The gods have been kind to SteepleJack Brewing, the highly anticipated brewpub coming soon to a 112-year-old church in Portland’s Sullivan’s Gulch neighborhood has not even opened yet but already has a second location in the works.
Owners Brody Day and Dustin Harder plan to open SteepleJack Brewing West in a 17,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Hillsboro, Oregon adjacent to the areas best beer bar/bottleshop ABV Public House. SteepleJack West may be in a considerably less historic building then the hallowed halls of their upcoming church based Portland brewpub, but it’s ideal for spreading the gospel of a beer brand looking to expand their congregation. The Hillsboro location will be the home of a taproom, beer garden and kitchen as well as a small production brewery and canning line purchased from the now defunct Wiens Brewing of Temecula, California.
“When Dustin and I set out to build a brewery we had a very clear picture of what we wanted that to be. It was going to be focused on experiential tap rooms and locations that set us apart from other breweries,” says co-founder Brody Day. “We have big plans for our company and the future growth we see coming along with it necessitated getting a production facility online as soon as possible.”
SteepleJack West will be built out in 3 phases; the first of which is opening a taproom with food trucks, the second is installing the brewhouse (which is already on-site), and the third and final is adding a mezzanine and full kitchen. In a dramatic shift from the majestic restored church from which the brewery gets it’s name, the Hillsboro facility won’t have a towering steeple or bold stained glass windows, but it will attempt to connect the community to the holy art of fermentation.
“Our whole mission is to connect our guests with the brewing experience, we want our customers to be connected unlike any other brewery with our process and staff,” says Day.
In action that means no separation from the guests and the the production, not even a glass barrier between the brewhouse, barrels and canning line. “We are designing the brewery so its interactive and approachable” says Day. It won’t be all industrial, the spaces will be creative, comfortable and community driven. “We will bring in some of the reclaimed wood from Broadway and finish it out in a similar fashion so there is a continuity there. That’s true of Broadway and true of any future location we build out.”
Leading the brewing operations in Hillsboro is Anna Buxton, formerly of Modern Times Beer who is overseeing the installation of a 15bbl Prospero 2-vessel brewhouse with 15bbl fermenters and 1 x 15bbl brite tank, and a 3 head Twin Monkeys canning line. Alone, the brewhouse and tanks do not offer the capabilities for a large amount of production but Buxton plans to add more tanks as soon as necessary.
“The benefit of buying that system was not necessarily the brewery, although it is in surprisingly near-new condition, it's all the things that came with it. The cold boxes, refrigeration, glycol system, boiler, canning line, box truck and vans, keg washer... its the entire contents of a small brewery with modest production and taproom,” says Buxton.
SteepleJack West at 5834 NE Pinefarm Ct. is a brand new building in the back of an industrial park but adjacent to a farm and undeveloped wetlands. So even though the brewery is just off of Highway 26 if you look towards the natural area you can imagine for a moment you are not in the city, and maybe even spy the neighbors at Deep Space Brewing around the bend. The taproom will be in the front half of the building with windows overlooking the green space and the back of the building will be brewing operations and a barrel room right through the main entrance and on full display. Eventually they hope to have their own hops growing on site, perhaps even estate grown ingredients for the pub menu.
“The plan is that Hillsboro will brew our more popular beers in larger fermentors, and because of the space we plan to do some special projects and barrel work out there as well. The Broadway church pub will focus on specialty beers, community outreach, collaborations, and innovation projects,” says Buxton.
The Hillsboro pub will be a family friendly destination with live music, patio games like Giant Jenga and Connect Four, serving beer and wine and soft drinks to start. Build out won’t begin until the fall and the taproom likely open until the end of 2021 or early 2022, so beer fans will just have to take communion in Portland when the Broadway brewpub opens in the next few weeks. The newly minted 10 bbl brewhouse in Sullivan Gulch’s historic church is up and running now with innovation pub brewer Anne Aviles making the brewdeck home. By the time of publication they will have brewed six different beers that begin to show off what will be an eclectic taplist: a Saison, a West Coast Pale Ale, a Table Beer, a NW style IPA, a Hazy IPA, and a Biere de Garde.
SteepleJack Brewing PDX is slated for a Grand Opening on July 31st with live music, giveaways, food and beer specials, a building dedication, and more.