A long, long time ago, in a garage not far, far away, a great beer was brewed…well, not right away; at first, it was something that the dog wouldn’t even drink. Thank goodness for perseverance!
Before I was even born, my grandparents and parents were home brewing beer. Living on a farm in Oregon, they had an abundance of their own hops. A lot of fruit beers and simple wheat brews became favorites around the farm. By the time I was born, they had the home brewing process down.
I spent many hours of my life next to my grandfather while he brewed beer and he would tell me stories of his and my parents’ brewing experiences.
Not only did I listen, but I was even permitted to help bottle and brew. Eventually, life became busy with my time in the Army, as well as working in the family’s steel business; but throughout it all, my grandfather and I remained close. We would spend hours discussing home brewing and with his expertise, my own home brewing began to grow and develop.
I started with five gallon batches and it was a process to figure out how to brew it just right. My biggest critics were my dad and grandfather; talk about no mercy! If it was a bad batch, they made sure I knew it and I’d start all over again.
I’m sure you can imagine how my wife “appreciated” my little hobby. The mess, the smell, the constant visitors for our twice a month “Testosterone Fests” (my wife’s creative name for our gatherings). I think what finally broke her patience was the day she discovered that I left a fermenting carboy in the pantry… inside the house. She called me at work to tell me (alright, let’s be honest- to cuss me out/chew my butt) about the mess she was left to deal with.
Needless to say, we were banned from having anymore brew fests in the garage. It was time to find a new place.
Fortunately, I had just the place for us to continue our brewing; a 12,000 square foot empty building that sat on my business property, Steel Structures. Over a short time, the demand for my home brew grew; friends of friends were asking where they could pick it up.
What to do, what to do? Why build a bigger brewing operation, of course! With welder in hand, I built what is now the 20 barrel brewery. With that, Riley’s Brewing Co. was born and we were off; several thousand cases down, only several billion more to go…
President, Riley’s Brewing Company