The Feeder: The Commons Brewery
What They Feed: Well executed, moderate alcohol beers with a refreshing and unique character, inspired by European brewing tradition and Northwest grown ingredients. Brewed to gather around and share with friends and family.
Feeders & Seeders They Support: Woodblock Chocolate, Bee Local, Townshend’s Tea, Baird Family Orchard, Rex Hill Vineyards
Where you Can Find Them:
The Commons Brewery Tasting Room
Retail: New Seasons, Whole Foods, Market of Choice, Belmont Station, The Beer Mongers
On Tap: Bailey’s Taproom, Cheese Bar, Tin Bucket, Belmont Station, Fire in the Mountain, The Bitter Monk, Bierstein *subject to availability at each location
Also see this map!
The Commons Brewery is a passion project: that’s how it started and that’s how it still is today. Mike Wright first started his 1 bbl nano-brewery called Beetje in his garage in SE Portland. A few years later he took the jump to change the name, expand to 7 bbl system and move into a commercial space. The new brewery would allow him to make more beer, do some bottle conditioning and offer a tasting room experience to his customers. With the changes, the team grew to three to include Josh Grgas, a fellow homebrewer and medal-winner at the Cheers for Belgian Beers competition and Sean Burke, who had recently completed the Master Brewers program at Siebel Institute and Doemens Academy in Germany.
The brewing philosophy at The Commons is based on the question “what do we want to drink?” Their focus is on the social aspect of beer; their brews are moderate in alcohol, approachable, accessible and something you can drink all day: the every man’s beer. They’re rooted in traditions of Belgian and German brewing methods with an emphasis on the yeasts used. The flagship beer, Urban Farmhouse Ale, comes from the days of brewing in Mike’s garage and is available year-round. Aside from a few other year-round beers, many are available seasonally and in small batches. Their play and passion is working with other local producers & artisans and interacting with people that are also passionate about what they do. The Commons has done collaborative project with folks such as Woodblock Chocolate, Bee Local, Townshend’s Tea and Baird Family Orchard.
“The more good beer that is being made, the better it is for everyone”
– Mike Wright, Founder, The Commons Brewery
Future Projects: The Commons Brewery is currently building out a new brewery space and tasting room at SE 7th and Belmont. While the goal has always been to have an integrated tasting room and factory to help to develop connection between consumers, equipment and the people working in the brewery, the current space is a bit too tight to work well. The new facility is 10,000 square feet and will facilitate 15 more barrels on top of their current 7 barrel set-up. Steve Jones (of Cheese Bar) will also be opening a Cheese Annex to complement the 12 beers that will be available on tap in the tasting room. The new brewery is set to open at the end of March 2015.
Mike also has a romantic vision of eventually having a farm with a brewery on it. We can’t wait to see that come to be.
Advice to New Brewers/Home Brewers:
Constantly change your variables & use different techniques, ingredients and flavors. Get involved: go to events, join a homebrewing club. Make sure people beyond your family and friends are tasting your beer; give it away to other brewers and be ready to get some feedback.
“We like to play with our friends and neighbors” – on collaborating with other local producers & artisans
“A lot of people stocking our beer have become really good friends” – Josh Grgas
“The thing I love about brewing is how open and collaborative it is” – Mike Wright
“The more good beer that is being made, the better it is for everyone” – Mike Wright
Follow The Commons Brewery: