Downtown business expands, licensed to brew on-site now

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Hoppy Brewer owner, Steve Krause, will soon be adding his own beers to his pour list.

Big things come in pairs for Steve Krause, owner of the Hoppy Brewer on Main Avenue in downtown Gresham.

The only local source for home brewing supplies has expanded into the space next door, and as of Nov. 26, Krause is now also licensed to brew on-site.

“We just put our own beer on tap within the last week,” Krause said. “Our first was ‘Bittersweet,’ a hoppy amber with a slight caramel flavor that comes from the malts used. I like researching what’s in a good beer and tweaking it to my taste, so what we make here will be our own recipes.”

Krause’s new operation is what is known as a nanobrewery, a step below a microbrewery, meaning the Hoppy Brewer is limited to a 10-gallon production capacity. Housed under a dining canopy in a back corner of the store’s outside dining area, Krause’s new operation is the fruition of a dream and his platform for the future.

Krause, 47, is a home brewer from way back. He admits to dabbling in the process in his early 20s, but says he began brewing in earnest about four years ago. After many trips to supply houses in Portland, the Troutdale resident decided to leave his 20-year career with Hillcrest Ski and Snowboard and bring brewing basics to Gresham.

“There was no place out here for supplies and ingredients,” Krause said. “I was tired of driving into Portland for supplies, so I made a career change and opened my own business.”

The Hoppy Brewer opened in May 2011, with 11 beers on draft and more than 200 varieties of primarily Northwest microbrews, sold in bottles, cans, pints and 1-gallon “growler” jugs. Krause opened an outside dining area this summer, a novelty in the downtown area, which quickly became a gathering place for customers to grab a bite to eat and a brew and sit a spell.

But guiding novice brewers has always been Krause’s passion. He willingly shares his expertise with DIYers and learns their taste preferences to help direct them in producing their own home brew. The store employs two other “avid brewers” and keeps a recipe file to help rookies get started.

The Hoppy Brewer’s 970-square-foot expansion essentially separates the Tap Room from the supply side, and also frees up space for future in-store events.

“We were going for a market-type look with the bins of hops and other ingredients,” Krause said. “It’s also allowed us to think about maybe putting a bar in the tap room some day, and now we have more opportunities for live music, which is something we hope to do throughout the winter.”

The Hoppy Brewer’s rotating draft beers now will include at least one in-house brew, Krause said, noting that the next one planned is an Imperial Pale Ale called “Powderstash.”

“It’s beer country out here,” Krause said. “It’s fun to turn people on to good beer and home brewing, but now, with the brewing license, we can continue to grow.”

“There’s a lot of information out there,” Krause said. “But for people who like to cook, they’ll have fun making beer because it’s a lot like cooking. You have to watch the temperatures and your ingredients, and it’s not that expensive to make.”

If you go

What: The Hoppy Brewer, a tap room featuring 11 rotating draft beers and more than 200 varieties of bottled and canned Northwest microbrews; also offers a selection of cider, wine and a full line of home-brewing supplies.

Where: 328 N. Main Ave., Gresham

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

For more information: Call 503-328-8474

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