|The big board at Ice Harbor Brewing|
I'm tempted to go off on a rant about the many rural-based breweries that produce great beer, but that's probably best left for another day. I'll leave it at this: A brewery does not have to reside in the state of Multnomah in order for it to produce good beer. Brewing systems may be smaller and less sophisticated in the hilterlands, but there are many good beers there...even if they aren't always poured in the fanciest, trendiest, hippest (think hipster) joints. Good beer has no shame, wherever it lives.
|Salvaged dairy equipment|
The 10 bbl brewing system at Ice Harbor is old school, fabricated from recycled dairy equipment. Lest you laugh, please recall that a lot of early craft brewers, including Kurt and Rob Widmer, used recycled dairy equipment to get their brands off the ground. What they have at Ice Harbor isn't fancy, but it works just fine, thanks.
|Four modern fermenters keep things moving|
Back to distribution...beyond the two locations, Ice Harbor distributes its beer by the keg and bottle primarily in the Tri-Cities area. They were selling 12 and 22 oz bottles at the pub and those can evidently be found in local stores. An industry friend says Ice Harbor is looking to have its beer distributed in Portland and possibly Seattle in the near future, which would up the ante, for sure.
|Specifically for dry-hopping|
Brewing capacity won't be a huge issue until extended distribution takes hold. If and when that happens, they will likely want to install a larger brewhouse and maybe a more fermenters. Fortunately, they have a bit of space in this location to update and expand their brewing capacity. This runs contrary to most places I've been to in recent times.
|Take a look down the bar|
They were serving up a nice list of beers. I ordered up a tray of tasters that included Tangerine Hefeweizen, Columbia Kolsch, Runaway Red, Nut Brown Ale, Harvest Pale Ale and IPA. The gal at the bar gave me separate, smaller samples of their Fresh Hop IPA and Fresh Hop Double Red. Rural charm.
|The tasting tray|
The most accomplished beer on the plate was the IPA, which featured a perfect balance of malt backbone and hops. This beer is reminiscent of Boneyard RPM, nicely dry-hopped to maximize piney, pineapple notes in aroma and flavor. Of the beers I tasted, the IPA is the one I would definitely bring to Portland.
|Spinning wheel determines the price of your next beer|
They were not pouring their imperial IPA, Hop Warrior, when I stopped in. Hop Warrior isn't huge by IIPA standards at just over 8 %, and not much bigger than their standard IPA, which comes in at 6.8%, I bought a bottle of each to take home and eventually got around to tasting them. Hop Warrior is a bigger hop bomb than the standard, but these are both nice beers that could attract interest in urban markets. In my opinion.
|Tap handles mark the territory|
Special thanks to the folks at Ice Harbor for showing me around and making me feel right at home, in particular brewer Adam Crane. Adam subbed in nicely for Ice Harbor's fearless head of brewing, Russ Corey.