When it comes to locating craft beer here in Portland it comes with very little challenge. However in certain parts of the city breweries are still hard to come by. Take for instance finding a brewery east of Interstate 205 in Portland, currently there is only one, Gateway Brewing and its very small operation on its ½ barrel system.
Arriving to far Northeast Portland in the city’s Argay Neighborhood will be Level Beer. This new 20-barrel brewery will take over the space that is currently occupied by The Barn, a produce market owned by Trapold Farms. This 3rd generation family owned farm began its operations in an around The Barn located at 5211 NE 148th Avenue in the early 1940’s. As development moved it the family relocated the farm to Sauvie Island where they currently grow its produce.
As The Barn closes its doors right around Thanksgiving, Level Beer will begin its build out on the property beginning in December with a goal of opening in the spring of 2017.
Level Beer will be owned and operated by Geoff Phillips and two other managing partners that are yet to be named. Both are currently employed elsewhere and want to wait to have their identities revealed. One of the two will be the brewmaster. Phillips who is better known as currently owning Bailey’s Taproom, The Upper Lip and BrewedOregon wants to stress that these ventures are not involved in Level Beer.
With a brew house already on order from Criveller Group, the beers in planning will be sessionable, hop forward beers. Criveller Group provides premium stainless steel tanks and equipment to the wine, beer, cider and distillation industries worldwide. Level Beer will purchase a 20-barrel brewhouse with two 20-barrel and two 40-barrel fermenters alongside two 40-barrel brite tanks. When asked why they decided upon a 20-barrel system, Phillips stated, “People seem to be outgrowing their 10 barrel systems so quickly. We wanted something that we can grow into.”
For test batches, Level Beer will also incorporate a small 2-1/2 barrel pilot system also being built by Criveller Group.
During the transition to the new brewery, Phillips plans to keep the building intact and will even keep the greenhouse for future potential use. His plan is to also convert some of the land on the two-acre property into a hop field along with a more family friendly environment. This will include lawn games, a kid’s play structure, and plenty of outside seating. The operation will be strictly a production brewery with a tasting room. Similar to other local production breweries, Level Beer will also bring in a rotating lineup of local food trucks but that is yet to be determined.
As for those that have come to know and appreciate The Barn, Phillips states, “We will be looking at ways to continue some of The Barn’s business, by potentially doing farmers markets throughout the year.” Level Beer can be reached at email@example.com.
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.