA (she’s also a big fan of sour beers, for the record). Alan approved of the recipe in its entirety and the brewing commenced. Natalie was hands on throughout the process, including zesting the grapefruits, sourced from the yard of her boyfriend’s mom, that were added to the boil and the subsequent dry-hopping.
When I asked Alan about his inspiration to bring the taproom staff into the brewery he pointed to two main sources. The first was that, “so many of them are home brewers who have a lot of interest in the process,” as is true for Natalie. The second speaks to the positive working environment at Pints, a situation where Alan says, “...is the first brewery in my 17 years of professional brewing where I have the ultimate freedom to brew whatever I want [and it] led me to want to share the love with my colleagues. They each have their own creative angle on their recipes which has been a lot of fun for me to experience.”
In addition to brewing her dream beer Natalie regularly peppers Alan with questions as she strives to learn more about brewing and offers to help in the brewery whenever possible. Alan’s interest in helping her is part of the reason she has stayed at Pints. Still a novice in terms of commercial brewing, Natalie is interested in pursuing a position with a brewery in the future. In the meantime, she is soaking up as much knowledge as she can from Alan, and working toward her Master Cicerone® certification.
In addition to Natalie’s Hop Tart Grapefruit IPA, three other taproom employees have brewed their dream beers: Lauren made Rose Hippie Rose Infused Cream Ale, Singularity Pale Ale came from Nick and Cloud Break Common was Kory’s dream beer. Not only has the taproom staff enjoyed the process but Alan has benefitted from it as well. “Some [of the staff] have had a pretty complete recipe and some have had a concept which we hashed out into a workable recipe. That in and of itself has been good practice in recipe formulation.” said Alan.
Pints Brewing Company
(a) 412 NW 5th Ave, Portland
(h) Mon - Sat 11:30am - 110:00pm, Sunday 12-9pm
OBG Blog Archives
Welcome to our archive pages! Read stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler from June 2012 to January 2018. For newer stories, please visit our new website at: