Two years into the brewery’s existence, this seems to be in evidence among the brewpub’s 11 solid taps. The brewery doubled production to around 500 barrels in its second year, and expects to do so again next year. And this month, a vanilla bourbon cream ale, made in collaboration between Sasquatch brewer Charlie Van Meter and Maletis Beverage rep George Dimeo, mopped up at Willamette Week’s Pro/Am Beer Festival, winning both the judges’ and people’s prizes.
“We’d made it before,” says Van Meter, “and we tried making other brews but just kept coming back around to it.” To make it, Van Meter and Dimeo started with a cream ale and added special roast and honey malt before aging it with Evan Williams-soaked oak chips for a week and a half. Unlike a lot of bourbon beers, the vanilla cream doesn’t hit you with alcoholic heat that ascends straight into your sinuses—it’s smooth, rich and quaffable.
The brewpub is busy enough that there’s a line out the door on weekends, often with families making use of the rack of kids’ toys. “We take reservations,” says manager Alex Beard. “We’re not like an eastside place. We want people to be comfortable.”
Still, its location does make Sasquatch an outlier. Despite being home to the original McMenamins brewery, Portland’s Southwest hill country is a beer desert. The Sasquatch tap list is maybe a bit thick with hoppy brews, but its sock-to-the-face espresso stout—brewed with Sellwood’s Rose City coffee—is a welcome addition to any neighborhood.
The brewery will be bottling its Celilo Cascadian Dark and Oregon Session ales by early next year. The bar will give up a table on its dining-room floor to add four more tanks this year, which Sims says will free up room to make “goofy beers.” Things have come a long way: They’re actually buying these tanks new.
DRINK: Sasquatch Brewing, 6440 SW Capitol Highway, 402-1999, sasquatchbrewery.com.