Vancouver’s biggest brewfest kicks off its third year today in Esther Short Park, with 60 different types of beer and a whole lot of other entertainment.
Here’s the information if you want to check it out:
Beer on tap in Esther Short Park
By Sue Vorenberg
Columbian features reporter
Truckloads of local beer will descend on Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver this weekend for the third annual Vancouver Brewfest.
And when organizer Cody Gray says truckloads, he means it.
One highlight of this year’s festival, Vancouver’s largest beer event, will be two specialty trucks designed to serve fresh, cold beer.
The first, which is a work in progress by Heathen Brewing owner Sunny Parsons, is a 1956 firetruck that he’s transformed into a seven-beer kegerator.
“It can hold seven beers, two kegs per line, so we can literally go to a party and have 14 kegs tapped on it,” Parsons said. “The sides have stainless steel coils to keep the beer icy cold. It’s true redneck ingenuity.”
Parsons bought the truck last year in Rock Creek, Ore., for his Vancouver brewery. It was used to fight fires until 2012, he said.
“It’s one of those things that every year we’ll dump $3,000 or so into it and keep making improvements,” Parsons said. “I’ve had it at a few other events around Clark County, but this is my first official brewfest with it.”
And his won’t be the only funky truck at the event.
Silver Moon Brewing will bring its Moon Truck, a decal-covered van with taps and wooden bar stools, Gray said.
“It’s very cool,” Gray said. “We’ll also have a cider and mead house this year, along with some wineries.”
Battle Ground’s Double V Distillery also will serve samples of its vodka and other liquors.
The festival will have about 60 beers from 30 brewers, including all of the brewers that are actively making beer in Clark County, Gray said.
Loowit Brewing is making the specialty festival beer this year, an India pale ale called 1404 Hop Street. Owners Devon Bray and Tom Poffenroth created the concoction with a proprietary mix of specialty grains with which they were eager to experiment, the two said.
“We’ve been wanting to do a second IPA for a while, and we wanted to play around with it, so we tried some things we haven’t tried before,” Poffenroth said.
The beer is 7.9 percent alcohol and 90 IBU (that’s beer shorthand for a mid- to high-range bitterness).
“It doesn’t punch you in the face with bitterness, but it’s a nice blend,” Poffenroth said.
Poffenroth said the Vancouver Brewfest is his favorite local event, although he might be a bit biased, because the event is nearly across the street from Loowit Brewing at 507 Columbia St.
“Oh, we brewers go around and check out each other’s beers at these things,” Poffenroth said. “I enjoy that the Vancouver Brewfest isn’t packed to the gills like some of the Portland events. You can get in and out pretty quickly. There’s food there. It’s just a really relaxed festival.”
Last year, Brewfest organizers sold 5,000 tickets, with 2,000 of those participants taking advantage of return visits on subsequent days. This year, Gray said he hopes to sell 6,000 tickets, with 8,000 repeat visits.
The event will support three local veterans charities: Northwest Battle Buddies, Second Chance Companions and Disabled American Veterans.
“Our goal is to get them a minimum of $2,500 apiece,” Gray said. “Last year, we did three charities and got them $2,000 apiece.”
And along with the beer, music, crafts and food, visitors can also try out Frisbee golf at this year’s event. Organizers have set up a hole-in-one contest and three-day tournament with prizes donated by local businesses.
“It’s a great game,” Gray said. “You don’t have to be too skilled to play, and you can drink beer while you do it.”
Gray said he expects good turnout for this year’s Brewfest, so long as the nice weather holds.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff going on,” Gray said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
If you go
• What: Vancouver Brewfest, a festival featuring beer, wine, mead, cider and spirits from more than 30 local and regional producers. The event, which supports three local veterans charities, also offers live music, and food and craft vendors. Well-behaved dogs are welcome.
• Where: Esther Short Park, West Eighth and Columbia streets, Vancouver.
• When: 3 to 10 p.m. Aug. 8; noon to 10 p.m. Aug. 9; and noon to 7 p.m. Aug. 10.
• Cost: $20 at the gate, includes three-day admission, five tokens for 3-ounce samples and a glass pint glass from Mill City Brew Wërks. Extra tokens are $1 each. Cash payments are encouraged; there will be ATMs on site.
• Web: www.vancouverbrewfest.com. For more on the Clark County beer scene, check out The Columbian’s Brews in Clark blog at www.brewsinclark.com.]]>
Clark County’s Loowit and Amnesia brewing companies will be part of a four-round taste-off competition between regional brewers at New Seasons Market this summer.
Each weekend for three weekends, visitors to the New Seasons Fishers Landing store at 2100B SE 164th Ave. can vote for one beer to qualify for a final weekend taste-off. The competition will be held at several New Seasons locations but the local brewers will only be at the Fisher’s Landing store. The first round begins this coming weekend (June 28-29, 2014) and continues each subsequent weekend.
In the final elimination, held on July 19-20, voters will pick a winner to be crowned the 2014 Neighborhood Favorite brew.
Last year, six Oregon breweries won in 12 New Seasons Market stores. Visit New Seasons Market on the Web for more information.]]>
FIRST IN A SERIES OF CLARK COUNTY BREWERY ENTREPRENURIAL INTERVIEWS
By Cody Gray
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Eric Surface, owner of Mt. Tabor Brewing, to discuss what it’s like to be a Brewery Entrepreneur.
With some assistance from my friends Kim Bishop, Debbie Garrett and Tammy Cleveland, I created a list of questions that I will use to interview each brewery entrepreneur in Clark County over the next year.
I have the contacts because I host the Vancouver Brewfest at Esther Short park, always the second weekend of August, and I’ve become friends with all the local brewers.
I spent 10 years working for the Portland State University Business Outreach program and have always been interested in small business ownership: entrepreneurialism.
Part of this blog series is to research entrepreneurial characteristics and see if there are any patterns specific to micro brewery entrepreneurs, beyond a love of beer.
Eric grew up in Vancouver on the East side and worked for his grandfather’s HVAC company starting in grade school. He’s held other jobs as well including cook, driving range attendant at a golf course, ski instructor, salesman in fire protection/plumbing industry and as a sales manager.
Eric knew he didn’t want to work for someone else and knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur from and early age. He just didn’t know what he was going to settle on until a few years ago. While working full time for someone else, he decided to start his own brewery with a friend.
They first found a location over by Mt Tabor in Portland. When they outgrew that location he opened the doors at at 113 W 9th Street in downtown Vancouver.
He worked full time in sales for his plumbing company and overtime to open the Vancouver spot. Along the way, his business partner had other opportunities and Eric bought him out and is now the sole proprietor.
As one of his top 10 recommendations for someone considering opening a brewpub, he says, “be sanitary and keep on top of the paperwork with a good accountant.”
His most eye-opening discovery was how little brewing you actually get to do compared with all the other business functions needed to create and grow a micro-brewery.
He did confess that one interesting and fulfilling job when owning your own brewery is escaping into the simple job of cleaning kegs, saying, “I like cleaning kegs,” and how relaxing that simple task can be after working on the business.
Eric has plans to self distribute locally as well as expand through wholesaling outside the Vancouver/Portland metro area. He also retails from the tasting room where he will soon have 12 of his own beers on tap.
He’s a salesman at heart and really enjoys getting out and talking to people, interacting and teaching others about his beer.
Like so many other brewery entrepreneurs, he is not a full-time employee at the brewery. He has set some short and long term goals in order to one day achieve that dream of solely working for himself and bringing home a paycheck.
His deciding factor, given his unique circumstances, is when he reaches 100 barrels a month in sales – that’s about 3,000 gallons of beer.
He has been able to stop working for the plumbing company, relying on family savings and other income as he invests (and Risks) it all for the future.
His short term goal, which is in the works, is to open a production facility by the end of November 2014 in the heart of micro-beer land, inner SE Portland.
From there he wants to reach his long term goal of running 3 brew pubs across the metro area and reaching 200-350 barrel a month production.
He has found that 15 barrel brewing systems work great for him.
I say, “Go get’em Eric!”]]>
Vancouver’s Loowit Brewing Company has won two medals in the 2014 Washington Beer Awards.
The company won gold for its Two-Sixteen Red Ale in the Irish Red Ale category and bronze for its Shimmergloom Stout in the Irish/British Stout category.
