Oregon Public House: The Brewpub with Heart
Located in Portland’s Northeast neighborhood, soon-to-open Oregon Public House will be the first brewpub of its kind in the nation. Bringing together three things that Portlanders are passionate about — brewing, charity, and the community — Public House will be donating all proceeds to local charity organizations. We had the opportunity to speak with Ryan Saari, the driving force behind this unique venture.
The bar is located below the Village Ballroom, another community-oriented space run by Saari. Renovations are currently underway, and Saari’s goal is to complete the project 100 percent debt free. To accomplish this, he has called upon friends, neighbors, or any other volunteers willing to donate their time, tools, equipment, or funds. It’s been the most difficult aspect of the build, he tells us, he has also been wowed and impressed to see the community come together to help turn his idea into a reality.
"As a nonprofit, no one is the owner. Not me or anyone else on the board. The community owns this pub," says Saari.
Though the project is off to a fantastic start, the real magic won’t begin until the pub is up and running. Once open, the customers will be able to select which local charity organization their purchases go toward. The organizations to choose from will support a variety of community needs, social justice, and environmental issues. Portland not only has the largest number of nonprofits per capita in America, but also the most breweries (in the world), so this unique combination of the two is a perfect fit for the city.
As far as the house brews go, Saari promises a great selection, because he knows Portlanders wouldn’t stand for anything less. As natives of the northwest, Saari and head brewer Dean Ivester can’t help but be huge hopheads, but they plan on brewing a range of beers to satisfy everyone’s tastes. Saari lists HUB Lager, Laurelwood’s Workhorse IPA, and beers from Fort George as a few his current favorite local brews.
While the support has been fantastic so far, more is needed to get the doors open. There’s an open house fundraiser scheduled for Friday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m., with live music and tours of the pub. In general, Saari says the best way for individuals or companies to get involved is to donate money, time, or kitchen supplies and equipment. Check out Oregon Public House on Facebook to stay updated on the progress of this unique Beervana venue.
— Danya Henninger, The Drink Nation