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Tualatin's only brewery is open for business

Ancestry Brewing already preparing to open second location in Sellwood.

TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Ancestry Brewing owner Jerry Turner, center, with general manager and son Jeremy, right and PDX Sliders chef Ryan Rollins.Beer from Tualatin? You better believe it.

Ancestry Brewing, a new addition to the Portland area's massive craft beer scene, opened late last month at the corner of Southwest Tualatin-Sherwood Road and 115th Avenue.

Ancestry has been brewing beer out of its industrial location since October, said owner Jerry Turner. He and his son Jeremy, brewer and general manager, have been distributing it — mostly in the South Metro suburbs, but also at a few locations in Portland, they said — for several months. But the restaurant began serving the public on May 23 with a 16-beer tap list and a compact menu of burgers and sandwiches.

“We brew everything that we offer right now,” said Jerry Turner, although he said they also plan to offer some gluten-free alternatives, such as cider and wine, in the near future.

Turner's background is not in brewing or the restaurant industry. He spent most of his career in the pump business, founding Pioneer Pump Inc. in Canby. He has since sold that business and become a part-owner of The Wild Hare Saloon in Oregon City, he said, but Ancestry is his first foray into the beer business.

Jeremy Turner said he has been brewing beer for 16 years, including a stint at Kulshan Brewing Co. in Bellingham, Wash.

“Basically, he really wanted to do a family business, and that's where the Ancestry name comes from,” Jeremy Turner said of his father.

Ancestry has been a work in progress for some time.

“We originally weren't going to have food,” said Jerry Turner. “And about August, September, we decided that we were going to add the food.”

Through a series of connections, the Turners ended up joining forces with Ryan Rollins, a Portland food cart and truck operator. Rollins has been on a meteoric rise since entering the food business 2 1/2 years ago; his business, PDX Sliders, won awards at the annual Bite of Oregon and Portland Food Cart Festival last year, and was recognized as the fourth-best burger joint in the United States, according to data from the restaurant review website Yelp, by National Geographic last month.

“Nothing's commercial. Nothing's frozen. Nothing's done in bulk. It's all done on a two- or three-day process,” said Imran Haider, Ancestry's front-end manager and enthusiastic evangelist for the food and beer it serves. “Everything's done in a really craft fashion.”

TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - The Sellwood burger with truffle fries and a sampler of beer at Ancestry Brewing in Tualatin.

Right now, Ancestry has a fairly limited menu featuring some of PDX Sliders' regular offerings in entree form. But the brewpub's staff said its menu will expand and change in time.

“We're going to let the city kind of gorge on this menu for a little bit, and then we're going to come back with rotating pairings of beer and food menus,” Rollins explained.

Ancestry has been brewing a variety of beers, including English- and Belgian-style ales, which Jerry Turner said are specialties of head brewer Trevor Lauman. It also offers several different India pale ales, including a potent triple IPA that clocks in at more than 10 percent alcohol by volume.

“I said one of my goals would be to have things that don't leave an aftertaste, they're very balanced — and so that's what we strive for,” explained Turner, who described himself as “not a real big beer drinker,” despite the business that he and his son have started.

Turner said business so far has exceeded his expectations. He estimated about 1,000 people came through during a grand opening event over Memorial Day weekend.

Ancestry stays open late, until 10 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Even though it is situated in an industrial area with no nightlife to speak of, Haider said that so far, the brewpub is usually still half-full during late-night hours.

“It's nice to have that option for Tualatin, I think,” he said. “I just think most people think things will be closed at 10 or 11 here.”

Haider and Rollins admitted the restaurant hasn't been seeing much lunchtime traffic yet, but they expect that to change.

“There are people that work in this industrial area … they think this is an industrial area where we're putting metal together or something like that,” Haider chuckled. “When people find out that we're actually making food and serving drinks, I think that they will stop by for lunch. … They just need to find out about it. That's what I think.”

The Turners have gone all in on the new business. Jerry Turner said they've put about $2 million into the 7,200-square-foot, industrial-style space, and have even invested in what he calls “gee-whiz things” not commonly found in breweries of Ancestry's size, such as a machine that pre-fills and vacuum-seals growlers for sale and another designed to efficiently wash and sanitize the glass bottles.

Most strikingly, though Ancestry has only been open for a couple of weeks, the Turners are counting down the days until their second location opens at at 8268 S.E. 13th Ave. in Portland's Sellwood neighborhood. That location is considerably smaller, Jerry Turner said, and will serve beer from kegs supplied by the Tualatin brewery rather than brewing its own in-house.

Ancestry Brewing in Tualatin is located at 20585 S.W. 115th Ave. Seating is available inside and outside, with the brewpub backing up to a protected wetland. Entrees are generally priced in the $11 to $14 range, although Haider and Rollins said they expect to begin offering cheaper appetizers and sides soon.

The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. seven days per week.

TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Ancestry Brewing head brewer Trevor Lauman stirs the boil kettle at the new Tualatin brewpub.

By Mark Miller
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