In 2013, Loowit also won gold at the same event for Vandalia Summer Ale in the fruit beer category.
Loowit Brewing was the only SW Washington brewery to receive medals in the competition.
Here are the beer descriptions:
ABOUT TWO-SIXTEEN RED ALE
A very approachable beer featuring a well balanced malt profile rounded out with Northwest hops of the
Willamette and Cascade varieties. This beer is distributed in bottles and kegs in western Washington between
Vancouver and Tacoma.
ABOUT SHIMMERGLOOM STOUT
An oatmeal stout with rich chocolate notes and smooth, creamy mouthfeel. This beer is distributed in kegs in
western Washington between Vancouver and Tacoma. Shimmergloom will soon become the third beer offering in
Loowit’s bottle lineup beginning Summer of 2014.
ABOUT WASHINGTON BEER AWARDS
A professional beer competition open to all of Washington’s breweries. This inaugural competition drew over 400
entries from 75 breweries spread all over the state. The competition was held at Elliott Bay Public House &
Brewery with around 40 trained beer judges evaluating beers spanning over 90 styles from the Brewers Association
Beer Style Guidelines.
The competition was held with the endorsement of the Washington Beer Commission as a way to celebrate
Washington’s growing brewing culture and recognize excellence in the craft. All of Washington’s craft breweries
were invited to submit entries to the competition held in a similar format to other craft beer competitions like the
Great American Beer Festival® and World Beer Cup®.
ABOUT LOOWIT BREWING COMPANY
Founded in 2010 by longtime Vancouver residents Devon Bray and Thomas Poffenroth, Loowit Brewing Company
is the latest significant addition to underpin a revitalized downtown Vancouver, Washington. Loowit began
brewing commercially and opened its doors in October 2012. The company specializes in brewing small batch,
hand crafted ales that are developed with a thoughtful approach balanced by a Pacific Northwest flair.
By Phil Chou
Dirty Hands Brewery
Now that we’ve been open for 6 months, it’s time for some reflection. Number one; please accept my apologies for being a slack blogger. Many other tasks always seemed to push blogging down the priority list. That said, it’s been quite a journey! Many adventures were experienced in all aspects of our operation from brewing to finances.
The first hurdle to be overcome was learning our brewing system. Every system has its quirks and ours was no exception. The first thing that you learn is that there is no handy-dandy owner’s manual that will walk you through the system. You basically learn by brewing and making a lot of calls to the vendor and friends in the industry. Needless to say, operations procedures have changed a bit from our first brew to current operating procedures!
Once we got rolling with the system, we had to decide what beers to brew. All the beers that we make have to be consistent with our core beer values of being full flavored, yet very drinkable. We saw an opportunity to brew a wheat beer, since no other downtown brewer offered a wheat beer. It was winter, so it was a no brainer to have beers of color on tap, in our case, a brown and stout. Being a Pacific Northwest brewer, you must also offer an IPA. Of course, we brewed our IPA after the beers mentioned above, which meant that we didn’t have on tap for our grand opening last November! Definitely, a lesson learned in planning production schedules.
When the grand opening hit, we were not prepared for the chaos that ensued. Now, when I speak of chaos, I mean the good chaos, not the bad! The minute we opened our doors, we were, as my Irish friends like to say, “jammers”. Now this was what I meant by good chaos, I’d rather have a lot of people show up than not. With the huge crowd that we had, it caused my dinosaur-sized brain to begin to lock up. I had never worked a cash register or keep track of multiple orders in any previous job that I’ve held (and neither had my business partner, Grant)! To say that we were overwhelmed is an understatement. However, we managed to make it through the night and were extremely grateful for all of the people that had come out to sample our wares.
In the few short months since our opening, we’ve had a great time! It’s been awesome developing beer recipes and seeing them come to fruition. Seeing people enjoy the beers that we make is very gratifying and spurs us on to make more! The Brewery has given us the opportunity to meet new people every day. We especially appreciate our regulars! We’ve also tried to give back to the community by participating in events such as Brew Fest for MS and the Clark County Food Bank Tacos & Taps.
