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Gresham's smallest brewery continues to make inroads into community; gathering planned for milestone

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Jason Blair and MadCow Brewing are celebrating their one-year anniversary of the Gresham taproom. With the passion of someone who first started brewing beer out of his garage, Jason Blair wanted to approach his seasonal fruit beer differently.

He had visions of a beer that would get folks talking, with a complex mix of flavors that wouldn't leave customers with a sour, or at least boring, taste in their mouth.

"I had this solid recipe in mind to create a cobbler beer, but it took some trial and error to make it perfect," Blair said. "I was close for a long time, and then changing one of the grains gave it that 'cobbler' feel, that spark."

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Jason Blair loves connecting with the regulars who have been visiting the MadCow taproom.  That experimentation and drive led to the reoccurring cobbler series of seasonal brews at Gresham's MadCow Brewing — currently it's blackberry — one of the highlights on the taplist for an upcoming anniversary. On Saturday, June 25, MadCow's taproom, 686 N.W. Eastman Parkway in the Gresham Townfair shopping center, is celebrating its one-year anniversary.

"Having this taproom lets us connect with the community and have all those little conversations that are so much fun with our regulars," Blair said. "Thank you to all the people who have given us a try and enjoyed our beers."

"We want to be the local hangout," he added.

MadCow has an apt slogan — "one great beer, one barrel at a time." It all began with Blair's passion of homebrewing out of his garage, where he still crafts all of MadCow's beers, though Blair points out it is technically in a shed attached to his garage in East Portland.

That down-to-earth, home-crafted feel permeates throughout the business. Most of the beers, and the business, are named in honor of Blair's childhood growing up on a dairy farm.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The Blackberry Cobbler Cream Ale.  There is the popular Oxbow IPA, a hop-forward beer with a citrusy aroma and flavor; the Evening Milking Stout, a creamy beer with notes of chocolate, coffee, and aromas of dried cherry and vanilla; the Heiferweizen, light and refreshing with subtle notes of citrus; and the Rooster Rock Red, an ale for folks who love IPAs but also want a malt sweetness.

In total there are 13 beers on tap, two ciders on tap, and root beer. The food includes paninis, German sausages, hummus plate, and small shareable appetizers. The taproom also offers growler fills and cans of the beers on tap.

"It is important for us to have that full lineup of different styles of beers, instead of just half the taplist being IPAs," Blair said.

While Gresham's smallest brewery celebrates one year, they are looking to continue getting a little bit bigger in the coming months. Blair plans on expanding the brewing capacity at that "garage," and the beers will be available in local bottle shops and kegs at restaurants around town. They will always start in Gresham, as the focus will be on the hometown.

"We chose Gresham because we wanted to help spur more breweries and get people interested in beer out here," Blair said. "We have the best locally-brewed beers in Gresham — we are for the people who want great beer in East County."

MadCow Brewing Anniversary

2 p.m. to close Saturday, June 25

686 N.W. Eastman Parkway

Party with beer on tap, cake, prizes and more

Learn more at madcowbrewing.com


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