The latest brewery to bubble up in the Willamette Valley is getting ready to take off, and you can help make it happen. Old Growth Ales recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 for equipment, truck upgrades, licensing fees, marketing and other expenses. The end goal: to make locally sourced botanic and medicinal ales commercially available.
“We’ve been doing private events for the last few years, friends’ weddings and things like that,” says Steven Braun, founder of Old Growth Ales. Braun, a Ph.D. candidate in environmental science at Portland State University, says that his program wraps up in June, and he’s decided that he would “rather make ales and work with people than crunch data.”
Located in Springfield, Braun says he’d like to see Old Growth Ales put down roots with a taphouse somewhere near Agrarian Ales, but for now, he’s hoping to raise the money to commercially produce his herbal brews.
With herbalist Amanda Helser, Braun makes concoctions that explore alternatives to hops and barley. “Before beer and hops were king, yarrow was the plant most frequently used for bittering,” Braun says. Plants like hibiscus, lemongrass, chicory, rose hips and nettle drive the flavors of his ales, giving them herbal or medicinal qualities, he says. Products include Stormy Day dandelion stout, Cascadian wine and charrow ale, a mix of cherries and yarrow flowers.
Braun says all ingredients used in Old Growth Ales are either bioregionally sourced or ethically traded. “In the end,” he says, “the creation is meant to preserve the energetics of the plant and bestow that to the drinker.”
Braun’s Kickerstarter campaign ends March 20; see http://wkly.ws/1yf.