New businesses have been popping up in downtown Tillamook all summer – from the Phoenix Exchange to Bonnie’s Beads Creations to Pelican Brewing Company’s tasting room (now scheduled to open October), the transformation of empty store fronts to new businesses is a pleasant change.
“Tillamook is on the edge of a revitalization,” said Trevor Rogers, who with his partner Linsey Hammacher operate a 7-barrel craft brewing operation, De Garde Brewing, next to their home. They’ve been distributing beer (primarily kegs) since May and attend different beer festivals and tastings across the state.
The duo are jumping on the revitalization train and hoping to help along the way, by opening a new tasting room at 1909 Second St. in Tillamook.
“We want to give people another option of somewhere to go,” Rogers said. “For those folks who might want to enjoy a beer after work but don’t want to do the bar scene.”
They won’t be serving food, so they can’t accommodate minors at all, and Rogers said they don’t plan on serving food in the future.
“Why serve food when we have so many great restaurants in this area?” he asked. “We want to help support the businesses around us, not take customers away from them.”
The location is small, but Hammacher said it’s perfect.
“We’re not looking to open a bar,” added Rogers. “Just a nice atmosphere where people can try something new, visit with each other and maybe learn a bit about the brewing process.”
Even those who know a thing or two about beer will be pleasantly surprised, as De Garde Brewing’s style of brewing is unlike anything commonly found in the United States
“Not a lot of other brewers are utilizing local yeast and bacteria populations,” Rogers said. “There’s a fantastic population of micro flora and fauna to make use of.”
They call it “wild fermentation.” Ninety percent of their beer is fermented in oak barrels as a throw back to an older process of brewing beer.
“Our styles are more obscure,” Rogers said. Which is why the two wanted to open a tasting room.
“It’s nice to present your product to people and explain what went into it. It’s not just another IPA or pale ale.”
He referred to it as “wine-centric beer.”
“A lot of our stuff caters to more wine-centered pallets,” he went on. In fact, he and Hammacher weren’t much of beer drinkers until a few years ago.
“We always had a passion for wine,” he said. “But a few years back we fell for the diversities and styles found in beer and wanted to try brewing. Not to mention there’s beautiful yeast in this area to work with.”
They try to use as many local ingredients as they can, adding to the uniqueness of their products.
“There’s quite a bit of wild beer to be found right now, but we’re the only brewery I know of that’s doing it exclusively,” he said.
And they’re both excited to have the Pelican Brewing Co. tasting room opening just a few blocks away.
“We bring very different styles, but diversity is wonderful for business,” Rogers said. “We cater to different pallets and interests, so people will want to go enjoy their beer and then walk a few blocks and come try ours.
“To have two breweries in one town, all of a sudden makes Tillamook a destination town for people who love craft beer. And then they’re going to want someplace to eat some food and suddenly all these surrounding businesses will be reaping the benefits too.”
The tasting room opens Sept. 21, just in time for the Tillamook Music and Brew Festival that same day.
“It was a push to try and be ready,” Hammacher said. But worth it, she added.
“There are beer festivals almost every weekend in Oregon,” Rogers added. “This is the only weekend there isn’t something going on, and we have our very own festival here in Tillamook.”
Right now, their tentative schedule will be Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.
“If we have the demand, we’ll be open more,” Hammacher said. She added they’d be available for appointments too, if people want to schedule a different time.
“We want the tourists to come in and stop by, but we also really want that local crowd who want a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere to enjoy a beer after work,” she said.
Four beers will be on tap at any given time, with others bottled and available for purchase.