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Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcoming Gilgamesh Brewing

"'Eat the food, Enkidu, it is the way one lives.
Drink the beer, as is the custom of the land.
Enkidu ate the food until he was sated,
he drank the beer--seven jugs!-- and became expansive and sang with joy!"
~Epic of Gilgamesh
Such is the history of beer that it pre-dates the history of writing. While the claim is unprovable, some historians believe that beer predated civilization; having discovered fermented grain accidentally, early man began to cultivate to improve his homebrewing odds. But when civilizations did begin to document their lives, they documented beer. The earliest civilization known to do so were the Sumerians--worshipers of the Goddess Ninkasi--who in the world's first epic, Gilgamesh, made several references to beer. (In the passage above, Gilgamesh civilized a feral rival by ministrations of sex and beer. In this way, the Epic of Gilgamesh was also the world's first beer commercial.)

This long preamble is by way of introducing you to yet another new brewery of which I was until this weekend ignorant: Turner's Gilgamesh. Sharp-eyed reader Derek noticed this story in the Salem Statesman-Journal:
Visitors to the Gilgamesh booth during the Oregon Food, Wine & Beer Festival’s opening day today were privy to three beer tastings — including the popular Black Mamba, a black tea and tangerine zest beer — from the young brewery based in Turner.

[Nick] Radtke, his two brothers and father started the brewery about nine months ago, deciding to rely on 12 years’ brewing experience. “Eight or nine months ago we realized we were tired of the daily grind of our jobs and we decided to open a brewery,” Radtke said.
Digging a bit deeper (the Google points me to both a website and Facebook page), you will find an eclectic list of beers, half of which eschew hops for other herbal infusions: Black Mamba (no hops), Copper (traditional amber), IPA (traditional, but with an intriguing mixture of Amarillo, Simcoe and Zeus), Hopscotch (traditional Scottish ale, and surprisingly their most popular), Cranberry Saison (obviously nontraditional--brewed with local cranberries and no hops), and Chocolate Mint Stout (local mint and Moonstruck chocolate Amano chocolate nibs).

Consider my interest piqued.


  1. Sorry, I should have linked you the websites also, saved you some time googling.

    Also, I heard about another one this weekend, but haven't turned up any info on it yet.

  2. Derek, sorry, I didn't realize that was you. I guess I never knew your last name! Thanks for the tip--

  3. And we want you to try it too! Thanks for the write-up and we will have to meet soon so you can try some samples!

    We are a small operation, but we are in the process of expanding which will mean that we will soon be at several locations throughout Portland and Salem (as well as other cities eventually). We are planning to have a booth at the Spring Beer & Wine Fest in April and will hopefully be in bars/restaurants even sooner!

    I hope you've joined our facebook group, so we can keep you updated as we distribute our brews and attend more festivals! THANKS AGAIN!