"Soak in a mountain river. Chill in the snow. Cool off in a lake. Refrigerate if you have to." Base Camp Brewery, an up-and-coming powerhouse of brews in Portland believes you should take yourself to the outdoors. And bring a beer.
We have been following their journey on Facebook, and just couldn't take it anymore. We had to know more. Joey Dallas gave us an inside look on all that's going on at Base Camp.
E+E: How did Base Camp Brewery begin? Tell us a story about the inception!Joey Dallas: Base Camp Brewing Company is the result of owner and brewer Justin Fay’s vision and hard work. In 2005 while attending OSU, Justin got a summer job at King Estate Winery (down near Eugene) and fell in love with the feel of that business: the process, the culture surrounding it, the opportunity for developing and perfecting a craft. That fall he switched majors from pre-med to fermentation science (all those science prereqs falling into place quite nicely!) and began honing his brewing practice. During the next couple years Justin managed Klamath Basin Brewing Co.’s brewery. A bit highlight in 2008 was the West Coast Brew Fest’s winningest brewery, with 5 count ‘em FIVE top three finishes in the commercial brewing competition. In 2009, when he and his wife Kristen relocated to Portland, the timing was perfect for Justin to get going on full-time business planning and piecing together what is now Base Camp.
This seems to be heading toward the direction of a long answer to a short question. . . So, to summarize the rest, the Base Camp crew was brought together through our connections with Justin, and we’re lucky enough to all complement each other really well. We picked up most of our brewhouse equipment from an out-of-biz brewery in northern Wisconsin, which we road-tripped over to and disassembled last spring. Our brewery has been in build-out since last November, and we are soooooo stoked to be getting close to opening!
E+E: We love the outdoorsy nature of Base Camp. What are some of the more wild times the team has had in nature?JD: All of us on the Base Camp crew have grown up in Oregon; it’s no surprise that we all love the Great Outdoors. The outdoorsy nature that Base Camp sports is really a natural extension of who we are and what we’re passionate about. One of our friends had a nice little analogy about how beer and the outdoors is like the PacNW’s version of peanut butter and jelly. They just go together!As for a wild time we’ve had, hmmmmm. . . Recent Base Camp sightings have been reported at the summit of Mt. Hood, out on the waves off Cape Kiwanda and Sand Lake, and in the water on the north fork of the Santiam.E+E: What makes Portland a great home for Base Camp?JD: Portland is the PERFECT home for Base Camp! There is nowhere else in the world that showcases such an energetic and alive brewing community. It’s the center of the craft beer universe; it’s the PLACE to BE!E+E: On your blog you state five things make great beer: the Reinheitsgebot three (water, barley, hops), yeast and love. What love goes into the Base Camp beer?JD: Oh maaaan, so much! Justin and Paul are committed to making perfect beer; they hold themselves to an incredibly high standard of precision in their brewing technique and deliciousness in the finished product. When a recipe is getting developed, the starting point is always considering how to make the best of the ingredients we want to use; honoring the incredible taste and quality of the hops and malt that we have available in the PacNW. We call this “ingredient-forward brewing,” and never compromise the quality of the beer we brew by cutting corners or using sub-par ingredients. ALSO, this incredible opportunity that we have to come together and create something new is such an adventure! It’s exhilarating for us to be able to work at developing and realizing a shared vision. Our hard work and efforts for innovation in everything we do—whether it’s building our start-up business or brewing a new style of beer—are part of what makes this so cool and lets us put our hearts into the beer we make.
E+E: As Base Camp gets more comfortable in its new home, what are you most looking forward to in the future?JD: Sharing our love of beer with everybody! If that happens through people buying our beer off the shelf or out of the tap, that’s great! But more than that, we want to somehow communicate our excitement and love for what we’re doing. It’s so sweet to be a part of the incredible movement/community that people all over the world—but markedly here in Portland—are giving life to, where you make and create and take risks and do work and get your hands dirty. To do that, and then be able to share a pint of good beer at the end of the day. . . AWESOME. It’s the coolest adventure we could ever imagine.
E+E: Finally, what's your favorite thing about Portland?JD: BEER. FOOD. PEOPLE. PLACE. Choose any four.
Giveaway: Want to get a sneak-peak look inside Base Camp's brewery? We you + five friends can! Post on our Facebook wall or Tweet to us your favorite spot to sip a beer in the great outdoors for a chance to win.