Three years ago Portland saw its first opening of a brewer from the Eastern United States with Fat Head’s Brewing. Now we have received word that another brewery from the east will enter our fully developed craft beer market when it opens in the Rose City. Next month Asheville, North Carolina based Thirsty Monk states that it will close on the purchase of what is described as “a well-known Portland beer bar”. It will also eventually bring in a small batch brewhouse into this to be determined location.
Thirsty Monk founded in 2008 is a brewer of Belgian-style beers based in Asheville where it operates Thirsty Monk Downtown, Thirsty Monk Biltmore Park, Top of the Monk craft cocktail bar, and Brother Joe’s Coffee Pub.
UPDATE: Thirsty Monk has now taken over the former Deep Draft Brewing in Denver, Colorado located at 1604 E 17th Ave.
The brewer has announced a westward expansion to Portland and Denver. In Denver it will bring in Brian Grace as its Head Brewer when it too takes over a turnkey 12-barrel brewhouse when it closes on it this month. Plans include a remodel of the existing taproom, slated for grand opening after Thanksgiving 2017 when it begins its beer production there. Just as here in Portland the soon to be sold business’ name is not mentioned.
Grace began his brewing career at Moylan’s and has since held positions as Head Brewer at Crooked Stave and Production Manager at Jolly Pumpkin. He will now become Head Brewer of all of Thirsty Monk’s brewing operations. “We are so excited to have Brian join our Monk family, not just because he’s a well-respected Head Brewer, but also, he’s a creative and kind person. Good people make better beer,” says Barry Bialik, Thirsty Monk CEO, in a statement.
Here in Portland it’s anyone’s guess at which well-known Portland beer bar is selling but a few come to the top of our list. But it won’t be long until we all find out as we are only a few weeks away from November when Thirsty Monk will take over operation when it expects to close on this transaction.
Thirsty Monk states that it will continue with the current bar’s name until sometime in early 2018 when it will fully transition into a Thirsty Monk. This location will initially serve a selection of guest taps until its small batch brewery gets started. It also plans on serving Thirsty Monk beers brewed from its forthcoming Denver location here in Portland.
“Denver and Portland will be much more than just second homes to Thirsty Monk,” says Bialik in a statement. “We will embrace the beer, food, and craft cultures in each of the cities, and operate as a true local brewery and pub. Thirsty Monk has always been about sharing beer knowledge and the European pub culture. Being in Denver and Portland will help us learn from some of the country’s best craft beer markets, and to design beers influenced by all the communities we call home.”
Meanwhile its Asheville brewing operations will remain under the guidance of Norm Penn, who has been promoted to Vice President of Thirsty Monk. Thirsty Monk Downtown and Biltmore Park will continue to serve the growing selection of Thirsty Monk beers along side curated, rotating guest taps.
“We’re expanding Thirsty Monk in a whole new way, linking a network of localized brewing hubs. Smart growth, craft-style. No need to sell the soul to expand. Our soul, creative spirit and community roots are what we and our beers are all about,” adds Bialik in a statement.
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.