An Interview with Trinity Brewing's Jason Yester for Saraveza's 2nd Annual Farmhouse & Wild Ale Festival
Next weekend, Saraveza and Bad Habit Room will host the 2nd Annual Portland Farmhouse & Wild Ale Festival. This year’s event will feature over 30 breweries throughout the two-day festival that’ll take place on Saturday, March 29th and Sunday, March 30th.
Over the past few years farmhouse style ales have become more popular and prominently featured at more craft beer bars. This style is also pulling in more novice craft beer drinkers. The history of farmhouse ales dates back to the 19th century in Northern Europe. During this time Belgian brewers were more known for their saisons while the French brewers were learning to perfect their Bière de Garde. Now many American craft brewers have learned to brew beers inspired from the brewers before them.
Locally we have a few breweries that represent this Farmhouse style of beer quite well. The most notable breweries are Upright Brewing, The Commons Brewery and Logsdon Farmhouse Ales. Back in 2011 Brewpublic helped curate the first Farmhouse inspired beer event in Portland taking place at The BeerMongers. This night of Farmhouse ales featured the aforementioned breweries, though The Commons was still known as Beetje Brewery at the time. In the three years since these breweries have grown and expanded their distribution to reach the ever-growing fan base of this style of beer.
The second year of the Portland Farmhouse & Wild Ale Festival will see a few changes. This year Saraveza will close down the N. Michigan Street and put up some tents to allow for more of a festival type atmosphere. With the additional space, they’ll be pouring more beers than they were able to last year. And for those that want to learn more about these magnificent beers, there will also be some educational forums and discussions led by a few of the featured brewers. Festival entry is $25 and includes commemorative glassware along with 10 drink tickets.
One of the breweries that we are most excited for that’ll be pouring at this year’s Farmhouse fest is Trinity Brewing from Colorado Springs, CO. Trinity Brewing describes themselves as:
“At Trinity Brewing we not only brew the most “Artisinal Beer” in town, we also make huge efforts towards eco-sensativity. We custom built our pub from nearly 100% recycled materials! A number of our beers are even produced in large wooden barrels which previously housed wines or spirits. Whether reviving ancient traditions, or coming up with completely new ideas, our beer will always be challenging for your pallet. Reducing our carbon impact we source our raw materials as locally and as organically as possible.”
We recently sent Jason Yester, “Captain of the Pirate Ship” at Trinity Brewing, some questions about his intentions on signing a distribution deal for Oregon and how he came up with his “Cases of the Mondays” series of beers among other topics.
Q: We recently saw you along with a large group of Trinity Brewing apparel clad people at Oakshire Brewing’s Hellshire Day last month. So what is your connection to Oregon?
A: I grew up in Colorado but I’ve visited Oregon my entire life, as that’s where my Mom’s side of the family has always lived. Visiting my family often I fell in love with the state, and the beer. I see the ‘zany’ and passionate beers we brew at Trinity fitting in nicely with the wonderful beers being made in Oregon.
Q: Rumors are that you have signed with a distributor for Portland? If so, is it safe to announce this new partnership?
A: I do have a ‘handshake’ with a Portland based distributor. I’d like to wait until we ink the contract to announce who it is though.
Q: With the high amount of available packaged craft beer in Portland why did you decide to work on an agreement to distribute Trinity Brewing into such a crowded beer market?
A: First and foremost, I’m a family oriented person and Portland/Oregon distribution is a great platform for getting to see my family more often. My father had a successful kidney transplant last summer, and my mom was the donor. It’s important that I get as much time in with them as possible. Last year Trinity began distribution for the first time outside of our walls, and began selling beer mostly to Denver. We saw growth in volume by 75% with that single move to Denver, and I quickly learned that selling beer in a highly educated community really works for us. I don’t look at Portland as a saturated market, but rather an educated one. Not to come off as arrogant, but I am very proud of our creations and I’ll put Trinity beers up with any beers in the world in that scenario. I also see good room for growth with the styles we bring to the table in Oregon. Also, Portland is definitely a ‘foodie’ city, in fact I think it’s the most approachable city in the country for food. This weighed heavily on the decision to begin sending beer to Oregon as no other style is as flexible with food pairings as Saison. Brewing around 30 different Saisons annually there really is some great opportunity to connect our beers with that culture.
Q: Will you be distributing both draft and package? If so, which varieties?
A: We will be 99.9% bottle only; focusing on 375ml wax sealed and naturally carbonated bottles specifically. We typically bottle 20+ different recipes annually and most if not all of them will be allocated to Oregon. For 2014 I’m very much looking forward to 6 interpretations of our Red Swingline IPA Primitif, versions will include: a Brett only, a fruited, a Lacto only, a Double, and a microbe free Session version. Trinity is specifically known for Wilds. Sours, and Saisons…. we will be shipping plenty of those styles to Oregon. The November scheduled release is “Hopped Toddy Saison,” a Braggot/Saison hybrid beer crafted with 48% honey, fresh ginger, lemon zest, black and orange Pekoe Tea, then aged on American Bourbon barrels, 13.8% ABV. As this beer was brewed in Nov’ 2013 it will be a year old when we release it … I’ve had the pleasure of tasting it a few times as it’s been on barrels for about 5 months now, and I can say one word, AMAZING!
Office Space- Milton Scenes from Team Crystal on Vimeo.
Q: This past January you sent two beers to The Big Woody Festival here in Portland. Red Swingline was very well received even with its lower ABV at an event that was featuring beers that had up to 3 times its 4.1% ABV. This label features Milton Waddams of Office Space as part of the “Cases of the Mondays” series. How did you come up with using Milton Waddams on this series of labels? Did you even hear from Mike Judge (writer and director of Office Space) regarding his character’s likeness?
A: That entire series is a French oak Chardonnay barrel aged Brettanomyces focused ‘petite sour’ line of beers. It all began with TPS Report, the first 100% brett beer brewed in Colorado (maybe the country?). Shortly after opening in 2008 we experimented with our house Wit by using the wild yeast, and placing it in a single keg in our office, as we were worried about contamination in our fermentors. Our office is tiny and having an extra keg in it for 3 months was a huge pain in the ass! The beer was first called “Office Space,” for obvious reasons, but then we began having troubles with our printer and it would literally display the error phrase “PC Load Letter.” If you remember from the movie, that same printer phrase was displayed while trying to print “TPS Reports” in their office. What started out as a joke really gained quite a bit of momentum, and now we have an entire series! I’d love to figure out a way to contact Mike Judge to share some beers and stories with him 🙂
Q: Next weekend you will be sending beer to Saraveza’s 2nd Annual Portland Farmhouse & Wild Ale Festival. Which Trinity beers should we expect to sample?
A: Blow Up Your TV is a new one that will be pouring; this bottle hasn’t even been released yet in Colorado. It’s a Blanche Saison Grisette, a style that evolved outside of Wallonia and in the Hainaut region of Belgium. Very similar to original Saisons, it was born as a beer to satisfy laborers in mines. It’s our first unspiced Saison, but the use rye, a peppery Brettanomyces, and triticale make the beer appear spicy. The light use of Lactobacillus also gives this beer a refreshing acidity. The second beer we are sending is called Saison Man, and is a beer which is very close to my heart. This is a French oak Chardonnay barrel aged Provisional Saison brewed with Brettanomyces. Inspired by ‘pre-industrial’ Saisons, it’s funky and lightly acidic with a dry finish from using Grains of Paradise. There’s a nice note of vanilla too rising from long periods of time on French oak. The final beer we are sending came out of our cellar, Three Flowers Saison Vieille. Another Brettanomyces Saison brewed with the tips of 3 secret flowers, the result is earthy/sweet and spicy. (In case you were wondering, every Saison we brew is done with at least 30% Brettanomyces for a light body, very dry finish, a more complex direction, and cellarability)
Q: Will you be returning to Oregon for the festival? If so which other beers are you looking forward to sampling?
A: I will definitely be at the festival on Saturday the 29th, and I can’t wait to hang out at Saraveza again! I hate to name favorites, but during visits to Oregon I’ve grown fond of Crux, Commons, Upright, Logsdon and Pfriem. I also saw Telegraph on the list of beers pouring, which I’m extremely excited about… those cats are one of the best kept secrets in American Breweries.
Q: Finally, we recently read that you are looking at growing into a second brewery from your current location in Colorado Springs. Do you have any news to report on this expansion to Denver?
A: A second Denver brewery is the direction/goal for Trinity circa late 2016. That site will include a much larger wood aged beer project, and larger system.
You can learn more about Trinity Brewing and follow Yester on Twitter from the links below:
The other breweries that will be joining Trinity Brewing at the 2nd Annual Farmhouse & Wild Ale Festival include:
- Agrarian Ales
- Anchorage Brewing Company
- Block 15 Brewing Co
- Breakside Brewery
- Brewery Ommegang
- Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
- de Garde Brewing
- Elysian Brewery
- Epic Brewing Company
- Great Divide Brewing Co.
- Humble Brewing
- Jolly Pumpkin
- Laurelwood Public House and Brewery
- Logsdon Farmhouse Ales
- Lompoc Brewing
- New Belgium Brewing Co.
- North Coast Brewing Company
- Oakshire Brewing
- Propolis Brewing
- Solera Brewery
- Stillwater Artisinal Ales
- Stone Brewing Co.
- The Ale Apothecary
- The Commons Brewery
- Upright Brewery
What: Portland Farmhouse and Wild Ale Festival
Dates & Times: Saturday, March 29th 11am-10pm & Sunday, March 30th 11am-9pm
Where: Saraveza 1004 N Killingsworth St. Portland, OR 97217, Bad Habit Room and on N. Michigan Street.
Cost: Presale entry now available. $25 entry includes 10 beer tickets and a commemorative tasting glass. Choose from 30+ Rotating Farmhouse and Wild Ales. There is a $1 processing fee for purchasing your entry online. This is a ticketless entry – your purchase will be recorded on a will-call list. Additional entries and beer tickets can be purchased at the door (cash only). All ticket holders must be 21 years of age or older and are required to show photo ID at the door. Minors are welcome in designated areas until 9pm when accompanied by an adult. Service animals only please.