The Willamette Valley Apocalyptic Book Club meets on a sort of regular basis at different restaurants in the general area of Salem, Oregon. Sometimes we meet in Albany, sometimes we meet in Salem. We never have had a specific book that we read and then discuss. It's always a run down of what we've read and if we think that the other members would like it. Meetings always end with browsing a book store.
I guess now would be a good time to mention that the club only has two members (though we wouldn't stop anyone interested in joining to come along). So yeah it's just me and my buddy Deathrattle hanging out being Apocalypse Dorks.
I thought that since they were brewers and they had an apocalyptic feel, that they would appreciate a fellow brewer who also has turned out a couple of PA brews. I decided that they needed to sample my Dinty Moore Wasteland Stout. I wanted to bring them some of my Acid Sky Oatmeal IPA (tasting notes and recipe to follow) as well, but as of this posting it is in secondary fermentation and not ready to drink.
The trip was yesterday. Deathrattle, his buddy Luke, and I drove down to Medford to visit Apocalypse Brewing and had a pretty fantastic time. With the exception of the long drive and the brewery visit, it was a typical PA book club meeting: Lunch and then book store browsing. The brewery was what made the trip though.
Now to start with, the brewery is very small. They are a barrel and a half operation. Works out to a capacity of 50 gallons. Those of you who have been to Deer Island Brewery for either the Teach a Friend to Homebrew or the Big Brew days will know that they have the same capacity. It's small in other words.
That's the heart of the brewery. They have a beer sculpture that a friend of theirs welded for them (exactly like Scott welded the ten gallon brew sculpture for Dart Creek and I thank you) You can see the pump that drives it on the lower bar and also the plate chiller on the floor near the pump. A really nice compact system as well.
I never intended for this to be a brewery tour though. I've gone on a couple of tours since I got seriuos about brewing and it's always the same. It's pretty much like what I do in the driveway at Dart Creek ... just on a larger scale is all. The real intent of the trip was to find out if the name was gimick or if the brewers were PA fans.
I left thinking that they were somewhere in the middle. It's somewhat a gimmick as evidenced by the couple who stopped in from Idaho just because of the name. But as I talked with staff and asked them about the name I learned that the head brewer Nick is of the mind that you should be able to brew even after the shit hits the fan. If you run out of propane you can use a wood fire for example. Also all of his ingredients are locally sourced so that in the event that supplies become difficult to find he's not completely out of luck. For me just personally .... i wish he'd been more of a PA dork like me and that the decor of the place more closely resembled their name and the names they've given their beers.
Since I was driving I was only able to drink a Blast Radius at the brewery. I took a growler home of The Sixth Seal though. I've been drinking it the whole time I've been writing. I'm nearly done with both this post and the growler. It's very hoppy and tasty. And I am very hammered.
As far as the trade in kind went, I think they would have gone for it if I had asked. But since I'm a brewer I know how much work this takes. I didn't mind paying for a pint, the growler fill and two pint glasses.
As far as the Dinty went I think it was well received. One of the dudes told me that it was great but that because of all the grains that it required he'd never be able to brew it commercially. Well guys my offer stands. Let's work out a trade. I'll give you five gallons of Dinty for your guest tap if you'll trade for a five gallon keg of Blast Radius or The Six Seal.
Final thought: Great beers, good atmosphere, and friendly staff and customers. If you should ever find yourself in Medford, Oregon and have a thirst, stop by and raise a pint .... embrace the chaos.
If you are an author or a publisher and you'd like me to check out what you're doing, review your apocalyptic literature, view your PA film or interview you, contact me at: feardeathbywater[at]exitofhumanity[dot]com.