By Michael H. Kew
For the Oregon Beer Growler
“Bandon? Ain’t no brewery in Bandon!”
Leaning against the yellow cedar bar he made, sipping a pint of ale he made, Jonathan Hawkins laughed at the memory — a quip he heard at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival — one month after Hawkins first brought his Portland Kettle Works 5-barrel Hopmaster online.
“It’s a great little system,” he told me, gesturing at the shiny steel tanks behind him. “A Cadillac for its size.”
A lifelong beer lover, Hawkins, 43, spent much of his time between Gold Beach and Lake Quinault, Wash., where his mom ran a resort. In April 2013 he moved to the quaint seaside village of Bandon “chasing Nicole,” his wife and business partner who he originally knew from high school. Years later, they were reacquainted at a mutual friend’s party in Portland.
With his background in professional construction, Hawkins launched his own business. In 2015, he and his wife purchased the historic 9,500-square-foot McNair Building as a new home for Bandon Vision Center (Nicole has been a local optometrist for 13 years) that briefly shared walls with the pizzeria Hawkins ended up buying. In September 2016, his construction company started work on vision center on one side, brewery/pizzeria on the other.
“I told Nicole that if I was going to take on a restaurant and do pizzas, I wasn’t going to do conveyer pizzas. I was going to do wood-fired pizzas and I was going to make beer. She was gracious enough to agree with that, and away we went.”
His first taste of hands-on commercial brewing occurred via weekly trips to Labrewatory, run by Portland Kettle Works in Portland, where he tested and refined recipes before hopping headfirst into Oregon’s coastal craft beer scene. “It’s been a phenomenal experience,” he said. “Brewing has been the most collaborative industry I’ve been a part of. So many people have been encouraging and supportive, showing me their operations, offering advice and suggestions.”
Bandon Brewing’s grand opening was Sept. 8, which coincided with the 71st annual Bandon Cranberry Festival. The reception was “fantastic,” Hawkins said. “I feel fortunate I got to be the one to do this here. Residents and visitors have really embraced us.”
Near the mouth of the Coquille River, at the entrance to Old Town Bandon, near the nautical-themed we hope you are enjoying bandon sign arcing over the road, the cedar-shaked McNair Building was originally a hardware store. In recent years it was managed by Bill McNair of Gold Beach. “We called Bill and asked him if he’d be interested in talking about a sale,” Hawkins said. “Nicole and I met him at Redfish [a restaurant in Port Orford] with the intent of just discussing some possibilities, but three-and-a-half hours later, we walked out of there with an agreement. We wrote out the terms and everything right there in Redfish. It happened fast. Totally unexpected.”
On being one of the Oregon Coast’s newer breweries amid the nation’s craft beer boom, he viewed the building’s current ambiance as a natural progression. “There used to be churches and taverns,” he said, “and they competed and tried to put each other out of business, basically. You had the diabolically opposed on each side, and taverns kind of opened that space up. I call [brewpubs] the new churches, places where people from all walks of life can get together and discuss ideas, art, jokes — whatever. It’s a great environment. And I don’t know of a single town I visit where I’m thinking, ‘Damn, there are just too many breweries.’”
So far, Hawkins has made instant classics like One-Eyed Jacque IPA (named for his one-eyed schnauzer), Pacific Puffin Porter, Camp 7 Coffee Porter and Rogue River Red. From this year’s harvest, he has plans for a cranberry saison, a tribute to Bandon’s large cranberry industry. Ultimately, Hawkins aims to offer nine taps of in-house beer, plus five for guests. “Having guest taps is awesome camaraderie,” he said. “I’m not asking anybody else to carry my beers, but I’ll always be happy to carry other beers from Southern Oregon.”
To help with brewing and imminent expansion, Hawkins has hired James Petti, who, after five years at Karl Strauss Brewing Company in San Diego, launched Wavelength Brewing Company in Vista, Calif. “I’m gonna put him right to the fire when he gets here,” Hawkins said with a laugh.
From the copper-covered oven, my pizza emerged. Hawkins and I took seats in the airy dining area, warm with golden midday autumn sun that radiated off the brewpub walls, all coated with gorgeous reclaimed wood from Redmond’s Barnwood Industries. Out on the street, a horseman rode past. It was a lovely Bandon day for pizza and beer.
