Upright Brewing Co.'s Alex Ganum

Alex Ganum
Upright Brewing's Alex Ganum

Alex Ganum is a craft brewer living and quaffing in Portland, Oregon.  Ganum has held various brewing gigs, perhaps the most notable were his work at Ommegang Brewing in Cooperstown, New York and as lead brewer at BJ’s in Portland, Oregon.  His culinary skills, and love for “grubbin” brews have fostered a keen palate for flavorfully unique styles.  His latest venture is his greatest.  Ganum is working hard to uncork Upright Brewing Company, a distinct hybridization of artisan styles in brewing unlike any around.  “Imagine combining the spirit and methods of rustic French and Belgian style farmhouse brewing with the positive energy and downright beautiful ingredients the Pacific Northwest offers us” says Ganum.  His craft is inspired by historical records and those who have kept alive a tradition of utilizing raw, renewable resources as well as the music of Charles Mingus, whose stylings, like Ganum’s own, are beyond categorization.

It is certain that barrel-aged beers will play a role in Ganum’s repertoire.  He has obtained about a dozen wine barrels from vineyards in the Willamette valley for his undertaking. Ganum and Upright Brewing have gone to great lengths already to close in on an opening date some time in early 2009.  The brewery-a production-only endeavor-is situated in the dynamic Left Bank Building on 240 NE Broadway close to the Rose Quarter. Ganum, a 28-year-old Argentinian Michigander, possesses a skill far beyond his years and anyone who has sampled his Alex Ganum “homebrews” know he is no joke.  The only problem with his beers at this juncture is that we still have to wait for them. I hit Ganum up with the questions I’ve been dropping on others in the craft beer industry lately.  Here goes:

What sparked your interest in craft beer?

AG: Having my older brother pick up six-packs of Bells Porter when I was a teenager sparked some interest. I still love that beer.

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

AG: Desert island – probably Roots Gruit Kolsch.

Alex GanumSimilarly, if you could have just one last beer, what would that be?
AG: Without a doubt, Gale’s Prize Old Ale (I think it’s no longer brewed though). I miss it badly. So bad.
Name five of your favorite brews (won’t hold you to these).

AG: Lately it’s been the Moylan’s Dry Irish Stout, Roots Coconut Porter, Victory Prima Pils, Widmer Schwarzbier (at the Gasthaus), Amnesia (Dusty Trail) Pale has been tasting great lately too. I also enjoy seasonal beers that actually come out in winter.

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

AG: Sure, I’d like to try all the beers I haven’t tasted yet, but especially some from the recent brewery openings here in Oregon.

Name one or more of your favorite beer and food pairings.

AG: Anchor Steam and plain cake donuts are sublime together. I wonder if Garrett Olive Oil will mention it in his next book?

Hmmm.  Thanks Alex.