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Local radio personality and West Linn resident set to open Coin Toss Brewing in Oregon City this summer


TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - From left, Colin Preston, Tim Hohl and Dave Fleming have joined together to create Coin Toss Brewing. Twenty years ago, when West Linn resident Tim Hohl first started brewing his own beer, he felt like “the smartest person in the room.”

He’d always liked to drink beer, and there he was, pouring himself a pint of his very own ale that cost but 75 cents to make. It was as if he was a customer at his own personal bar, with prices no one could beat.

Hohl, who is a host and news director for the First Edition radio show on KPAM (a Pamplin Media Group property), has spent years perfecting his formula, and an enterprise that started 20 years ago in his garage will now expand to a new brewery in Oregon City.

Hohl’s Coin Toss Brewing facility will occupy 1,400 square feet on Fir Street in Oregon City, with four 10-barrel fermenters and a taproom that is set to open in July. The “Coin Toss” name is inspired by the coin toss in 1845 that decided Portland’s namesake. Boston native Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove of Portland, Maine each wanted the city to be named after their hometown, and the coin toss — which was held in Oregon City — decided on Portland.

“I was a history graduate in college,” Hohl said. “I’ve always loved northwest history, and to be able to tie it all together is pretty fantastic.”

Indeed, visitors to the brewery will find historic themes abound. Along with Coin Toss’s flagship Black Hole Cascadian DarkAle, Hohl is also planning to unveil a rotating “Heritage Series” of beers that use historic recipes — the first based on a recipe found in George Washington’s journal.

“Everybody’s got an IPA,” Hohl said. “We’ll have one eventually, because you’ve got to have one, but we wanted to do something a little different out of the gates.”

TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Tim Hohl has dreamed of opening his own brewery since he first started brewing in his garage 20 years ago. Now, with the help of Dave Fleming and Colin Preston, the dream will become reality when Coin Toss Brewing opens in Oregon City this summer.

For Hohl, opening his own brewery is a dream come true. It all started on his radio show back in 2011, when he interviewed local brewer Dave Fleming and brought some of his home brew for Fleming to try. Fleming liked the beer, and the two joined together in 2012 to brew 210 gallons of Hohl’s formula at Lompoc Brewing, where Fleming was based at the time.

Since then, Fleming — who is “brewing royalty” in Portland, according to Hohl — has served as a close adviser as Hohl works to open his first brewery.

On the manufacturing end, Hohl has also worked with Colin Preston, an Oregon City resident who owns the tank fabrication company Practical Fusion.

“For me, it’s been about the beer, but it’s been more about getting to know people like Dave and Colin,” Hohl said. “People who work in the industry — that’s what this whole dream is tied to. I love the culture of the craft beer community ... I want to be part of that collaborative, creative culture.”

“It really is,” Preston added. “All these guys help each other out. It’s not so much competition as it is collaboration.”

Simply put, as Fleming said, “the common goal is just to have better beer in this country.”

Hohl, Fleming and Preston believe that Coin Toss fits perfectly within that craft brew community, and Hohl is equally excited about the location in Oregon City. While he did consider property within West Linn, he ultimately found better real estate and a burgeoning craft brew scene in Oregon City.

“I love Oregon City,” he said. “I love the history, I love the sort of ‘old school’ feel — it has a certain blue collar feel to it. And at the same time, it’s really a prime location for craft brew expansion in the Portland metro area. You’re starting to see that already.”

In the midst of this new venture, Hohl will not leave his job at KPAM, where he also airs a “Beer Geek” segment every Thursday morning. This spring, he will debut two beers — the Black Hole and George’s Honest Ale — at the Spring Beer & Wine Festival in Portland. He also plans to have beers on tap at a number of local establishments in Oregon City, West Linn and Lake Oswego in advance of the brewery’s grand opening this summer.

To learn more, visit cointossbrewing.com.

Patrick Malee can be reached at 503-636-1281 Ext. 106 or pmalee@westlinntidings.com.

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