“The Bandon area has some phenomenal coastline,” Hawkins said, quaffing some Camp 7. “From Brookings to Florence is some of the prettiest coastline anywhere. Being in the Navy and also having sat on the back deck of a crab boat, I’ve seen the whole coast: from Cape Flattery all the way down to San Diego. And guess what? We’re right in the middle.”
Bandon Brewing Company
395 Second St. SE, Bandon
By Gail Oberst
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Gold Beach was named for the bonanza of gold found at the mouth of the Rogue River in the 1800s.
But now there’s a different source of gold in town. Arch Rock Brewing Company’s multiple gold medals have put a new sparkle in this scenic Southern Oregon coastal village. Since it opened three years ago, Arch Rock’s Gold Beach Lager has won prestigious gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival and at the North American Beer Awards, as well as gold for its State of Jefferson Porter, also at the NABA. Additionally, the brewery was featured in a Cosmopolitan magazine article titled “Best Places for a Quickie,” referring to drinks, not the other kind.
Owners of the brewery, Larry and Marjie Brennan, and their production team, Kristen and James Smith, have filled the Brennan’s former cabinet shop with three 30-barrel fermenters, a 30-barrel brite tank, and a 15-barrel brewhouse. Since the unexpected accolades two years ago, brewer Smith said production has skyrocketed.
“People started taking us seriously,” Smith said. “Medals sure help to get your name out. The brewery is self-distributed for the most part in Southern Oregon, but also at a few bars and bottle shops in Portland. For the Cosmo-style “Quickie” experience, visit the brewery a mile or so off Highway 101, at 28779 Hunter Creek Loop, Gold Beach. In a small alcove with a window to the brewery, visitors can taste what’s on tap. Growlers are also filled onsite.
For those who want to sip Arch Rock suds in the comfort of a country bar, Hunter Creek Bar & Grill next door carries Arch Rock’s lineup.
How did this wilderness shop become an award-winning brewery so quickly? Smith claims it is luck, but three-peats prove it is his talent.
Raised in a relatively liberal Utah Mormon family, James started homebrewing in 1999. He joined the ranks of Uinta Brewing’s crew and eventually began brewing for them. Everything changed in 2009, the year James met and fell in love with Kristen, a Grand Teton Brewing Company employee, at the Great American Beer Festival. He followed her to Idaho’s Grand Teton Brewing, taking a job as a cellarman there. Within a few years, they started scouting out a small-town brewery they could run together.
At the same time, Larry and Marjie Brennan were looking for a better use of their cabinet shop space and had settled on a brewery. Together, the two couples hit gold -- medals, that is — within a year of opening.
“We’re both used to remote areas,” said Smith. “We wanted to be in a small town. This is perfect for us.” Kristen was born and raised in Michigan.
Today, the two couples run the business with help from a delivery driver. In 2014, Arch Rock sold 845 barrels. Last year, capacity expanded to 1,800 barrels.
Visitors to the brewery are welcome 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, visit their web page, archrockbrewingcompany.com or call 541-247-0555.
By Gail Oberst
A few blocks from Coos Bay’s boardwalk along Coos River, I am stopped in my tracks by a gigantic map of the bay area, spread across the front of a building that once housed an appliance and electrical repair shop. Warming themselves by the fire in front of 7 Devils Brewery are owners Carmen Matthews and Annie Pollard, who tell me the map shows the circa 1928 Coos Bay. Annie, a marine biologist, points to the places that have been filled or changed. It is a fitting introduction to the 30-something couple who met over a potter’s wheel, fell in love over a home-brewing kettle, and today own a popular brewery and taproom – Coos County’s only commercial brewery.
Like 7 Devils, clad in local décor I’m dubbing “eclectic coastal craftsman,” the couple represents a segment of Coos County society that defies the south coast stereotypes: They are energetic, well-heeled and cultured. The couple has invested their savings, family money and a substantial loan into re-outfitting the long-vacant shop into a working 7-barrel (soon to be 15) brewery with a taproom and restaurant that features local art and artists. Oriental rugs warm the floors. Original glass art drips from the ceilings, local paintings hang on the walls, ceramics decorate the tables, which are also handmade from local materials. If you order chowder, it will most likely be served in a bowl turned by Annie.
Almost all of the funds raised from the sale of 300 special pint glasses went to purchasing and creating local artwork hanging from the walls and ceilings at 7 Devils. The couple has apparently hit on something appealing to Coos Bay glitterati (Fishermen, professionals, newcomers and old-timers). The Wednesday night I visited, the tables were filled and a short line was waiting to be seated.
