Ask any man or woman with a beer in their hand if they’ve ever home brewed a beer before? Go ahead, we’ll wait.
You back? Ok, so what was their answer? Did they confirm your suspicions that they have indeed brewed a beer at home? Or was it the opposite? Chances are pretty high that the man or woman you spoke with has never home brewed before.
And don’t conclude those who say yes are still brewing beer from their stove top. In fact the number of home brewers, resting 5 gallon carboys in the basement, is pretty small. This number is small but it’s more than the number of breweries who claim a membership with the Brewers Association. All the more reason to celebrate when an amateur brewer decides to open or work for a brewery.
Which is why I’m congratulating David Lederfine and the pending opening of Awesome Ales.
If you’ve heard of David Lederfine then you have probably enjoyed his beers at places like McMenamin’s (circa 1995), Astoria Brewing, Oregon Trail, and Three Creeks. Then again you might recall him hanging out with his partner Mike Hogan at the Snake & Weasel. Unfortunately the Snake & Weasel would only last 14 years and fall short of Mike & David’s dream of starting a brewery.
Now 10 years later David is happy to announce the start of a cooperative brewery.
Here’s how David sells the idea.
“Back during the times of the Snake and Weasel there were a few hundred craft brewers in the country. It was difficult for the Rose and Raindrop to get fifty different breweries to fill the handles they had at that time, now there are more than fifty in Portland alone.” As much talk as there is about a craft beer bubble, the reality is that the growth of consumption still far outweighs the growth in the number of breweries.
“The similarity of now and then is the idea of tenant brewing.” He likes the idea of making the most of systems that are already in place, “It allows us to work independently of certain financial pressures while working collectively with breweries that have capacity, giving them a welcome revenue stream.”
In fact if this model works you could anticipate hearing about future brewers reflecting on their start at Awesome Ales, sharing space with David.
Sharing equipment is an innovative way to approach manufacturing while creating a stronger, intentional community. “In a few years, when we start approaching the sixteen hundred barrel mark, I would like to build a brewery, one that will have excess capacity that I can offer to somebody else so they can get their start.”
With the paperwork signed and the kegs already purchased, David is happy to announce the first of many beers being released.
Awesome Ale, “Southern Sky” – French Pale Ale
Our Biere de Oregon, “Southern Sky” is the marriage of a French biere de garde and a Bohemian Pilsner, with certain Oregon sensibilities. Effervescent and nicely bodied with moderate hopping that carries and transforms throughout the mouth with a very dry finish. ABV%5.8 IBU 38
Totally Awesome IPA, “The 4:19” – Northwest IPA
Take a minute to try this one. An updated classic Northwest IPA with a light body and heavy hops. The use of six different hops gives this a fully rounded hop quality, heavy with grapefruit and tangerine notes. ABV %6.9 IBU 89
Absolutely Awesome Ale, “Spike Driver” – American Strong Ale.
Named after the legendary John Henry, the steel drivin’ man. This strong ale is garnet red with a creamy white head. Perfectly balanced like the head of a sledgehammer, the malts and hops blend to make a drinkable strong ale void of the cloying sweetness found in some examples. Notes of plum, raisin and currant. ABV %7.9 IBU 80