Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

“Tap Into History: Four Perspectives on Brewing in Oregon”

March 28, 2014

Video: “Tap Into History: Four Perspectives on Brewing in Oregon” 

1:38:36 - Abstract | Biography


Faye Chadwell: Hey Folks, let’s have a seat. Let’s get our party started here. Well, let’s keep it going. Tiah’s too much of a librarian, I moved into an administrative role so I don’t have to do that anymore. But she’s in a quiet reading room.

I’m Faye Chadwell, the University Librarian and Press Director at Oregon State University and I want to welcome you and also thank you for coming out, it’s terrific to see a great crowd out here, we’re very proud to be launching the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archive at OSU and what better place than OSU to have the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archive for lots of reasons that Tiah’s going to talk about, I hope. I especially want to thank Tiah for the work that she did to pull this event off and pull it together (applause) and a big shout out also to my Executive Assistant, Ronda Hankins who also did a great job.

And I was thinking about, wow, it’s going to be a great night driving up here from Corvallis today because I got behind a Ninkasi truck and then I got next to a truck that had Fat Tire, they’re not an Oregon Beer but you know, it’s all beer, beer, beer. And I got to thinking this, growing up in North Carolina if you ask one of my four older brothers, what kind of beer do you want? Cold….and it’s like, okay, Faye you’ve come a really long way because you know and this is a shout out to my friend Dirk, life is too short to drink bad beer, even if it’s cold. Okay, turn it on Tiah…

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: Alright (applause) let me adjust the time next to this microphone because I’m really loud anyway so I’ll move back. Thank you all for coming. I have to say that I was preparing my list of thank you’s and I understand now why it is that if you’re at the academy awards like pretty soon they start the music so I will go through my list of thank you’s in a moment. But generally I want to thank you all for coming and say that community archiving in all of this is no small feat. The fact that you all are here shows me that it’s a really important thing to document. So I’m very excited to have a room full of people who know each other and who also don’t know each other so thank you for talking to your neighbor, thank you for introducing yourself to me and thank you for now coming to listen to our four great panelists.

The Hops and Brewing Archives is an infant in terms of archives. It was 9 months ago almost exactly that I came to this theatre and watched Peter, down there at the end talk with Tim Hills about hops and brewing history and it was near a week before that I thought hey let’s try to pitch this idea really starting a hops and brewing archives at OSU. So it’s all very, very new and it’s very cool to be back now in this same spot on the stage with Peter as part of this panel. It’s exciting in that sort of a round-about way that I love round-about ways.

So for those who don’t know exactly what OHBA (Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives) is, I hope that most of you do and that’s why you are here. But the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives is a collecting initiative so we do actually want stuff because that’s what archivists do. But it’s also community archiving project so it’s not just about us collecting stuff and putting it in a box, but it’s really about the dynamic energy that surrounds a culture and how you save that and that’s a tough thing. But I think it’s an engaged community that wants to save its story and tell its story so that’s why we’re here and that’s why I do what I do.

I, flip it over, my little cheat sheet, so special thanks, this is when my long list of thanks starts. Special thanks to the OSU Libraries and Press, we really do have a culture of innovation and creativity and support to have projects like this to be possible. Thanks to Rhonda, back there in the back, she was an amazing partner as we pulled all of this together. We had many meetings where we talked about food and we talked about posters and we talked about where we were going to have it and who we would have. So for those of you have done event planning the person who is with you in that planning process becomes your best friend on the planet. So thank you very much to Rhonda (applause). [00:05:07]

Thanks to Kyle who was our point of contact at McMenamin’s, I have to tell you he fielded a lot of questions from us and without him this wouldn’t have happened either. Thanks to Faye over there, I don’t know where Shan and Larry are, there’s Shan, there’s Larry, my boss, my boss’ boss, my bosses’ boss, boss, they supported me and supported all of us again, this is a group effort. It’s wonderful to work at a place where you can say hey let’s try this out and they say go for it.

Thanks to Betsy Hartley and the College of Agricultural Sciences for helping us to make this event possible, but also helping to have researchers like Daniel who are doing the research that makes this fabulous beer that you guys are all drinking right now, it’s wonderful to continue to have stuff to collect so for us that’s great.

Thanks to Patch my graphic design student who is not here tonight, which is a big bummer. But he’s been with me and this project since the very beginning, and he’s an undergrad and he’s designed everything that you’re seeing basically, he has learned perhaps the hard way of how to work with the customer because there have been times when I say I’d like something that feels like, so we can thank him, he’s in San Francisco having fun perhaps in the sun but he’s has really framed how OHBA looks and I think that’s an important thing.

