Looking for a good reason to go downtown? Built by Beer kicks off Mid-Valley Makers on First Wednesday, February 5th with seven mid-valley breweries pouring in five venues. The event connects Salem’s past to its future with modern-day makers that continue the traditions that helped Salem prosper. The free beer heritage tour starts 6:00 p.m. at Uptown Insurance, 349 State St and will be led by Kylie Pine from Willamette Heritage Center. It’s your downtown – own it!
Self -guided tour from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. $15 wristbands good for 2x 3 oz tastes from each brewery.
1. Venti’s Cafe + Basement Bar pouring Salem Ale Works 325 Court St NE
Since 1996, Venti’s Cafe has been pushing the craft beer envelope downtown by exposing Salem to the exploding microbrew scene. Venti’s always had it on tap first and when they moved across the street and put in the cozy basement bar, the selection only grew. As the mid-valley breweries mature, Venti’s continues to support the community by offering tap handles from the locals.
The Salem Ale Works boys broke onto the scene last summer at the Bite and Brew downtown and haven’t looked back since. Former college buds and wildland firefighters, the brewers opened a taproom behind Kmart last August inside their small batch brewery. Their attention to detail is producing some very tasty brews, like the Misery Whip IPA and Cast Iron CDA, and they’ll be at Venti’s Cafe with their latest.
2. Franklin’s Bottle Shop pouring Deluxe, Two Kilts and Santiam Brewing 241 Liberty St NE
By offering beer until 2:30 a.m., Franklin’s Bottle Shop pulled downtown into the 21st Century in August 2012. As the only late-night option in decades, Franklin’s became the destination for thrill seekers daring to unroll the sidewalks and stay out past midnight. With their tap handles breeding like rabbits and a well-stocked bottle selection, Franklin’s sets the bar for a late-night imbibery.
Deluxe Brewing in Albany launched the mid-valley’s first brewstillery in 2011, making lagers and distilling whiskey, rum and gin. While at different ends of the beer spectrum, their Schwarzbier and Pre-Prohibition Pilsner are great examples of malty bodies. Their taproom is open Fridays and Saturdays down on the river by in downtown Albany.
Two Kilts Brewing out of Sherwood scaled up to bottling in 2011 and now boast a 15 barrel capacity cranking out a strong Scotch Ale and Belgian Blonds, Reds. They focus on high-quality ingredients and their taproom is located on the Tualatin-Sherwood cutoff, open Monday-Saturday.
Santiam Brewing cranks out an amazing amount of luscious beer, influenced by traditional British-style draughts casking in aged oak and rum barrels. With more styles than taps, there’s always a choice at their brewery at 19th and McGilchrist open daily.
3. The Coin Jam pouring Gilgamesh Brewing 439 Court St NE
A sneak-peek into The Coin Jam early on revealed a powerful concept, combining video games and drinks to attract nerds like moths to light. When it opened downtown, everyone got another surprise with a funky menu and friendly staff. They will all be on deck this First Wednesday with a special Gilgamesh-inspired menu and random free play.
Gilgamesh Brewing loves to get creative with their beer and it’s always exciting to see what they do next. From Mamba to Vader to DJ Jazzy Hef, the creative brews have offered an inspiring complement to their traditional pales since 2010. Now that the brewery has moved to Salem and opened The Campus on Madrona, their contagious energy has made them an events destination.
4. Salem Summit Co. pouring Mazama Brewing 246 State St
Salem Summit Co. stepped up and filled a big hole when they opened an outdoor shop with quality merchandise downtown. A quick look on their shelves satisfies even hardcore adventurers and their friendly customer service keeps families and kids in the know. Housed in the Catlin and Lynn Building, Salem Summit Co. is the last stop of the beer heritage walking tour.
Mazama Brewing burst onto the mid-valley scene with their Belgian-style brews in May of 2013. Their 20-barrel brewery near Corvallis anchors the Eastgate Circle fermentation utopia. With plenty of room for experimentation, the brewery is kicking out some 10% Grand Cru and oak barrel-aged Dubbel at 8.2%. Paired with some Fresh ‘n Local Foods at Salem Summit Co., it’s just what the weatherman ordered!
5. Uptown Insurance pouring Seven Brides Brewing 349 State St
Uptown Insurance continues the creative streak in the George Bayne Building. A former guitar store and photography studio, the space lends itself to welcoming visitors and Uptown Insurance refined the experience with two beautiful bars, open space, high ceilings and a video projector. Built with hops money in the early 1900s, the location is the first stop on the beer heritage tour.
Seven Brides Brewing began around 2008 in a West Salem garage with beta-testers filling growlers from 5 and 10 gallon batches of Oatmeal Ellie and Lil’s Pils. After refinement and prodding from the lucky testers, Seven Brides opened a brewery in Silverton, which they immediately outgrew. After building a taproom a few blocks away, Seven Brides finally had room to catch up with demand and continue to make enough beer to pay for their daughters’ weddings.
6:00 p.m. at 349 State St FREE
Learn about the influence of hops and beer on Salem’s growth and architecture with Kylie Pine of the Willamette Heritage Center. The one-hour walking tour will include descriptions of the George Bayne Building, Livesley Building, Adolph Block, J.K. Gill Building, Salem Brewery Association and the Catlin and Lynn Building.