From the Bottom Up

Van Havig
Van Havig

Van Havig is the senior brewer at Oregon’s Rock Bottom Brewing as well as the president of the Oregon Brewers Guild.  A personable and outspoken proponent of Northwest craft beer, Havig and fellow Rock Bottom brewer Vasili Gletsos make some of the best beer in the Portland area.  Havig, a native of Orange County, California left the Golden State when he was 18 years old.  He spent time on both coasts and has always had an affinity for Portland, Oregon. He started brewing in 1995 in Minneapolis and continued his work in Minnesota until 2000 when he returned to Portland. Over the past 13 years, Havig has been an avid brewer.  He spent some time in Maryland as well, but really hit his stride in Portland.  I recently revisited with Van Havig to find out more about what goes on in the brain behind the grain.  I threw my recent survey of questions at him.  Here goes…

What sparked your interest in craft beer?

VH: Moving to Portland in 1988 to go to college.  ALL the beer was new to me.  Even Henry Weinhard’s Ale (Aaaaahhhhh Hanks!)  So trying the new “micro brews” as they were called then was a natural thing to do.

If trapped on a dessert island with just one tap line, what beer would you choose to drink (yeah that’s a tough one)?


VH: Anchor Liberty – fresh, of course.


Similarly, if you could have just one last beer, what would that be?


VH:  Black Sheep bitter, Black Sheep Brewery, Masham, Yorkshire, UK, pulled fresh at the pub on the green.


Name five of your favorite brews (won’t hold you to these).


VHDupont Saison Avec les bon Veux (or however you spell it), Anchor Liberty, Freuh am Dom KoelschMahrs Helles, New Belgium La Folie.


Are there any beers out there that you would like to try that you haven’t yet?


VH: Yes.


Name one or more of your favorite food pairings?


VH:  Ein Mass Helles Lager und Shweinehaxe mit Sauerkraut und Kartoffelsalat

Go to Rock Bottom Brewing at 206 SW Morrison Street in Portland, Oregon and check out some of Van’s latest greatest creations.

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