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Monday, April 06, 2009

New Brewpub: Hobo Brewing

The Oregon Brewers Guild lists 30 breweries operating in the Portland area. In a few months, Brian Butenschoen is going to have to update the number: Oregon's newest brewery is in the works in the former location of Noble Rot on 28th and SE Ankeny. (The picture at right, courtesy of, shows the building as occupied by Noble Rot.)

Serendipity sent me by the future Hobo Brewing yesterday as Kiley Hoyt and Elan Walsky were puttering around out front. I was attracted by the three jugs of yeast visible through the open door (you can see them in the picture below). Sure enough: yeast. Kiley and Elan are recent graduates of Siebel, and they met at Steinbart's before deciding to open shop together.

Hobo will be a microbrewery in the old sense--3.5 to five barrels. For the moment, Hobo only occupies the bottom floor, but they hope to be able to expand to the second floor in the future. I think I caught them pretty early in the process; they seem to be in full R&D mode, just exploring the types of beer they'll brew. I had a follow-up question about the name, and Kiley said in her email this morning that they were up until midnight brewing. Call it the elbow grease stage.

One nugget on the beer front: Elan suggested a maple IPA may be in the works when I asked about beer styles. (Maple IPA, you ask? Kiley's from Vermont. For those of you who have seen the sugarhouses dotting the countryside of the Green Mountain state, this is no surprise. On one of my trips to New England to visit Sally's family, I was inspired to brew a maple stout. Maple's in the air out there.)

The name of the brewery is born of the times. Kiley emailed this description:
"It was just something that made sense. The company was born only last year and hearing and seeing all the struggling going on due to the tough economic times (I myself was laid off), we chose the name Hobo. A hobo continues through life relying solely on the the support of others--friends, family, and strangers alike...We want to have a place where people can stop by during their travels, feel at home, enjoy their stay, and not break the bank."
This is perfectly consonant with the neighborhood, which has long been the center of Portland's communal vibe. You can probably catch Kiley and Elan at the brewery--especially on sunny days when the door will be open--and welcome them to the neighborhood. They are personable and welcoming, and seemed genuinely thankful for the interest people expressed.

I'll keep you updated as they progress toward opening. Right now they're shooting for summer.


  1. That's a great scoop, Jeff! More beer in the neighborhood.

    When they open, that will be the seventh small brewery in the district of Sen. Rosenbaum, one of the sponsors of the 1900% beer tax increase bill.

  2. Excellent news! I was wondering what would fill Noble Rot's space, and I'm glad to see that it's potentially a brewpub. Between Upright Brewing, the Green Dragon when they get their system up and running, and now Hobo Brewing this looks to be a good year for Portland beer drinkers.

  3. Andrew,

    How could you use the words when and not if, when referring to the Green Dragon brewing?

    2010 is my bet for the GD brewing. Have any of you had a pint from the new cask engine there?


  4. Great news for my neighborhood! I've been wondering who would snatch up that space.

  5. Maple IPA sounds intriguing, but not sure HOBO is a great SUSTAINABLE name for a brewery? ;-}



    A professional tramp; one who spends his life traveling from place to place, esp. by stealing rides on trains, and begging for a living.

    Synonyms: beggar, bum, derelict, drifter, migrant worker, street person, tramp, transient, vagabond, vagrant, wanderer, wino


    careless, negligent

    I picture a dirty guy who smells of urine and feces stirring the boiling kettle.... or Hobo Wine which is basically Welches Grape Juice, Table sugar and fermented with some yeast!

    Kind of step down feeling from the classier Noble Rot?

    That said, "WINO Brewery" might be a better fit for Portland locals... :-O


    Definition: drunk

    Synonyms: alcoholic, boozer*, bum*, carouser, dipsomaniac, drinker, drunkard, guzzler, hobo, inebriate, lush*, sot, sponge*

  6. Ah, Doc, leave it to you to say the most gracious thing. Always a sweetheart.

    I would quibble, naturally. I believe hobo in this case hews closer to Webster's definition: "a migratory worker, a vagabond." Hobo has a strong association with the Depression--a resonance Walsky and Hoyt hoped to conjure. Although the etymology remains obscure, a common suggestion is that it comes from the greeting "ho boy!" or "hoe-boy," tying it to itinerent farmers and the social nature of the lifestyle.

    I picture a dirty guy who smells of urine and feces stirring the boiling kettle....

    I believe this says more about you than the brewery. Or hobos.

  7. the level of douche-baggy-ness of Dr. Wort never ceases to astound. (Try to google that description)

    Jeff, do you know if this is going to be a brewpub? The space seems like a brewpub sort of place but its so small to fit a brewery and a pub.

  8. Jeff, do you know if this is going to be a brewpub? The space seems like a brewpub sort of place but its so small to fit a brewery and a pub.

