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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dave Logsdon's New Joint: Logsdon Farmhouse Ales

When the very rich go to parties, their arrival is hailed by the announcement of their name (anyway, that's how it happened in class-conscious movies of the 1980s, where I gathered most of my information). So it was with with a brewery from Hood River, which has for months been just a name tantalizing for two of its three nouns: Logsdon Farmhouse Ales. Ales, okay, leave that aside. Farmhouse? I recently asked a famous beer writer what his five favorite styles were and he said "saison." A man after my own heart, and it seems, a brewery as well. And Logsdon? Well.

David Logsdon is perhaps the most important figure in Oregon brewing you never heard of. He's one of the first gen brewers, and a founder of Full Sail. This solidifies him as one of the pioneers, and, once we get a Oregon Brewing Museum, will earn him a bust alongside Dick Ponzi, Fred Bowman, Kurt Widmer, and Brian McMenamin. But more importantly, he founded Wyeast--notably, two years before Full Sail. The importance of Wyeast is somewhat lost in the great tradition of northwest brewing, but it goes to show how steeped in beer we actually are. It is at the center of American brewing, so much so that when you ask a brewer which yeast he uses, he's likely to give you the Wyeast four-digit code. The range of beers now produced in America is made possible in no small part because Logsdon went out and wrangled up authentic strains from classic beers around the world.

All of which makes it very good news that the name is about to arrive as a full-time, operating brewery:

Working with brewing partner Charles Porter, Logsdon has been pulling together the permits and equipment to produce about 3,000 barrels a year at the family farm off upper Neal Creek Road....

They are commonly referred to as “saison” beers, and Logsdon Farmhouse Ales will share that name in its branding. Logsdon plans to release two beers in late April or early May — a Seizoen (a traditional malty beer, with a lighter, hoppy profile that will finish dry and crisp), and a Seizoen Bretta, which features additional yeast that adds fruity notes and more acidity, plus a “farmyard” flavor — woody, earthy.

(Let's see, "Bretta," I wonder which variety of additional yeast that may be.) The piece I quoted from, in the Hood River Biz Blog, is full of cool info, like:
  • “'We got label approval this week, and seven tanks of beer have been filled,' Logsdon told me on Saturday out side the barn that houses his brewing equipment and bottling line. Bottles will feature a crowned cap covered in local beeswax... 'We’re probably the only brewery in the United States that’s a farmhouse making farmhouse ales,” Logsdon says.'”
  • “The operation has been set up as a cooperative, so other brewers can use the equipment to create their own brands, and share proceeds. Porter, with experience at four other brewers, hopes to create his own beers under his own label at some future date.“
  • The brewery will be organic (certified by Oregon Tilth) and will go the extra mile and use organic hops.
Finally, there's this amazing detail, from the extremely elusive company website:
We also are starting our nursery of sharbeekse kreik (cherry) trees brought over from the small Bam's orchard located in East Flanders. This is an arduous task of strict government quarantine, inspections and regulatory compliance. We intend to harvest our own fruit for our upcoming lambic style and tart red beers.
(Their facebook page seems a little livelier--go give them a little sugar.) So far, 2011 is shaping up to be a very good year.


  1. Wow! This sounds incredible (well, to me anyway). It also sounds very much like the set up of a boutique winery except with beery goodness. Buy a bottle and have a picnic lunch on the grounds perhaps? I will look forward to visiting there.

  2. Yesterday when I first visited the Facebook page, Logsdon's Farmhouse Ales had 10 followers (I was the eleventh). It's up to forty, which is a pretty good indicator of how people are responding to the news.

  3. First came across this in the OLCC listings in December 09. Really happy to see it coming to fruition, cherry trees included. Actually, I love just about everything about this. A ray of sunshine in this dreary Oregon spring.

  4. I'll be in Portland this summer, can't wait to try some of these beers! I like the creater of these beers; great name!

  5. "We’re probably the only brewery in the United States that’s a farmhouse making farmhouse ales,” Logsdon says.'”

    You might want to check out brewfarm