Thursday, July 30, 2009

BridgePort Brewing Company Toasts 25 Years of Brewing in the Pacific Northwest

BridgePort Brewing Company, Oregon's oldest craft brewery, is celebrating 25 years of brewing and selling beer to thirsty Portlanders.

The Oregon specialty beer movement began in 1983 when recent UC Davis Brewing Sciences graduate, Karl Ockert, interviewed with vintners Richard and Nancy Ponzi on a side project to start a small high quality, low volume brewery. The three original innovators decided to house the brewery in a three-story, century old refurbished rope factory in Portland’s industrial Northwest neighborhood, now known as the Pearl District, where the brewery still operates today.

After the first year of experimenting, Karl finally landed on a malty and semi-sweet Scottish Ale called BridgePort Ale. Wanting to share their creation with the city, BridgePort held a party on November 7, 1984 to celebrate the opening of the first microbrewery in Portland, and one of the first in the nation. BridgePort operated as a two-man crew for the first year with ideas and recipes shared between Karl and his assistant Matt Sage, who together have worked at BridgePort for the last 25 years.

“We had the whole town in attendance, from then mayor, Bud Clark to a small start up cable news station,“ says Ockert jokingly, “I think their name was CNN? Cable was brand new back then and a craft brewery selling this new type of beer was national news.”

Since the beginning, BridgePort has been heralded by outlets including The New York Times, The World Beer Guide, LA Daily News and The Association of Brewers. In 2000, BridgePort won the gold medal and the Champion Ale Trophy at the Brewing Industry International Awards, making it the first American Brewery to win in the 200-year history of the awards.

Now 25 years older, and a bit wiser, BridgePort is producing more than 45 thousand barrels of beer per year, distributing to 18 states across the Western United States and serving food to patrons at two separate locations in Portland, Oregon.

“Back then people thought you were insane if you wanted to start a brewery that didn’t take up four city blocks,” comments Matt Sage. “We didn’t know if we would be around for three months or 30 years and I’m happy to say we are closer to the 30 year mark.”

BridgePort Brewing Company Holds 25th Anniversary Block Party
On August 15th from 4 – 10 p.m., Bridgeport Brewing Company will close down NW 13th in the Pearl District to celebrate. The brewery’s 25th anniversary bash will feature live music along with BridgePort beer and food.

One dollar from every beer sold at BridgePort’s 25th anniversary party will go directly to The Portland Audubon Society. BridgePort Brewing Company and the Audubon Society of Portland have been teaming up to bring great beer with a purpose to Portland for more than 20 years. The two businesses first partnered in 1987 to produce BridgePort's Blue Heron Pale Ale as a special release specifically for the Audubon Society as they were petitioning with the state to name The Great Blue Heron Portland’s official city bird. Over the years BridgePort Brewing Company has donated the use of the Brewpub many times to allow the Audubon Society to kick off new initiatives and celebrate environmental victories.

BridgePort will close down NW 13th to make way for live music and entertainment from:
· BodyVox - One of Portland's most innovative performing arts companies will perform for guests to start off the event.
· Black Lodge - Come and catch Brewmaster Karl Ockert and the other members of this six-man bluegrass band, including Cascade Brewing Company’s Brewmaster, Ron Gansburg.
· The Brothers Jam - Blending rootsy rock and deep rhythmic grooves, The Brothers Jam, who have been playing together since they were teenagers in Portland, take their audience on an entertaining sonic journey every time they hit the stage.
· Intervision - Fresh off their victory for Best R&B song at the 8th Annual Independent Music Awards, Portland, Oregon’s own Intervision shows no signs of slowing down. Hailed as a modern-day Steely Dan, this young sextet continues to craft sophisticated pop music that is equally soothing, intelligent, and danceable.
· Live Bird Demonstration and Membership Drive – Throughout the event the Audubon Society of Portland will have live educational birds on hand to interact with guests while encouraging non-members to join.

When: Saturday, August 15th, 2009. 4 - 10 p.m. Performances and music start at 5 p.m.

Where: BridgePort Brewpub + Bakery in the Pearl
1313 NW Marshall Street
Portland, OR 97209

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