The next step in the evolution of Dirty Hands is transitioning from a tap room to a brewpub. We’ve spent the past few weeks putting in a kitchen! Being neophytes in the restaurant game, we brought in some great consultants in Bill Hayden and Chef Rob DeLaura. They helped us out big time in setting up the kitchen, as well as developing a menu.
The food will be awesome! We like to call it eclectic pub food. Some of the items that we’ll be offering include Brewschetta, Kettle Chip Nachos, Beer Cheese Soup, Chicken and Apple Sausage Cobb, the Dirty Dog, Sicilian Dog, Duck Sausage Hash, and Brewmaster’s Meatloaf.
Looks like beer marinade doesn’t just make meat tastier, it’s also good for you!
Here’s a recent press release from the American Chemical Society:
Beer marinade could reduce levels of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
The smells of summer — the sweet fragrance of newly opened flowers, the scent of freshly cut grass and the aroma of meats cooking on the backyard grill — will soon be upon us. Now, researchers are reporting that the very same beer that many people enjoy at backyard barbeques could, when used as a marinade, help reduce the formation of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats. The study appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
I.M.P.L.V.O. Ferreira and colleagues explain that past studies have shown an association between consumption of grilled meats and a high incidence of colorectal cancer. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are substances that can form when meats are cooked at very high temperatures, like on a backyard grill. And high levels of PAHs, which are also in cigarette smoke and car exhaust, are associated with cancers in laboratory animals, although it’s uncertain if that’s true for people. Nevertheless, the European Union Commission Regulation has established the most suitable indicators for the occurrence and carcinogenic potency of PAHs in food and attributed maximum levels for these compounds in foods. Beer, wine or tea marinades can reduce the levels of some potential carcinogens in cooked meat, but little was known about how different beer marinades affect PAH levels, until now.
The researchers grilled samples of pork marinated for four hours in Pilsner beer, non-alcoholic Pilsner beer or a black beer ale, to well-done on a charcoal grill. Black beer had the strongest effect, reducing the levels of eight major PAHs by more than half compared with unmarinated pork. “Thus, the intake of beer marinated meat can be a suitable mitigation strategy,” say the researchers.
The full research paper is online at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/jf404966w
The authors acknowledge funding from Universidade do Porto.]]>
The second annual Brew Fest for MS is coming to the Brickhouse Bar & Grill in downtown Vancouver at 6 p.m. on Feb. 12.
The craft brew fundraiser, organized by the volunteer athletic group Team Road Kill, benefits the Oregon/Southwest Washington chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
It will feature six Clark County brewers:
● Mt Tabor Brewing
● Loowit Brewing Company
● Heathen Brewing
● West Highland Brewing Company
● Dirty Hands Brewing Company
● Beerded Brothers Brewing
“We’re excited to partner with so many great breweries,” said Team Road Kill member Ron Haye. “We appreciate their support, and we’re excited for a fun community event.”
Admission is $10, which includes a tasting glass and four tasting tickets. Additional tickets will be available for purchase at the festival.
Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1397411973843853/ for more information.]]>
Dirty Hands Brewing will hold its grand opening from 3 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9.
The taproom, at 114 E. Evergreen Blvd., will have a selection of beer and food for the event.
Here are a few teasers from their Facebook page:
We’d love to see your pictures. If you’d like to share them, I’ll add them to this post on Monday. Send them to email@example.com.
Heathen Brewing eyeing brewpub
Plans for Salmon Creek project hinge on county fee holiday
By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter
A local beermaker’s dream of showcasing his brew in a Salmon Creek-area pub could be realized next year if his plan meets criteria for Clark County’s fee holiday.
A 100 percent waiver of traffic impact and permit fees could make the project — estimated at between $1.2 million and $1.6 million — pencil out, said Sunny Parsons, owner of Vancouver’s Heathen Brewing. The direct-sale brewery is one of the fastest-growing in the local craft beer industry, expanding from Parson’s hobby to a three-employee operation during its first year of business.
Parsons now operates the brewery in a commercial building next to his Vancouver home. He said Heathen Brewing participates in direct sales to pubs and private parties all over the Portland-Vancouver-metro area and as far south as Eugene, Ore., and east to Bend, Ore.
“As fast as we can make beer, people are buying it,” said Parsons.
