Brewvana Mid-Valley Brewery tour. First Stop: Calapooia Brewing

7 Feb

Last Saturday, a day too nice for February, Miranda, Brian and I boarded the Brewvana short bus and headed down to Albany and Corvallis.  The first stop was Calapooia Brewing.

Once we arrived in Albany, the Brewvana tour was met by the brewer of Calapooia Brewing, Mark Martin, and we were given a brief history of the brewery.  Opened in 1993, the brewery was taken over by Mark and his wife, Laura, in 2006.  They re-named the brewery for the local river, Calapooia, which meets the Willamette River in Albany.

Undertow Imperial Stout, NW Passage IPA, River Dog ESB

After the brewery history, we were taken to the bar for our first glass of beer.   I choose the new IPA called Northwest Passage.  This IPA replaced their Simcoe IPA, which was one of the best I have had and one of my favorite single hop IPAs.  A simcoe shortage necessitated its replacement, but I digress.  The Northwest Passage is made with Columbus and Northern Brewer hops.  This beer had the wonderful piney/citrus nose that a west coast IPA should.  The beer was delicious and full-bodied.  A very good IPA.  As good as the Simcoe single hop. Well, maybe not, but definitely a worthy replacement.

Ashley from Brewvana and Mark from Calapooia

Then it was off to the brewery tour. I will admit this was my third tour of the Calapooia brewery, and it was real cool to see a very good brewery move on up.  On my first tour they were brewing out of tanks designed for the dairy industry.  During the second tour, the dairy tanks were gone and the new grain silo was being installed.  For the standard brewpub system, the building that houses the brewery is huge and the silo fit nicely inside.  On this tour, a new conical fermentor had been added, and the cool room, where all the bulk whole cone hops are kept, had been expanded.  The cool room was the best smelling part of the tour – on all three tours (I love the smell of hops).

Then Mark talked a little more about the brewery.  He referred to it as a production brewery and lamented a bit that he only gets to make about 30 recipes a year.  He would like to experiment more, but as of now he is mostly just keeping up with demand from the local community.  With the extra fermentor, Calapooia is now bottling both the RIPArian IPA and their chili beer.  I have had the RIPArian IPA and it is definitely worth picking up a bottle.  I am not sure about the chili beer, or any chili beer for that matter, but Brian picked up a bottle and I am sure he will let you know how it tastes. A fellow Brewvana tourist noted that he recently picked up a bottle in Portland at Bridgetown Beerhouse.

Pacific Pilsner, Rip Tide Red, Caber Toss Scotch Ale

After the tour I got the Caber Toss scotch ale.  This was a malty, sweet ale with a light hint of smoke.  The only thing I think this beer could have used was a bit more alcohol to the finish.  But I have always preferred the Wee Heavy style; the sweetness of a scotch ale needs that extra bit of alcohol to balance it out.  Other beers tasted that day were the Undertow Russian Imperial Stout, Flood Stage Red, River Dog ESB, and Pacific Pilsner.

Over the whole tour Mark was a great host. At one point, while talking about how he got into brewing he said, “ in 2006 we got the opportunity to buy the brewery and I found out I just have a knack for it.”  This was a great thing to hear for a passionate home brewer such as myself.

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2 Responses to “Brewvana Mid-Valley Brewery tour. First Stop: Calapooia Brewing”

  1. Ashley Rose February 8, 2012 at 10:31 AM #

    LOVE it! Calapooia was a last minute addition to the itinerary of the tour, and what a great stop it was! Mark was so accommodating and we are Thanks for your write up!

  2. Brian February 9, 2012 at 8:11 PM #

    Great post, Mike! I was really impressed with Calapooia and Mark’s operation. This is a little gem of a brewery hidden in Albany. Can’t wait to get back for a full day at the pub to sample everything on the board.

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