Thanks to all my library and archive colleagues who had a really great attitude and rolled with it when I said that I wanted to investigate this and that I was looking into bringing in a whole lot of beer related things. Thanks to the Oregon Multicultural Archivist, Natalia Fernandez, who’s back there on the side and Karl McCreary, who’s back there, who just realized I said his name, for really helping me both as we build this collection but also at the last minute. Natalia was helping me fold the programs in half, Karl was helping set everything up so having colleagues that support you is a fabulous thing.

Thanks to Eric and Korey, where are Eric and Korey? There they are, Eric, Korey, and I are working on an OHBA stories project and we have you will see a taste of that at the end of this program tonight. We’ve talked a lot about saving stories, and I think having both really talented film maker and Korey with his creativity it’s wonderful to think about different ways that you can share stories and there are a lot of great ones to share and save.

Thanks to Brian Davis, who is not here tonight, he digitized all of the hop reports, the USDA Hop Reports which were on onion skin, which was not an easy thing to do and pneumatic tape, who here remembers pneumatic tapes? How cool people? Thank you, so pneumatic tapes, it was a challenge, it’s awesome, it’s a hops public service announcement.

Thanks to my interns Carly, Brian and Ian. There’s Brian and I don’t know where Ian is, there he is back there. Having interns is awesome and when you tell them they get to work on a beer project, they are really excited. They worked like crazy and did various and fun things and it’s invaluable to have them.

Thanks to the Portland Shuttle crew, we had a bus that brought all this stuff up and set everything up so thanks to Mike for both filming and driving. Thanks to my 10 year-old daughter, who is not here, she helped me make buttons on her spring break and made me pay her in Yogurt Extreme. Thanks to my husband who is now following me on Facebook because they told him that was how he should keep up.

Thanks to Karl over there in the corner, different Karl [Ockert], who started to brew many years ago for Bridgeport and has continued to contribute to the community and to the OHBA project he’s been an invaluable resource for me so I very much appreciate it.

Thanks to all of the members of this panel tonight, they are history makers and that’s pretty cool for our people who are involved in the history industry to get to be with people who are making history so thanks to all of them. I already said thank you to you Peter so I won’t say that again, thanks to Peter and thanks to all of the brewers who are here all the hop growers who are here all the community members who are here, it’s because you all keep caring that we have stuff to save, so thank you. [00:10:06]

Alright, that is the end of my thanks, everyone can take a breath, I like to point people out (applause).

So now is the transition to introduction point, so I can read about all four of these panelists more in length in the programs that are sitting in front of you, but in case you like me to read to you, but I will tell you a little about why I asked these people to be a part of this panel and what they will bring tonight. Each person will talk; it’s a varying format, so you have some people who are going to stand up here, some people who are going to sit down there but at the end the ideas for all you to ask questions. I have brought some questions but I’m sure you all will too. So this will become a dialogue at the end so remember your questions.

Peter [Kopp], down there at the end, would call himself a historian of the American West, but I would like to call him a Hops Historian which is how I introduce him to everyone. He has published and presented several papers on agriculture, labor tourism and the environment, and his current book project is tentatively called Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, so you probably guessed why he’s here. He’s an assistant professor at New Mexico State University where he also serves as the Director of the Public History Program and tonight he’s going to talk to you about how he’s used historical materials and why it’s important for us to save them.

John Foyston, there, second from me, has been writing about craft beer for a long time, documenting new talent, big issues in the industry and in our region. He writes for the Oregonian’s The Beer Here and says that Oregon brewers, publicans and beer drinkers are some of the best people he’s ever met. He began his beer writing career almost 20 years ago and provides for me and I think for all of us a really vital link in the history chain, just somebody writing about what’s going on we can all be living it, we have to have somebody writing about it, so John will talk about that.

Irene Firmat started her career in retail management in New York and worked as a buyer for the Meier and Frank department store for four years before co-founding Full Sail Brewing Company in 1987. In addition to business, finance and marketing she’s worked every job from the bottling line to filling kegs and yesterday also found out that Full Sail was named Craft Brewer of the Year by Beverage World Magazine for their 26 years (applause).

And I didn’t even tell you what they won it for, it does sound good. It is worth interrupting for applause and you can apply it again once I tell you what, sustainable stewardship quality consistency and operational ingenuity (applause).

