Ahead of the opening of its flagship location in Portland, Steeplejack Brewing Co. has announced it will open a second brewery in Hillsboro.
When it's fully built, Steeplejack Brewing West will be a family-friendly taproom, beergarden, canning line and restaurant in a 17,000-square-foot warehouse just north of Highway 26 at 5834 N.E. Pinefarm Court. The New School brewing blog first reported the story earlier this month.
On July 31, Steeplejack owners Brody Day and Dustin Harder plan to hold a grand opening of their first brewery inside a converted century-old church in Northeast Portland.
Contrasting the stained glass and rich wood structures of the Portland location, the Hillsboro location will offer a more familiar brewpub feel, with space for live music and patio games near a wetland area, Day said.
Intent on growing the business early by creating fun community gathering places, Day said, "We just really liked what Hillsboro had to offer."
He added that the rapid population growth of Portland's Westside made Hillsboro appealing.
"We wanted to design a place that was a very come-as-you-are, casual place that you can bring the kids and just have a nice time hanging out," Day said.
After working for Target's food supply chain in various roles for 15 years — one role was as a beer buyer for the retail chain — Day said he and Harder have long wanted to open a brewery.
His fascination with beer started during a trip with Harder in college through Bavaria, the German state renowned for its beer.
"We came back and we were like, 'Oh man, I really love beer,'" Day said. "Then I got into the science of it and making it. I just fell in love with everything about it. For me too, more than even the beer was just the community aspect of it."
The buildout of Steeplejack Brewing West will happen in three phases.
A taproom with access to food trucks will open first, Day said. He expects the taproom to open in late 2021 or early 2022.
Next will be the installation of a brewhouse, where brewmaster Anna Buxton will oversee the production of Steeplejack's more popular beers in the large fermenters that the building affords.
Day purchased a small brewery in Southern California and is using the equipment from it to get the brewhouse up and running, he said.
The final stage will include the construction of a mezzanine and full kitchen, Day said.
Day said the brewery will be unique in how it integrates the community into the craft of brewing.
He said taprooms often hide their breweries away from their patrons behind walls or glass — sometimes they're in totally separate locations.
"Dustin and I felt really strongly about connecting our customers" with brewing, Day said. "We want you to not only see how we're making the beer right then but you're kind of part of the process."
In what Day calls an "experiential taproom," people will be seated exceptionally close to the tanks of the brewhouse, so they can see the brewing process while they're drinking the end product.
While the Hillsboro location will naturally have a different feel than the Portland location, Day intends to use much of the wood paneling that had to be removed from the old church in Portland during renovations to build out the bar and taproom in Hillsboro.
"When you walk into Steeplejack, you know you're going to have obviously great beer, but also there's continuity," Day said.
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