And the beer? Great, in my humble opinion. And, judging by the number of beers being slurped by patrons, I wasn’t the only fan. Musicians have showed up almost every night in February to entertain guests, Carmen said. “It’s made from coastal waters by coastal folks,” he said. Half of the brewery’s production is sold in house, the rest to Coos Bay/North Bend-area accounts. By press time, the company will be bottling (with a manual 4-head line) in 22s. Three of the 7 Devils labels -- a session, a pale ale and an IPA – will begin appearing in local stores and bottle shops.
The 7 Devils Brewery opened Oct. 30, 2013, and already the couple has made plans to expand the dining area. The pub food is an assortment of seasonal favorites and local fare. Clams from Coos Bay and locally-baked focaccia and pretzels are menu staples. A variety of seasonal greens and vegetables are supplied by local grower Valley Flora and its affiliates. Their poutine (an upscale version of cheese fries) features Face Rock cheese curds, from the Bandon creamery 20 miles south.
But their dedication to craft beer, local arts and seasonal food products is just the beginning: outside, under the giant 1920’s map, electric car charging stations sit next to the first “ocean-friendly beer garden,” according to Carmen. The City of Coos Bay assisted the company with a storm-water retention system that holds roof-water run-off from the brewery building, slowing its release into rain-swollen Coos River and decreasing flood pressure. Heavily insulated walls and windows, energy efficient fixtures and other energy-conserving methods are in place now. Solar panels are in the offing. In the summer, the outside gardens may house a local food cart and pizza oven.
The brewery’s success has created a whirlwind of responsibilities for the man who – just three years ago – was working for Dutch Bros—and the woman whose science work took her to Antarctica to study penguins three months of the year. Now, the company has 15 employees and a fan club of locals who depend on them to grow the business.
“Our customers are people who are interested in this community. We take that seriously,” said Carmen.
7 Devils Brewery
( a ) 247 S; Second St., Coos Bay
( p ) 541-808-3738
Owner/Brewers: Carmen Matthews, Annie Pollard
Above, Workers at Crosby's Hop Farm near Woodburn.
Following -- Emily Engdahl put this great list together for the Oregon Beer Growler's print edition. Those who want to hold this list in their hands can pick it up Oct. 1 here. If you want to see Emily's list on her website, go to http://oregonbeercountry.org. Thanks Emily!
List compiled by Emily Engdahl
For the Oregon Beer Growler
10 Barrel | Crosby Farms Harvest Ale | 5.5% | 55 IBU
Base Camp | Golden Hopportunity Belgian IPA | 10%
Base Camp | In-2-Tents |
Base Camp | Hopularity Contest Pale Ale | 5.3%
Breakside | Fresh Hop Citra | 6.5%
Brewers Union 180 | Little Green Men Cask Cond’d IPA | 5.5%
Bridgeport BridgePort | Hop Harvest | 8.0% | 60 IBU
Claim 52 | Whoa-Dang Fresh Harvest Ale | 5.5% | 55 IBU
Coalition Brewing | Green Pig Fresh Hop Pale Ale | 5.0 % | 50 IBU
Coalition Brewing | Simply Dank Fresh Hop ISA | 4.0% | 40 IBU
Crux Fermentation Project | Cruxtennial Belgian Pale Ale | 7.0% | 35 IBU
Crux Fermentation Project | Off the Fence
Crux Fermentation Project | Crystal Zwickel
Deschutes Bend | Hop Trip | 5.4% | 38 IBU
Deschutes Bend | Chasin’ Freshies | 7.2% | 65 IBU
Deschutes Bend | Cinder Cone Red | 5.9% | 47 IBU
Deschutes Portland | Fresh Hop Bitter | 5.0% | 43 IBU
Deschutes Portland | King Cone Deluxe | 6.4% | 55 IBU
Deschutes Portland | Fresh Hop Mirror Pond | 5.0% | 40 IBU
Deschutes Portland | Oktoberfest | 6.1% | 30 IBU
Double Mountain | Killer Green IPA | 7.5% | 75 IBU
Double Mountain | Killer Red IRA | 7.2% | 97 IBU
Double Mountain | Killer Brass IPA | 7.9% | 88 IBU
Falling Sky | So Fresh, So Green Fresh Hop Lager | 5.7%
Falling Sky | Nuggets of Wisdom Fresh Hop | 5.5%
Fort George Brewery | Co-Hoperative Ale | 5%
Fort George Brewery | Fresh Hop Sunrise Oatmeal Pale Ale |5.3%
Fort George Brewery | Fresh Hop Belgian | 7.5%
Fort George Brewery | Hopstoria | 5.6%
Full Sail | Full Sail Fresh Hop Pilsner | 6.0% | 60 IBU
Gilgamesh Brewing | Fresh Prince of Ales Fresh Hopped DIPA | 6.9% | 100+ IBU
Harvester | Harvester Fresh Hop Meridian Pale Ale | 5.3% | 30 IBU
Hop Valley | Citra Self Down “Fresh Hop” Pale Ale | 6% | 40 IBU
Hopworks | Bitchin’ Camaro Fresh Hop Lager | 6.0% | 60 IBU
Hopworks | Fuggin’ A Fresh Hop IPX Single Hop Ale | 5.7% | 48 IBU
Humble Brewing | Larch Creek Harvest Ale | 7% | 66 IBU
Laurelwood | Fresh Hop Mother Lode Golden Ale | 5.1% | 25 IBU
Laurelwood | Workhorse IPA | 7.5% | 80 IBU
Laurelwood | Fresh Hop Pale (Project 21) | 5.9% | 35 IBU
Laurelwood | Free-Range Red | 6.1% | 60 IBU
Lompoc | Harvestman Red | |6.1 % | 60 IBU
Lucky Lab | The Mutt | 3.6%
McMenamin’s | Thundercone Fresh Hop Ale | 6.9% | 44 IBU
McMemamin’s | Roseburg Station | Hopqua | 6.8% | 67 IBU
McMenamin’s | Old St. Francis (Bend) | Golden Sparrow Fresh Hop | 5.2% | 45 IBU
Migration | Glisan Street Fresh Hop Pale Ale | 5.1% | 33 IBU
Migration | Wild Style Fresh Hop Farm House Ale | 6.1% | 39 IBU
Migration | Better Off Fresh IPA | 7.5% | 85 IBU
Ninkasi | Total Crystalation IPA | 6.7% | 65 IBU
Ninkasi | Hop Fraiche | 5.2% | 40 IBU
Oakshire | ‘Bout a Hunerd Hops Pale Ale
Oakshire | Rogue Red Rye IPA
Old Market Pub | Schrader Brau Fresh Hopped Oktoberfest | 4.5% | 12 IBU
Old Town Brewing | Cent’s and Centsability Pale Ale | 5.5%
Old Town Brewing | Freshtoberbrau | 5.8%
Pelican Brewery | Elemental Ale | 5.4% | 55 IBU
Pfriem | Fresh Hop Mosaic Belgian Wheat | 5.1% | 18 IBU
Pints | Seismic Upgrade Imperial IPA | 8.2% | 100+ IBU
Pints | Oktoberfresh | 5.7% | 17 IBU
Pints | Crystal Lite Lager | 4.1% |10 IBU
Portland U Brew & Pub | Freshy Foystons Pale Ale | 5.8%
Portland U Brew & Pub | Papa Paul’s White Wall Pale Ale | 6.0%
Salem Ale Works | Triple F IPA | 6.0 %
Santiam Brewing | Hoppy Froppy | 6.3%
Santiam Brewing | Hopville Rye Pale Ale | 5.2%
Santiam Brewing | Fresh Hop Brown Ale | 4.8%
Sasquatch | Oregon Session Ale | 4.7%
Sasquatch | Woodboy IPA | 6.8%
Sasquatch | Red Electric IRA | 6.7%
Sasquatch | Healy Heights Pale | 5.6%
Sasquatch | Celilo CDA | 8.0% +/-
Silver Moon | Hoppopotamus Fresh Ale | 6.5%
Sky High | Fresh Hop Ale | 5.0% | 25 IBU
Solera | Chubby Bunny Fresh Hop DIPA | 9.5%
Stickmen | Single Malt – Single Hop (SMaSH) | 5.8% | 34 IBU
The Commons | Fresh Hop Myrtle | 5.3%
Three Creeks | Cone Lick’r Fresh Hop Ale | 5%
Three Creeks | Hop Wrangler Fresh Hop Red | 5%
Upright | The Hop and the Abstract Truth Belgian style pale/triticale saison | 5.1% | 30+ IBU
Vertigo | Hop Harvest IPA | 5.3% | 45 IBU
Viking Braggot | 100 Day Anniversary ESB | 5.5% | 50 IBU
Widmer Brothers | Dark and Dank Fresh Hop Lager | 5.1%
Widmer Brothers | Bring the Boom Fresh Hop IPL | 6.6%
By Sean Sullivan
As Oregon's craft beer craze continues to spread, so do the options for road trips. Winding highways with views of the Pacific Ocean lead to the towns of Gold Beach and Brookings, which are home to three new breweries. But the seed of this new craft beer community began in a modest, roadside tap room.