Irene will talk about her work as a brewer in the early days, providing us with great perceptive when thinking about craft brewing history in Oregon and Daniel [Sharp] there, is a Ph.D. student in the OSU’s Food Science and Technology Department and he’s studies hops with Dr. Thomas Shellhammer in his lab. Daniel is a native Oregonian; he earned his BA from the UO and his MS from OSU. And tonight he’s going to talk to us about the fermentation program and his own research which is focused on developing a predictive model for hop aroma in finished beer, which, and this is my favorite quote, which he hopes to have completed before he is eligible to collect social security benefits. We’ve all hope that process of degrees come of it. So thank you all for coming, Peter is going to start us off, I will wake up the computer… [00:14:21.09]

Peter A. Kopp: Thanks, Tiah, can you hear me? Yes? Just a moment. Now can you hear me?

Tiah: I’m going to try to silence the speakers that are on. No, sorry.

PK: So this is my third talk at McMenamin’s to talk about hops so I feel like a veteran at this point (applause).

The coolest thing, the coolest thing is that everyone is always drinking beer so I’m like; I’m talking the same hop talk every time. So drink up because I’m going to give this one again later.

As Tiah said, I’m a hop historian, I accept this title, I love it. I’ve been doing research on Willamette Valley hop industry since 2007 and I want to thank Tiah for bringing this all together and thank you guys and all of you for having us here.

In the past talks I’ve given, remember I’m a veteran you might not remember me, I focused on the story that I call Hoptopia A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and in these talks I’ve explained the narrative the history of Oregon hop growing and beer making.

I talked about how the first commercial hop operations emerged in the Willamette Valley in the second half of the 19th century, hops are non-native crop to the region and so they were introduced by farmers seeking to make money.

I talked about how the environment was perfect for hop growing and within a few decades, Oregon became the hop capital of the world, or hop center of the world because it was so productive here we grew so many hops, in fact in the early 20th century farmers claim they live in the hop capital of the world because per acre they are producing more hops than anywhere else in the world.

I talked about how when you grow so many hops you need a lot of people to pick that hops, so there is a diverse labor force that picked crops, Chinese, Japanese, American Indians, African Americans, all contributed to picking hops, of course our central ingredient in beer and so a lot of people have touched this hops, touch the hops its history, perhaps maybe some of you have too.

I talked about the farmers, the multigenerational farmers, and here’s Gayle Goschie here the fifth generation, the third. But most hop growers are third to fifth and maybe even sixth generation in Oregon, so this is an enterprise that has been going on a really long time. This is all to say, by story of Hoptopia, we weave these narratives together which is a complex under-recognized part of Oregon’s past. But I’m not going to focus on the narrative today, I’m going to focus on the importance of OHBA, the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archive and how historians do our work in the archive and how we put these narratives together to maybe give you a sense of significance of what we’re up to and what Tiah and OSU are up to as well as give a sense of how this might be important for the future too.

Before I get going on that however, I have to tell you a story about how I got interested in hops. And that story goes like this. That’s not the story.

It was the summer of 2007 and I was a graduate student living out of the state and my dad had picked me up at the Portland airport. We were driving to his and my mom’s house in Aurora, of course, which is in Marion County, a half an hour south of Portland and I was in trained in Environmental Agriculture and History and I was really interested in the landscape of the Willamette Valley which is really one of the most important agricultural valleys in the world. And I saw grain fields and grow crops and nut orchards and fruit orchards and then just when we got to Aurora, I saw this agricultural phenomenon that I have never seen before and I said Dad, do you know what those are? He said, they’re hops, like for beer, and I was like huh.. that was pretty exciting to me, of course my father had trained me to appreciate the hop and craft beers but I had never known what hops looked like and they looked something like this and I’m sure we’re all familiar with them at this point and time. [00:20:07:04]

Long climbing vines, 20 feet tall, green cones hanging from top to bottom. Like I said it was this agricultural phenomenon that I’d never really seen before and I was pretty fascinated and I also was looking for a dissertation topic.

So that weekend I began some cursory research on this curious plant and I found out a lot rather quickly. Most amazing fact I found out was this. Commercial hop brewing occurs in only a few places in the world and the Pacific Northwest produces one-third of the world’s hops. In another words, one-out-of-three beers in the world are flavored and preserved with the hops from Oregon, Washington and Idaho, which is pretty remarkable, right? And I thought this could be a dissertation topic.

