Portland Brew Stories - Multnohmah County Library

Portland, Oregon

Portland Brew Stories is a unique partnership between the Multnomah County Library and local breweries to build a collection that represents the culture, history, and passion of brewing in our community. The library worked with 14 breweries who's contribution and support made this project possible. Explore the collection at Portland Brew Stories. We were hired to produce a series of three videos to support the library's efforts.

This video features:

Gigantic Brewing Company: Van Havig, Master Brewer; Ben Love, Owner/Master Brewer Ecliptic Brewing: John Harris, Owner and Brewer; Erin Grey Kemplin, Sales Manager Migration Brewing Company: Colin Rath, Co-Owner

The individual videos for the project are below.

John Harris has been making beer for over 30 years for some of the most recognizable breweries in the state and country, but in 2014 he opened his own brewery to brew out of this world beer on planet earth. Even though he has brewed for other breweries, his beers all have a unique taste that isn’t similar to the beers of his past breweries. “If you can’t find a way to get another twist on a hop or a malt, then maybe you shouldn’t be a brewer.”

While the focus of most breweries is on the beer, John wanted to create a brewery for foodies and mentioned that people come in just for the food and don’t even get a beer. Both the beer and food changes seasonally, which adds interest for regulars and employees alike.

The building that houses Migration Brewing Company used to be an old radiator shop, but when the brewery moved in, the first patrons said: “This is exactly what the neighborhood needed.” It had no heat, insulation on the ceiling, but some hard work from the group of friends that started the brewery, transformed it into the space it is today. It is a space that attracts regulars from the neighborhood and it has created a larger group of friends. Colin Rath, co-owner, invited some of the regulars to his wedding - people he wouldn’t have known if not for the brewery.

As a way to continue to be a large part of their community, they host a night once a month where the 10% of the proceeds of the night go to a local organization. “It’s amazing to see people’s mindset and to see giving back become this joint effort where people want to give back however they can.”

Featuring unique, comic book, inspired labels, and beers to match, Gigantic Brewing Company has an aggressive edge that matches the brewers. As Van Havig says: “The artwork is amazing - it’s because we don’t work with crap artists, we work with real artists.”

The name is a bit of a joke. Ben Love, the brewmaster, noted: “we always had a goal for how big we want to be, and it’s not very big. We didn’t want to grow to be that next huge brewery. The name came out of the fact that we wanted to be small.” They sell a little beer a lot of places which makes them seem larger than they actually are.

It is a small space with a outdoor deck and it is often crowded. As a neighborhood pub, it attracts lots of regulars from their slice of the city.