Oregon City's Weinhard Grill, Coin Toss Brewing Company collaborate on Weinhard IPA
Newly released beer is the result of a partnership between Busch, co-owner of Weinhard's Grill, and Tim Hohl, founder of Coin Toss Brewing Company, a brewery and taproom in Oregon City.
Andy Busch wants to set the record straight — the Weinhard IPA he serves at Weinhard Grill in downtown Oregon City is not made by Henry Weinhard's company.
Instead, the newly released beer is the result of a partnership between Busch, co-owner of Weinhard's Grill, and Tim Hohl, founder of Coin Toss Brewing Company, a brewery and taproom in Oregon City.
"I've been involved in all kinds of ideas, but what Tim and I came up with is a partnership that is truly equal — he makes beer, and I get to sell it," Busch said.
And the Weinhard IPA is a No. 1 contender for top sales, he said.
Busch found out about Coin Toss Brewing from customers who recommended the brewery's beers.
Once Weinhard Grill began selling Coin Toss beers, Busch and Hohl started to discuss a "partnership or cross promotion. We came up with the idea to sell a branded beer," Hohl said.
Busch and his wife, Nancy, toured the brewery, located on Fir Street, where Hohl took them through the portfolio of beers, noting which ones customers like.
"My wife and I had ideas about what we like in a beer profile. We wanted to take those notes [and make] a lighter, summery IPA," Busch said.
He particularly likes the fact that the beer represents a connection between two Oregon City businesses.
"Anytime we can, we buy local. My chef and 75 percent of my staff live in Oregon City; we are part of the community," Busch said.
"We want to send each other business," Hohl said, adding that he recommends the restaurant to his taproom customers, and Busch and his staff send people to the brewery.
"It's pretty nice when people from Oregon City can drink a local beer in a local restaurant," Bush added.
Weinhard IPA, which was introduced for the holiday season last month, "is a smooth, easy drinking beer that pairs well with food. It is not super boozy, but complements the [meal]," Hohl said.
"It is an easy drinking, Northwest IPA with citrus notes," he added.
The name came about because the restaurant is in the Weinhard building, next door to Busch Furniture, which has been in Busch's family since the mid-1890s.
"Henry Weinhard, Oregon's most famous brewer, built the building in 1895, and my great-great grandfather, Frank Busch, was essentially his first tenant. But soon he bought the building and opened a store, selling stoves, paint and other things to create a homestead," Busch said.
The building has remained in the family ever since, he said, adding that the part of the business where Weinhard Grill is now located has been a tavern since the 1930s.
Coin Toss Brewing
Hohl, who has been a broadcast journalist at KPAM for 16 years, founded Coin Toss Brewing in February 2016.
He was a home brewer for 20 years and made beer at other breweries for nearly two years before opening his own company. His brewing team includes Dave Fleming, his mentor and "beer guru."
As for the name of the brewery, Hohl said he wanted "a name that would [reflect] not only the [history of the] Oregon City region, but also Portland."
Many people are familiar with the story of how Portland was named by a coin toss conducted by two New England natives.
Asa Lovejoy hailed from Boston and Francis Pettygrove was from Portland, Maine.
"Each one had an interest in the city without a name, so they tossed a coin. Pettygrove won, and the city became Portland," Hohl said.
But what people may not know, he added, is that the coin toss took place at the Ermatinger House in Oregon City, which is the oldest standing structure in Oregon.
"So the name speaks to Oregon City and also speaks to Portland," Hohl said.
"We had our eyes on Oregon City and felt it was an underserved area for locally made craft beers," he said.
"Historically it was a mill town, a yellow-beer drinking town. We hoped [beer drinkers] would want to try us out, and we have been embraced beyond our greatest hopes," Hohl said.
"All the beer is made on-site, and we have a solid lineup of 12 very different beers that are all really good. Quality is important to us," he said.
"We use Oregon City water right out of the tap. The water here is incredible, and we have had tremendous success with [it]."
None of the beer is very high in alcohol content because "to me, beer drinking is a very social thing; sitting at a bar, meeting new people."
No food is served at the taproom, but Hohl said he encourages people to bring their own food, and some local restaurants will deliver to the site.
"I always wanted to own my own business and control my own destiny, and I am now at the point in life where I can make something out of this," he said.
Through his broadcasting job, Hohl met people in the beer industry who "fell over backward to help me, so I took the plunge."
Hohl added, "The craft-beer community here is fantastic — there are five or six breweries, and we all like each other."
Variety in lineup
In addition to debuting Weinhard IPA, this past holiday season also saw the introduction of a much darker cherry-ginger stout.
Hohl said he likes all his beers, but a sentimental favorite is Black Hohl, which is "our flagship beer. It is a Cascadian dark ale; a black IPA that is a little hoppy, but smooth."
He also gets a kick out of the historical aspect of some of his beers, noting that George's Honest Ale is based on an entry in George Washington's journal, where he talks about making beer.
"All the founding fathers were brewers, so we used [Washington's] guidelines, and that beer has become so popular," Hohl said.
Another beer with history is 1845 Amber Lager, "our loose interpretation of beer that could have been brewed here in pioneer days," he added.
The taproom is only open four days a week, but Coin Toss Brewing has 25 accounts in Oregon City and the surrounding areas, including West Linn, Canby, Tualatin, Milwaukie and Portland.
Hohl said his mission "will always be to serve the community. We hope that when people think Coin Toss, they think Oregon City. And when they think Oregon City, they think Coin Toss."
Coin Toss Brewing
Hours: 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Where: 14214 Fir St., Suite H, Oregon City
More: 503-305-6220, cointossbrewing.com
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday
Where: 812 Main St., Oregon City
More: 503-305-8434, weinhardgrill.com