Now today a majority of the hops are grown in Washington, the Yakima Valley but the first half of the 20th century the Willamette Valley was indeed the hop capital of the world and this was the story I had to know more about and as I studied this history for the past seven years it’s open all kinds of new doors and ways of thinking about this.

As I said, I finished a doctoral dissertation in 2012 and now I’m working on this book and many of you have asked when it’s finished, when it’s going to be finished, I’d like to know too.

Early on in the research process, one of my mentors Bill Lang gave me some advice, he said really you’re asking two central questions, about hop growing in the Willamette Valley the history of hop growing, he said, why the Willamette Valley and why success and those are two research questions that I continue to pursue today.

As a historian of course, before I tried to engage in the archival research that makes up my narratives, I had to do a lot of secondary reading. I’ve read agricultural histories and business histories and labor histories, I’ve also read inter-disciplinary works, I read all about Oregon literature and you know there are these important moments in Oregon literature that the hop field is the central character. In one of them, in one of Oregon’s most celebrated books, H.L. Davis’ Honey in the Horn there’s some major scenes that unfold in the hop yards and this is not uncommon in the first half of the 20th century, the hop shows up everywhere so it’s an important part of culture is what I’m trying to say.

So I’ve read literary works, historical works, I also read scientific reports, stuff like Daniel produces, and frankly some I don’t understand, but I read it, trying to understand the history of the hop.

So all of this background that prepared me for work in the archive, except there is a big problem in doing archival work when you’re dealing with agricultural world topics, and the problem is this, the records often don’t exist.

Common farmers in the late 19th century and early 20th century didn’t keep family records or photographs and donate them to places like Oregon State University or historical society so that information is all scattered around. So part of my research program was finding out where this stuff was, where are the family records, where are the photographs, where are all the materials where that I could use to build this story. So this began the quest and this of course is the beautiful thing about the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archive, OHBA. [00:24:26:05]

What I had to do is get creative and hit the road from 2007 to 2012 I set up appointments across the Pacific Northwest to visit every library, museum and historical society that I could find that had material on the regional hop history and then I visited them and saw what they had in their collections. And just to give you an idea, I spent various amounts of time at the Oregon Historical Society, Oregon State University Libraries, University of Oregon Libraries, Washington State Historical Society, University of Washington Libraries, Marion County Historical Society, Benton County Historical Society, Lane County Historical Society, Polk County Historical Society, Independent Heritage Museum, Multnomah County Library, and so on, you get the picture. There was no one place with just a repository of hop farming, which I said three times already, was a major enterprise in the first half of the twentieth century and continues to be so in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

And this is how the Hoptopia story began to unfold with this background. It was in the manuscript records, photographs, government documents, scientific publications, booster programs, newspapers and oral histories where I discovered this very rich local history that no piece had been written about before.

But it was also in these documents where I found something else that the secondary literature the books written about hops didn’t quite tell us yet. And that is this, the story of Oregon’s hop history is not just a local story, in fact, it’s a global story at its very roots. The people from across the world that came, migrated to harvest hops to the migration of a non-native plant itself to the exchange of scientists from around the world that exchange ideas, germ plasma, from Russia to Australia, to South Africa, Mexico all these different places are part of the story. So what I’m trying to suggest in the book that I’m writing, the argument is that craft beer revolution that we’re celebrating in part tonight is the result of a complex agriculture history that passed through the fields of Multnomah Valley. That’s a topic for a different day. I’m going to stick to the archives for now.

I thought I’d just in a few minutes that I have left, I would tell you a little bit about what I found in these archives and how they can help us tell the story of what I call, Hoptopia. One of the major collections I first visited was the Washington State Historical Society in Tacoma which held the Ezra Meeker collection, does anybody know who Ezra Meeker is does that name sound familiar? Who is Ezra Meeker?

Audience Member

PK: Yeah, he was a, he’s most famous as a Washington pioneer, he spent the later half of his life basically celebrating pioneers in the Pacific Northwest, but he also introduced commercial hop agriculture in 1866 and Washington State Historical Society has his records. So here is Meeker later in life he grew out his hair and looked a little funkier, I think he changed. In the 1890’s he abandoned hop growing and he went to the Klondike to try to strike it rich. I think he lost his mind there. But this is a younger photograph of Meeker. So what’s in this collection, what are in the archives, what do historians do when we are accessing the archives and what are historians going to do when they’re visiting the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archive in the future. For one, this isn’t a great image but in the late 19th century, Ezra Meeker wrote the definitive work, first major work on hop growing in the Pacific Northwest. He told other, in this book, he told, which was called Hop Culture in the United States, he told hop growers how to plant their hops, how to prepare the mounds or the hills, how to fertilize, how hops are trained, these days to trellis systems, but in those days trained to TEMPER posts, so he’d tell you how to find posts and how to treat them, and all these different things and he also told you how to find labor because you need tons of hands to harvest hops. So all of this is made evident in his book and there’s many reasons that he published this book, number one, is to attract a better reputation for American hop growing, but number two, you’re not going to believe this, he was a major supplier of hop supplies. So he wanted more people to buy hop supplies. [00:29:18]