    It's a brewpub. The brewery will go in the back. I didn't go in to see what kind of space they have, but they somehow plan to shoe-horn it in past the wee dining area.

    (Even as we were walking away from the building, I said to Sally--I hope they have some guest taps around town, because that place is so small. Worked for Noble Rot, though.)

  9. Don't worry, Dr. Wort. They're really going to call it Boho Brewing.

  10. You know the doctor.... He goes right for the gutter.... Isn't that where we find Hobo's??? ;-}

    Oh, Jeff! I'm so appalled! You said I smell of feces and urine.... Go wash you mouth out young man!!! ;-}

    Douche-Bag? I resemble that remark! :-}

    According to the Urban Dictionary:

    douchebag - Someone who has surpassed the levels of jerk and asshole, however not yet reached fucker or motherfucker. Not to be confused with douche.

    Yep! That's me!

    Next time try, "Obnoxious-Pea brained-scum sucking-butt reaming-small penis-self righteous-blowhard!" You can do it... just need to string more adjectives together.... ;-}

    Dr Wort can take a few verbal punches... The Doctors self-esteem is well intact... ;-}

    Here's your Smelly Bum.....

    Although his beard looks rather clean....

    Anything else you guys want me to comment on?

    Maybe we can talk about how the state is trying to distract the pending Beer Tax with Jeff's 'Honest Pint Project?' They must really think locals are stupid... Uh oh! It that case they might win!

    Luv ya guys!

  11. every blog needs a resident troll and at least Dr. Wort is entertaining.

  12. I guess we shouldn't ask him what he thinks about Bunk Sandwiches {admittedly, kind of a dumb name) or for that matter Rogue...

  13. Jeremy in SE PDX10:23 PM, April 06, 2009

    Great news. Now, when is one of you entrepreneurial types (not me! I have a head for beer but not for business...) going to open a brewpub in my neighborhood, Foster-Powell? HUB is the closest, and it's been a godsend, but it's still not walking distance.

    There's a beautiful old building, the old Phoenix Drugstore Building, at Foster & 67th. It would be a great space, and there was a rumor for a bit that the McM. brothers were interested in it, but apparently it came to nothing.

    Since I've been here (6 years) we've sprouted several good coffee shops, cafes, and bakeries as well as two nice restaurants, but still no beer making.

    Anybody got any good gossip? Hope?


  14. Yay! I'm entertaining! I wish I had a resident Troll on my blog...

    Bill:"BoHo!" Is that's the opposite of Hoe-Boy..... Boy-Hoe! Jeremy will be excited, I've seen some Boy Hoes in that Foster neighborhood, they';; do anything for their Meth addictions.... maybe they'll open a "boy Hoe" in his neighborhood....

  15. "I guess we shouldn't ask him what he thinks about Bunk Sandwiches {admittedly, kind of a dumb name) or for that matter Rogue..."

    Bunk Sandwiches: Gourmet sandwiches. Yea, they're pretty good, but a decent sandwich shouldn't be that hard to find and should cost that much. I'd like just a simple Italian Deli that does a decent cheap sandwich. Can't find one of those.....

    Rogue: Big Corporate Hypocrites who are just in it for the buck... No matter what kind BS PR they dish out.... Have those 10 new ROGUE taps made an appearance at Green Dragon yet?

    Don't know who's still going to Green Dragon.... They would have better to have gone down on a high note, than being picked apart post sell-out.

    I haven't purchased a Rogue product in over a year. I'd be a hypocrite myself if I lowered myself to that point.

    Any other questions? This is fun!

  16. I wouldn't call Rogue "Big corporate".. might as well call Widmer that. It's best to get a good hold in this economy when you have something good to offer. I however like the name Rogue.. as it makes me think of ancient times, and Rogue pirates etc.. or just a step aside from the usual. Though I am only impressed by a couple of their brews... I know they make good booze.. although I don't drink it.

    I have never been to the Green Dragon.. hope to get down there, hit that up as well as Hopworks. I am sure Hobo will be a well supported little brewpub in that spot of the neighborhood. But to profit well they better spit out some damn good brews that others will support as well. Then maybe at that time they will brew a Malt Liquor, bottle it in 40's, and hand them out to hobo's in their own custom printed brown paper bags :-)) (Just a light hearted joke). Will be interesting, and look forward to trying their brews. If one can thrive doing what they love, then I raise a glass to them.. even if it's their glass! ;-)

  17. Dosir: You scare me!

    Back to the Websters:

    Rogue -

    1. vagrant, tramp
    2. a dishonest or worthless person, scoundrel
    3. a mischievous person, scamp
    4. a horse inclined to shirk or misbehave
    5. an individual exhibiting a chance and usually inferior biological variation

    I thought the definition was pretty funny...

    Just because Rogue is privately owned doesn't mean it doesn't operate as a corporate entity.