Now, he also wants a restaurant setting to feature his beer. Preliminary plans call for a 9,400-square-foot building at 2311 N.E. 119th St., southeast of the Klineline Bridge. About 5,400 square feet would include space for a restaurant, bar, kitchen and brewing, with the rest considered flex space to be used by the business or leased to a tenant.
“We’re hoping to add an additional 22 jobs between the restaurant and brewery workers,” Parsons said.
He co-owns the project site on the south bank of Salmon Creek with his mother, Cindy Severson. The 0.58-acre tract, which cost them $400,000 in 2006, is next door to the Cascade Flooring America business, also co-owned by Severson and Parsons.
Earlier talk of developing the site never came to fruition, due to high traffic impact fees, Parsons said.
“It just didn’t seem feasible,” he said.
At first glance, the development meets all the requirements for exemptions, said Marty Snell, director of Clark County’s Community Development Department.
Snell said the project would be eligible under the resolution to waive all fees, which can range from $25,000 to $300,000. He added that the holiday was extended in June to all commercial developments, including retail projects, which previously only qualified for a 50 percent reduction.
First adopted in 2012, the original fee holiday also stipulated that employers had to generate between 10 and 15 jobs in order to receive the fee waiver. In June, the county’s three-member board of commissioners did away with the job requirement and voted to exempt all commercial projects from fees as a way to generate jobs.
“If it’s a commercial or office building or if they’re opening a storefront or processing facility, they would be eligible,” Snell said. “Currently, there’s no minimum employer number you have to hit. It’s more open-ended.”
Projects developed under all versions of the fee holiday so far have generated about 450 jobs and total about $58 million worth of new construction, Snell said.
Parsons said it’s too early to say for sure whether the fee waiver will spur development of a restaurant and production facility for Heathen Brewing. He expects to know more after a Nov. 21 meeting with county development officials to go over his plans.
“Right now, we’re more in the wish phase than we are in the breaking-ground stage,” Parsons said.]]>
By Phil Chou
Dirty Hands Brewery
Sorry about the delay, lot’s of stuff going on!
Anyhoo, as promised, here are some thoughts on our equipment install day. It started out with a drive down to our vendor in Camas, OR, Global Stainless. We got those good folks to load up the brewhouse and cellar tanks on to our friend Mark’s flatbed trailer (thanks Mark and Rob, we couldn’t have done it without ya!).
Luckily it wasn’t raining and the flatbed was just big enough to fit all of the tanks!
Next, we hit the road taking the tanks back to Vancouver. We had nightmare visions of the tanks coming loose and spilling on to the freeway, so there was a lot of nervousness along the way. We felt a little like Jed Clampett moving his family out to Beverly Hills!
Once we got to the Brewery, then more fun ensued. None of the doors were large enough to get the the tanks through, so we had to hire a glazier to remove one of the large windows on the side of the building. No worries, right? Wrong! We were plenty worried! If the window broke, that would have been a another few thousand shekels that we would have to pony up for a replacement. In order to get the tanks off of the flatbed, we had to rent a crane. With the flatbed/truck and crane, we had to take up a goodly portion of the block by the building, which meant that we had to get some permits from the City to take up the parking spaces and also to block off the sidewalk while we were working. For a change, doing the right thing actually paid off. A C-Tran stormtrooper stopped by and was about to tell us to move our vehicles and crane, until we showed him our permits, which caused him to walk away, sorely disappointed!
With the petty bureaucrat out of the way, we were able to start moving tanks. This involved craning the tanks off of the flatbed to the open window, leaning the them through the opening, then pulling the tanks through to the taproom space.
The next challenge was getting the tanks downstairs to the production area. There was no way we could get them down the stairs, so we had to have a hole cut into the floor (Shhhhh! Don’t tell our landlord!). The tanks were then winched into the basement.
After repeating this procedure multiple times, we managed to get all of the tanks into the basement. All in all it was one of our best days. A lot of bad and expensive things could have happened, broken glass, dented tanks, electrocution, crushed feet, C-Tran citations, etc…but they didn’t! If everything we did went this well, we would have been open months ago! Nonetheless, you are thankful for these kinds of days!
Here’s what the production area looked like after we arranged all of the tanks.