“When we moved here eleven years ago it was a beer desert,” says Chetco Brewing's owner Michael Fredrick. “What really started it was Vista Pub and Raymond."
1009 Chetco Ave., Brookings
In downtown Brookings Raymond Ross and his father Bill serve big, messy burgers in the tradition of the families original Island Vista restaurant, but also offer a large variety of microbrews on tap which has included local breweries Chetco and Arch Rock. Prior to Vista Pub opening their doors two and half years ago craft beer had little or no foothold on Oregon's Southern coast.
“I feel like I was the first out of the gate,” Raymond says, “and showed it would work.”A small stage hosts local musicians, art decorates the walls, Vista Pub has the vibe of a big city speak easy blended with the warm friendliness of a coastal town. No one seems to be in a hurry here, smiles come naturally and the food arrives in large portions.
Raymond adds that a real craft beer community has developed in this region. As an example he tells of Arch Rock's master brewer lending out equipment to help another start up brewery.
Arch Rock Brewing
28779 Hunter Creek Loop, Gold Beach
Located in Gold Beach, Oregon, about 30 miles North of Brookings, Arch Rock earned a gold medal this year from the North American Brewer's Association for their State of Jefferson Porter. The brewery doubles as a tasting room, where locals and tourists can sample the beers, fill their growlers or pick up “Arch Rock” merchandise.
Head Brewer James Smith and his wife Kristin both left Grand Teton Brewing in Idaho to team up with owners Larry Brennan and his wife Marjie. James has also worked at Uinta Brewing in Utah and his experience shows up in the flavors of the beers he brews on the 15 barrel system.
The Gold Beach Lager delivers a light, crisp taste that makes it perfect for hot summer days, while their Pistol Rive Pale Ale brings all the hop flavors that have defined Pacific Northwest IPAs with only a fraction of that style's bitterness. Yet it manages to present as a dry beer with very little malt sweetness.
Look for Arch Rock beers on tap in pubs from Brookings to Florence and coming soon to the Rogue Valley.
Tight Line Brewing
625 Chetco Ave. Ste 120, Brookings
Dave Faires and his son-in-law Nathan Heath have the only brewery located within Brooking's city limits. Their beer will be on tap again soon at the Black Trumpet Bistro, which is located directly above the brewery. Their initial batches sold out quickly, which has left both men optimistic.
“People come to Oregon just to tour breweries,” Nathan says. “And if they come up the coast we'll be the first one they hit.”
Although Dave has been brewing beer since the 80s, his venture with his son-in-law began in 2009 in his daughter's kitchen, but quickly was relocated to the garage when she kicked them out.
Their signature beers will be the RIP Pale Ale and the Dog Hair Porter. The latter is a smooth, dark beer with roasted malt flavor upfront that transitions to toasted caramal tones with very little bitterness in the aftertaste. Very drinkable!
Two and half miles up North Bank road, looking out over the river, Chetco Brewing officially started on April, 19t of this year and already has beer on tap at Vista Pub, Ray's growler fill station, Port of Brooking's Harbor, The Black Trumpet and the Farmer's Market.
Eight years ago Michael's wife Alex bought him a homebrewing kit. The hobby became such a passion that he now grows eleven variations of hops.
“They're beautiful plants,” he says.
Michael says they try to be community friendly and environment friendly.
“We're a mom and pop thing,” he says. “We grow our own raspberries. We're running on a borrowed system.”
He says on a brewing day he will brew two 40 gallon batches using the equipment lent to him by James from Arch Rock. Michael adds that he is building a refrigerated trailer because he sees wider distribution is the brewery;s future, including a partnership with friends in Portland.
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