Posted February 15, 2005 by Nick Lindauer in Hot Sauce News

That's it! I'm moving back to Oregon!

Okay, not really, but articles like the one below make me really miss Oregon. I’ve yet to find a good home brew place here in NYC – Maybe they don’t exist over here? I’m sure they do, but Oregon home brews and micro brews will always have a special place in my heart. I was never much of a beer drinker until I met the Hoppasauras Rex at the Steelhead Brewery in Eugene, Oregon. That beer is so full of flavor! MMMmmmmmm beeeeeer…….

Eugene Gregg keeps Oregon Trader hopping
By Sean Wolfe
Albany Democrat-Herald

Now in his fifth year of managing Oregon Trader Brewing Company, Eugene Gregg isn’t showing signs of running out of inventive beer recipes.

His Hefeweizen is brewed with berries; his Wit beer is brewed with coriander and other spices, and his seasonal Hollybock features cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. For chilly evenings, some of his patrons like to sample his Green Chili lager, flavored with Serrano, Anaheim and jalapeno peppers.

“That one is pretty popular,” Gregg said. “It’s one of those beers where people that like it, really really like it.”

India Pale Ale remains his most popular brew, with wheat beer running a close second. Then there’s his amber, brown ale, porter and scotch ale recipes vying for the No. 3 spot.

The company opened in 1993. In 1998, Gregg was hired by the former owners, Jerry Mathern and Nancy Coleman, who founded Oregon Trader in 1993. Two years later, he had the chance to buy the business, and took Mathern and Coleman up on their offer.

He’s been paying it off ever since, and hopes to own it outright in the next few years. Among his other plans are to add more brewing equipment, which would help him double his output.

“Things are always getting better. We’ve had a pretty good run of it lately, and most of last year was really good to us,” Gregg said.

“The place has always been profitable.”

In addition to Gregg’s brewing operation, he and his wife, Susan Corwin, also run the pub, which has has the feel of a neighborhood cafe. Situated two blocks from the Willamette River at 140 Hill St. S.E., the pub is off the beaten path in a quiet section of Albany. The one room pub features a six-seat bar.

The atmosphere is informal, and most patrons end up at one of the several tables, wolfing down snacks along the lines of nachos and pizza bread. But the real draw is the beer, and growler after growler makes it from the taps to the tables throughout the evening.

The out-of-the-way location hasn’t hurt Gregg’s business, which consists mostly of locals who know him, or beerhounds who take the time to seek him out.

“The location has some issues, in that people can’t always find me. But those aren’t people who come here a great deal. The thing I’m lacking is getting passersby to come in, like I’d have if I were downtown,” Gregg said. “What I do have is people that once they come here, they make a point of coming back. There’s customers that come down from Washington or other places twice a year, and they’ll stop by whether they’re coming or going.”

Besides the pub business, Gregg also distributes kegs of his brews to mid-valley restaurants. Wyatt’s Eatery & Brewhouse carries several of Gregg’s taps, as do Suds & Suds and Nearly Normal’s vegetarian restaurant in Corvallis.

“I’d like to do more distribution into pubs and restaurants. There’s no intention of ever bottling the beer, so it would always be keg sales. But I’d like to do more distribution into Eugene, and limited locations in Portland and other cities,” Gregg said.

To keep people coming in, Gregg opens the room to live music on Saturday evenings, and has featured blues, bluegrass and other artists from around the state.

“We try to keep it small, because we’re not a big place. But we never charge a cover, and it adds something to Albany’s night life,” he said.

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog