When people think of craft brewing in Oregon, the initial thought might be of the Portland metro area where breweries keep popping up like mold spores on a dirty keg. But in the southern part of the Beaver State are a variety, albeit a dispersed lot, of craft breweries that are bolstering Oregon’s reign as Beervana. Klamath Falls in the south central part of the state is a particularly interesting destination for lovers of flavorful grog. With two breweries to complement a scenic high desert valley backdrop, the town is home to more than 20,000 people. An hour’s drive south of Crater Lake National Park, it’s easy to see why the Klamath Indians made this land home. Known to the natives as Yulalona or Iwauna, which referred to the phenomenon of the Link River flowing upstream when the south wind blew hard, the region is rich with native culture despite being converted into a logging community in the mid-1800s.
The oldest of Klamath Falls’ two brewpubs is Mia and Pias. Now celebrating its 11th Anniversary at 3545 Summers Lane, the brewpub stands on what once was brewmeister Rod Kucera’s family farm. The dairy farm was converted in 1996 before the brewpub that is there today opened its doors in January of 1997. The atmosphere inside the pub is that of a large rec room with a pizza hall on one side and a bar and game room on the other. It seems fitting that the Kucera’s dream began in Keno, Oregon, since lottery games are an attraction for locals at the pub. Brewing with a 5-barrel system, with at least nine different beers readily available on tap, the self-taught brewer Kucera is a former professional rodeo bull rider. Many of the patrons observed in the pub were Coors Light drinkers, with the occasional beer geek partaking in the remaining 10th Anniversary Whiskey Barrel-aged Barelywine or the Rod’s Rodeo Red. Mia and Pia’s produces both ales and lagers and at last count had eleven house beers on tap.
Across town at 1320 Main Street, Klamath Basin Brewing Company’s The Creamery brewpub has resided since 2005. Located in the remodeled Crater Lake Creamery Building from 1935, the brewery is the only known in the world to use geothermal energy in their brewing process. Natural underground hot springs heat the mash to produce some of the best beers in the Northwest. With eleven beers currently on tap, The Creamery building is a wide-open smoke-free establishment with great food and a friendly staff. Founded by homebrewers Lonnie Clement and Del Azevedo started off brewing on 2-barrel system before an investor who believed in their vision and talents helped the two cultivate their dream. Now with fabulous full-bodied brews like Crystal Springs IPA, Butt-Crack Brown, and rich seasonals like Cabin Fever Stout, Klamath Basin Brewing is easily one of Oregon (and the Northwest)’s best breweries.
Angelo grew up in Maine and is proud to call New England his original home. Cascadia is now his home. He fell in love with great beer in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California.
He has been a correspondent for the Portland Tribune's Guest on Tap column, LivePDX.com, and has been featured in publications such as Beer Northwest and PDX Magazine. Angelo also has a great interest in independent music, and has been a booker and organizer for shows around the Portland under the name Pop Tomorrow! Angelo garnered much knowledge regarding beer from his experiences homebrewing, working at Belmont Station, Pyramid Brewing, Upright Brewing, By the Bottle, Beer Revolution, Olde Depot Public House, Falling Sky Brewing, Cascade Brewing, and from many many knowledgeable, passionate, and loving people along the way. It is Angelo's mission to bring "infotainment" and "edumation" to the readers of this website. If you have any questions or comments, or would like to contribute, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org