The first place I wanted to write about was the most recent place we had discovered. The wife and I literally stumbled upon it as we were headed somewhere else in Oregon City. Tucked away on Washington Street a couple blocks back off of 99E is the Oregon City Brewing Company. One of, if not the first brewery in Oregon City since 1895 and Henry Weinhard.
In an unassuming cinderblock building that looks like it used to be an oil change place sits OCB. It’s not a huge place, seating maybe 45-50 on a busy night, but they have a massive selection. 44 rotating taps including four of their own, and then a plethora of other local options of beer, cider and even wine. The current tap list includes three beers from Washington State, two from New York State, one from Vermont (a cider), and then all the rest are from Oregon with local favorites like Deschutes, Lompoc, Coalition, Rogue, Crux, Gilgamesh and on and on.
The current 4 house beers according to the online taplist are Elevator IPA, Scottish Ale, Hank’s Marionberry Blonde, and the Chocolate Pale Ale (CPA). When we visited it was an Irish Red instead of the Scottish but the other three were the same. They are all solid beers, but the Chocolate Pale Ale blew us both away. I can’t remember how much chocolate they told us they add to it, but it has a distinctive chocolate flavor and aroma and it darkens the beer but not as dark as a Stout or Porter would be.
OCB does not serve food, but they do host food carts a couple nights a week, and that’s where things get interesting. OCB has locked horns with the city council on Oregon City’s ban on mobile food vendors. This article from the Oregonian explains what’s going on and includes a link to an online petition to get the zoning changed. As part of the fight OCB lost their brewery/brewpub license and had it replaced with a brewery license, which meant that they could no longer allow minors anywhere on the property. This flies in the face of the owners desire for a “living room for the community”. Normally when companies oppose local government and try to change laws and zonings it’s for jealous and greedy reasons but to me this feels like “fighting the good fight”. Supporting a community atmosphere and supporting other small local businesses in these food carts is a lot of what is a backbone to the Portland area and things we and others feel are important, so hopefully they get the changes they are looking for.
What can you do to help? Sign the petition if you like, or just head down to OCB and have a pint. It’s really that easy.