In less than two months we celebrate ten years of brewing beer in Oregon, and boy have we come a long way. On October 12th 2006 we brewed the first batch of Original Amber. We had a four barrel brewhouse, and were known at the time as Willamette Brewery. We were one of 1409 breweries located in the US. In ten short years that number has grown to 4225 breweries across the country at the end of 2015.
Our founders Jeff and Chris Althouse were the only employees and in the remainder of 2006, made just six barrels of beer. In our first full year of production we only made 300 barrels of beer. Jump to 2016; last year we made 8851 barrels of beer, and currently employ twenty-five people. We saw a name change from Willamette Brewery to Oakshire Brewing in 2008, the introduction of a canning line in 2013, and a revamped and updated branding in 2016. Through all the change; with us, the town and the industry as a whole; our original values of being a community inspired small batch brewing company remain an integral part of who we are.
To celebrate our tenth anniversary we are going to release ten new beers for the ten years of brewing here at Oakshire . Some are an homage to beers of years past, and some a reinterpretation of our original line-up. But all show the progression of our brewing evolution.
As a little preemptive teaser I thought I would give the rundown of the beers that we are going to be brewing:
- Dry-hopped Oakshire Amber- Progression of the brewing industry often dictates the beers that are made. However some recipes still hold strong years later. Our Amber is the same recipe that Jeff founded Oakshire with, unchanged and as great as ever. But what if Jeff had written the recipe in 2016, how would it change? Hops of course! We are taking our Amber ale and dry-hopping the bajeezus out of it.
- Imperial IPA- In 2007 we brewed the first batch of Watershed IPA… Well not exactly … The first batch of Watershed came way over the anticipated gravity, and so Oakshire’s first Imperial IPA was made. It went over so well that our now yearly favorite Perfect Storm was born, and Watershed is still our best selling beer. As a tribute to those first batches of Watershed and our continued love of brewing hoppy beer, we are brewing a special Imperial IPA. This one is going to be insanely hopped, but incredibly drinkable. We’re busting out some awesome new techniques to really make this beer shine.
- Oakshire Wheat- For the first few years of the company one of the mainstay beers was our Oakshire Wheat ale. We are brewing a reinterpretation of Oakshire Wheat. An American Hefeweizen for the beginning of fall. Light and very quaffable.
- Imperial O’Dark:30- In 2009 we first brewed O’Dark, a Cascadian Dark Ale or Black IPA. It remained in our seasonal line-up until 2014. Always a crowd favorite, we are bringing it back bigger and better than ever. We’re going to kick it up a notch and make an awesome Imperial Black IPA. This time hopped with a huge amount of Simcoe and Chinook.
- Barrel-aged Imperial Stout with Coconut- In 2010 we released the first batch of Hellshire, an American Barleywine aged in Bourbon barrels. In March we released Hellshire VI and Hellshire VII is quietly resting away in our barrel warehouse. The first of our anniversary barrel releases, we found a barrel of imperial stout that we liked and further aged it on toasted coconut.
- Heart Shaped Box- A reinterpretation of an awesome beer that we did in 2011. Another barrel-aged imperial stout, this one is further aged on coffee, cocao nibs, vanilla beans and bing cherries. Basically our take on a candy bar beer. We are really looking forward to this one!
- Welcome Whit- For the opening of our Public House in 2013 we brewed a Belgian Wit beer as a way of saying thank you to the Whiteaker neighbor for welcoming us with open arms. This is, as brewers, one of our favorite styles to make and we are excited to bring it back to the neighborhood. Brewed with coriander and orange peel and fermented with Belgian Wit yeast.
- Drop Bear 2016- Our wonderful Galaxy hopped IPA makes its return, this year in 6-packs of cans. A beautifully pungent IPA brewed with Australian grown Galaxy hops. If you have had it in years past, you know what we are talking about. If not, you have to give it a go!
- X- Our Tenth Anniversary Beer- Through ten years of brewing we have continued to push the bounds of how we see beer. This beer is a culmination of all of our progression and learning. We dug deep into our wild beer cellar and selected the most expressive and unique barrels to create a beer worthy of being called X. It is a blend of three distinct threads: golden farmhouse with white wine grapes, Biere de Garde, and Brett Table Farmhouse beer. The beer will be bottle conditioned and ready to drink now, or cellar for years to come. This beer is our thanks to all the people that have supported us over the last ten years.
We’ll begin releasing our ten anniversary beers on October 6th. Some will be first released at the Public House, and others at events across town over the course of ten days as a thank you to everyone that has helped to get us to where we are today. On Wednesday October 12th, we will have our official birthday party at the Public House with the debut of X.
We on the brewing staff look forward to bringing you all this rad line-up of beers!