Sunday, March 29, 2009

Oakshire Brewing Expands, Adds Brewmaster

Oakshire Brewing Company in Eugene, Oregon is nearing completion on a 2,000 sq. foot addition to its production brewery in Northwest Eugene. The additional space will allow for the immediate installation of three 30-barrel fermentation tanks arriving from Georgetown Brewing of Seattle on Thursday, April 2 - more than doubling Oakshire’s production capacity. According to Jeff Althouse, Co-Founder of Oakshire brewing, “the facility will also allow for the installation of eight significantly larger tanks, likely around 80 barrels each, over the next three years.” A barrel is 31 U.S. gallons or two full-size kegs.

How will Oakshire use this addition capacity? Bottled beer for starters. Since the company began operations in October 2006, they have only brewed draft beer for distribution to bars and restaurants in Eugene, Corvallis and Portland. The most popular styles, Watershed IPA and Overcast Espresso Stout will be available in 22-ounce bottles as early as July of this year. The company also plans to begin brewing a wide array of Seasonal and Limited Edition beer styles. For this, they’ve hired a nationally recognized Brewmaster.

Matt Van Wyk, formerly of Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery in Flossmoor Illinois, will join Oakshire as the company’s Brewmaster on Monday, March 30. Van Wyk is well known for his recipe-development skills across an impressive spectrum of beer styles, from Northwest India Pale Ales to Baltic Porters. He earned the prestigious Small Brewpub Company Brewer of the Year award at the 2006 Great American Beer Festival. Van Wyk’s brewing talent complements Oakshire’s production model perfectly.

“Instead of replacing our small fermentation tanks with larger tanks, we’ll keep them for our specialty beers,” says Althouse. The company’s fourteen-barrel brewing system, coupled with three fourteen-barrel fermentation tanks, will allow them to produce twenty-five kegs of any one Limited Edition beer style, at the very least. This allows Oakshire’s brewers to be creative by designing new beers on a regular basis, like many brewpubs. “Small is beautiful in any artisan trade, especially in artisan brewing,” muses Althouse.

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