Back in time: pictorial report from my July 15 trip to Caldera Brewing
A couple of weeks ago I was in Southern Oregon, baking in the heat of some serious summertime! After touring the farm at Alpha Beta Hops, I took a trip to Caldera Brewing for another tour led by brewer Adam Bensen.
I didn’t actually take all many notes… But took enough pictures to make up for the lack of words!
And who needs words when the kind folks at Caldera have already written them?
Caldera Brewing Company was incorporated March 12, 1996. The first brew was July 4, 1997 and the first keg sold was August 28, 1997. Caldera is distributed by Summit Beverage in Southern Oregon, Big Foot Beverages in the Roseburg / Southern Coast area and Point Blank Distributing in Portland, Eugene, Bend, and the Northern Coast area.
Caldera is the first microbrewery in the State of Oregon to brew and can its own beer. For the first eight years, Caldera was draft-only until June 2005 when the Pale Ale was put into cans. In 2007, the IPA was added to the can line up, and in 2008 the Ashland Amber became the third flavor. In 2013, Caldera added Lawnmower Lager and Pilot Rock Porter to its lineup.
You can learn more about Caldera’s canning on their site. And yes, you’ll get a video to go with your pictures!
You can also learn all about their recent expansion in Sam Wheeler’s March 2014 Oregon Beer Growler article “CALDERA READY TO JOIN OREGON’S LARGE BREWERIES.”
Below is the Laverne & Shirley on the canning line shot. And yes, yes, I know they were on a brewery bottling line, but who can help what those shows in formative years stick in your noggin for you to pluck out later?
Beautiful twist in this bit.
City of cans, waiting to be filled!
But it’s not just cans! They also do a bit with grain.
They also use malts from the country of origin for certain styles.
And they get hops from some familiar faces…
And some from friends I’ve yet to make…
And guess what? They brew too.
Beautiful facility and I came away with some treasures for the archives!
Fred Eckhardt: interview pre-research and delightful library finds
I mentioned in a tweet or a post last weekend that I was prepping for an interview with Fred Eckhardt. The interview happened, and is happily on its way to being accessioned into our collections, but I wanted to share a treasure trove of “good finds” I had at the Multnomah County Library.
My dear OHBA collaborator, Peter Kopp, had a plague go through his house and had to postpone a research trip that included leading this very important oral history. John Foyston and Tim Hills were set to fill out the interview team, but I still felt a certain pressure to cram.
I knew about Fred’s more popular work as a home brew and beer style book author, as well as his work as a columnist for the Oregonian (1984-1990) and contributor to publications like Celebrator Beer News, All About Beer, Zymurgy, and American Brewer. I also knew that Fred was VITAL (yes, so vital that the word has to be in all caps) in spreading the gospel of craft brewing (back when everyone called it micro-brewing). In answering the “Why Oregon?” question Fred cites brewer-friendly distribution and brewpub laws, as well as a “multiple tap situation” that meant there was room for craft beer for people to taste. But he’s also said that the fact that there were columnists writing about beer in the local papers had a profound impact on the level of educated consumers we had here. So I suppose the grand conclusion is that because people knew about and saw “micro” beer in their daily papers and local drinking holes, they were more comfortable trying or brewing something new themselves.
Fred Eckhardt helped out with both.
The library has several editions of “A treatise on lager beer” (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 7th editions), as well as a 1st edition of “Essentials of beer styles” and the 1977 “Beer tasting and the evaluation for the amateur.” The latter was co-authored by Itsuo Takita, who happened to be the head of the science and social science department at the Multnomah County Library and co-publisher of Amateur Brewer. Librarians, we’re everywhere!
Including at the public library on a sunny summer day. Yes, that brings us back to me, at the library, with a box I’d paged from their closed stacks. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I’d found a catalog record for all these publications called the “Amateur Brewer,” but I suppose something glossier! What I got was the box at the top of this post and an assortment of shapes, sizes, and colors.
Amateur Brewer was published between 1976 and 1985, and skimming through the box was like reading a pamphlet file on early craft brewing and home brewing history. Included were classifieds, letters, educational opportunities, how-tos, tips for improving beer and judging beer competitions, book reviews, cooking with beer (Nov 1982, spring 1986), and beer analysis.
Shameless collection development plea: I’d love to get a donation of all of these if one of my fair readers has a stack they’d like us to save!
I started my exploration in reverse chronological order, probably because I started with the glossy magazine with the eye-catching cover.
This first one was the spring 1986 issue, which happened to be the first issue published by Fred’s replacement, Bill Owens from Hayward California. Fred remained as technical editor and included on page 3 was a great tribute to his work.
The article listed other publications by Fred, including something called “Talk to your beer” and “The subject: beer.” I admit that my favorite was the one entitled “Listen to your beer,” a short newsletter Fred had written from 1982-1983 and another publication I’d paged from the stacks.
This one caught my eye since I happened to be heading to the 103rd birthday party at McMenamins Edgefield later in the day.
Excuse the fact that the rest of this post will feel like a big list with pictures, but these were some of the articles that stood out to me as significant markers in this hops and home/commercial brewing timelines. They are by no means the only interesting articles or the only relevant information, so by all means make a visit (or pull out your old copies if you have them) and explore on your own. These are treasures!
Winter/spring 1985 (pages 5-14): grow your own hops by Pat McMullen of the Marysville Oast in Corvallis. Pat’s a home brewer, but in this article is offering info on sales of hops, hop rhizomes available for spring (+ cost), and a bit on origin.
Winter/spring 1985 (pages 2-4): hop mania by Dave Wills, who was an OSU grad in 1980 and still runs both Fresh Hops & Oregon Trail Brewery in 2014.
May/June 1983: New Albion fails
March/April 1983: Minneapolis Home Brew Club closed. Fred notes the importance of leadership in these clubs, saying that while John DeBenedetti, Ann McCallum, and Fred have acted as advisors for the Oregon Brew Crew, he thinks the club benefits from members having single year leadership positions (which doesn’t allow an individual to dominate).
Winter 1983: advertisements start
May/June 1982: List of brewery libraries in the US and Canada, as well as tips for getting ahold of beer related texts from local libraries.
February/March 1982: UC Davis Extension offering a course on starting a brewery.
December 1981: Article from Oregon Brew Crew president Jeff Jones.
December 1981: Cartwright Deliverance Ale — I love this story. Coury ran into some financial difficulties, so he proposed to produce an ale for the home brewing community on a subscription basis. So they raised money for a hundred cases, which Fred calls Christmas ale and reports is wonderfully hoppy.
There’s also a follow up piece about the government’s intervention on behalf of this strong beer. Keep it under 4% or don’t sell it in your brewery… Read to the end and you’ll see a note celebrating this local beer — and maybe taunting folks who don’t have a local option?
October 1981: includes an index for past issues, including Cartwright in issues 6;38, 7;53, 8;75
Summer (I think) 1981: mention of a movie called “Home Brew Madness,” starring Charles Matzen and directed by Charles Papazian. There’s also a new Cartwright brew called Legal Lager, which was a commemorative ale tribute to the Lewis & Clark law school. The idea was pitched by Tom Burns, who worked p/t at the brewery and was member of the graduating class, and the label was designed by law professor Jack Landau.
October 1980: beer is good for your health! It’s in the news then too, with a bit about Providence Hospital serving beer and wine?
Summer 1980: Amidst news from Anchor, New Albion, Sierra Nevada, California Steam Brewing Co., and Debakkers, comes news that Cartwright has brewed the first commercial craft brew in Oregon. It was aptly called “Portland Ale.”
June 1979: Announcing Cartwright Brewing Co., a family venture by Chuck and Shirley Coury, formerly of Cartwright Vineyards.
Summer 1978: beer club directory from US, more discussion about registration legislation for homebrewers, UC Davis adds brewing to fermentation program.
Fall 1977: hop issue with an article by Paul Goulet Farm in Gervais, Oregon.
Summer 1977: Lee Coe visits from Berkeley, haiku and debate over whether home brewing is legal (apparently this discussion was active the year before as Fred refers to it in another issue). They are both encouraging readers to contact senators to sponsor a bill that is simpler and has fewer restrictions than HR2028 (Rep Barber Conable, R-NY). Note that this issue intro has the “talk to your beer” title at the top.
Summer 1977: New Albion opens by this issue.
Spring 1977: Lots of news in this issue, including the 1977 hop drought and Henry Weinhardt releasing their new “special reserve.” Some credit this brew as a main spark for creating consumers that were accepting a more flavorful beer from commercial companies (the salvation from the “yellow” era). Of course home brewers would argue they already liked more flavorful beer — and made it themselves.
Winter 1977: the philosophy of the amateur brewer (vol 1).
Winter 1977: classified ad for a brewery for sale and info about the sale of Rainier.
So many good finds! And someday I hope to watch Home Brew Madness…