Oregonians have voted. In a poll conducted by Oregon Live, Ancestry Brewing has been named Best Brewery in Oregon. In its first year on tap, Ancestry quickly won the hearts of an impassioned craft beer loving community. No small feat, considering many local, long time favorites, made the list of 80 nominated breweries, up for the vote.
So what exactly is it, that puts Ancestry Brewing on top?
A Look Inside Oregon’s Best Brewery, Ancestry Brewing
Ancestry has only been brewing in its new Tualatin location since October 2015. Winning the Best Brewery vote in October 2016 was a heck of a way to mark their first year in business.
Ancestry Brewing Founder Jeremy Turner recently gave ALOR a tour of the brewery and tap-room. Jeremy shed light on the Ancestry name, brewing philosophy and what makes the difference you can taste.
Meet Ancestry Brewing Founder Jeremy Turner
Jeremy is the walking embodiment of Ancestry Brewing. From the second his big handshakes yours, you want to grab a beer with the man. A biochemistry major, he could easily school avid beer lovers in the science of brewing. Instead of showing off what he knows, Jeremy seems much more interested in sharing what he loves.
A brewery tour with Jeremy starts at mezzanine level, digging into bags of barley. Wafts of honey, nutty malt filling the air. It’s Jeremy’s way of saying, the end product depends on a quality start.
One of the focuses for the Ancestry team is getting it right from the get go. Working with the top quality ingredient.
Not an easy task for any new brewery.
“The biggest thing for a new brewery, is to secure its position in hops. I’ve seen start-up breweries produce a great first beer, but then struggle to reproduce and fold.” –Jeremy Turner, Founder Ancestry Brewing
Jeremy and his team put in the time building relationships before launching Ancestry. Jeremy himself started scrubbing the outside of kegs in an apprenticeship. Securing Ancestry Brewing’s position in hops came from the relationships Jeremy and his team built over time.
A home brewer since his OSU days, Jeremy has been perfecting Ancestry’s Piney IPA, his personal favorite, for 16 years. Which helps explain how a brewery goes from concept in September 2014, to brewing in October 2015, to winning Oregon Live’s Best Brewery poll in October 2016.
Ancestry Brewing Reflects Oregon’s Craft Beer Culture
Historically, great beer cultures of the world like Germany have towns or villages making a handful of beers extremely well, for hundreds of years. Honorable, but not what the Portland or more broadly Oregon Craft Beer scene is all about.
Ancestry Brewery successfully uses five unique yeast strains. A sharp contrast to domestic beer companies that stick with one yeast strain or “house flavor” to ensure safe “predictable” results. Ancestry Brewing differentiates itself by brewing a broad style of beers and a focus on fermenting them very well.
By starting with quality ingredients and focusing on meticulous QAQC processes, Jeremy and the Ancestry Brewing team can push boundaries in fermenting and aging. Taking inspiration from wine and liquor industries.
Imagine a stout aged in bourbon barrels that infuse vanilla, caramel and oak characteristics. A salty sour gose given a citrus lime hit and aged in a tequila barrel. Even a pumpkin beer aged in a dark rum barrel. That’s exactly the type of creative thinking that makes Ancestry Brewing a hit in Portland’s rotation nation culture.
How Ancestry Brewing Got its Name
Ancestry was named, to pay tribute to Jeremy’s family. The very people who came together to launch a family brewing business. Jeremy’s father and brother-in-law were both in the Navy. Thus the Ancestry anchor, sextant logo and signature blue color. The barley in their logo, a promise to focus on quality ingredients and process.
Friend, Head Brewer and fellow OSU grad Trevor Lauman named the largest fermenting vessel “The Big Wayner” after his father. So when the Ancestry team says they make “family crafted ales” they mean it literally.
It’s a feeling that permeates everything Ancestry does from the front of to the back of the house. Perhaps the biggest reason aside from the stellar craft beer itself that Oregonian’s have come to quickly fall in love with Ancestry Brewing. These guys right here.
Ancestry Brewing Locations
Walking into Ancestry Brewing’s Tualatin location is surprising. From the parking lot, it appears to be a warehouse. Once that front door swings open a giant airy tap-room is revealed. On the right, large windows give every seat in the house a view of Ancestry’s brewing vessels and the team at work. To the left, a patio sits behind an industrial garage door. Straight ahead, giant windows showcase miles of open fields.
Ancestry Brewing’s Sellwood neighborhood spot is much smaller but no less welcoming. Both spots echo the focus on craft beer, sports and feeling like part of a family. This month, Jeremy and his team are introduced a new more expanded food menu. Which is already a big hit with the locals who are already devotees.
Aside from jump starting our brewucation, we gained an immense respect for a family business, the Ancestry team, and one stellar Piney IPA.
Here’s an extended look inside Ancestry Brewery and Taproom.
This week, ALOR will be rolling out a series of articles featuring The Best of Portland, Sellwood. Our focus, local Portland businesses, owners and their team.