This didn’t translate well to the PC. Anyway, Ezra Meekers, an interesting tidbit, Ezra Meeker’s advice in the sparsely populated Pacific Northwest in the late 19th century was to find labor supplies that were abundant and this is just the time that American Indians were entering the cash economy as daily workers and so we see some photographs from Ezra Meeker collection here is the Indian camp. So these are some of the ideas that we look at from the beginning the hop harvest was a multicultural affair. It was also a segregated affair. This tells us a lot about the late 19th century as well. And in fact, the Indian camps that scattered the Puget Sound area and here the Indian Camps became tourist attractions. So people would travel around from even the East Coast to come see the Indian workers. Which is kind of remarkable too, which says a lot about culture in transportation and economy at that time. So this is just one example we could learn from small from just one photograph. Here you can see the hops in the distance and the Indian camp and maybe even some tourist up front.

One of the coolest things in the Ezra Meeker collection is his letterhead, I thought, it shows how professional he was here in the far west. Like I said, the sparsely populated far west you see the E. Meeker hop dealing and exporters, and it’s really quite beautiful this was the letterhead he used to sell his book. The letterhead he used to converse with buyers and sellers and laborers and various other people. You can see the professionalization of hop growing in the late 19th century.

Here is a letter that is part of his correspondence file to give you an idea of what else is in archives. This is a letter, I don’t know if you can read it, but it basically says, Mr. Meeker are you buying hops this year? I know a lot of people who would like to sell our hops to you. Because he was the center and he would sell these hops to England to San Francisco and other places. So these are the kinds of gems that let us know about the day-to-day life in business, cultural diversity just from one collection here at the Washington State Historical Society.

There are very rich photographic collections at a lot of the small historical societies around here, this is Benton County, this is Benton County Historical Society and I think Tiah is working with them to digitize a lot of the materials.

Tiah: The Oral Histories.

PK: The Oral History collection. So basically we get a lot of, we get a lot of images of people working in the hop yards as you can see here, and Tiah and I have talked about this, geez do we need another group of people with hop vines around their neck and silly things. But it actually tells us quite a bit and you can see here, you can date this picture by the nature of the technology the use of the temper posts so we know that this is a pre-1900 picture because by the first decade of the twentieth century people were using the trellis system that we are going to see later on.

So a lot of these images that we don’t look at closely can tell us a lot of detail, right? This is the image of a hop dryer, they call this an oast in England, it’s a pretty frequent crossword clue. O-A-S-T, you’re welcome.

These are really interesting, at one point, when this was the hop capital of the world you would see hop dryers or Oast houses everywhere, those have disappeared from the landscape. So in terms of architectural history we don’t have those anymore, in England these have been converted into houses and but in the Willamette Valley they weren’t repurposed so much we don’t see them. These were transformations on the landscapes and they would bring the hops in the top and the kilns underneath and they would dry them and that’s still how they do it today. So here’s an image from the Benton County that lets us know about the technology of drying.

This is from the Independence Heritage Museum that shows a person spraying the hops to prevent, with perhaps a pesticide or herbicide and at this point in time, you can see this is a trellis system by now, it’s not a temper post, we can date this a little later in the 20th century. [00:34:01]

Another question, what is he spraying? What’s he spraying on the hops and the answer is quite remarkable, nicotine, in part, where does that come from?

Say it again, tobacco.

This integrates the southern economy of tobacco and you use those resources to spray your fields but they also used a certain kind of wood from Latin America that was supposed to help protect the hops as well. So here you have again a global commodity exchange come to the fields of Willamette Valley. Just in terms of what they’re spraying this is in the records that I’ve looked at in the various hop growers and science program at OSU.

Let’s see, there’s all kinds of pictures that demonstrate the diversity of the laborers. In Independence Oregon alone the Willamette, mid-Willamette Valley, the harvest would take about 30,000 or 40,000 hop growers and pickers a year. So you can image a lot of people waiting for this 2-3 week season to pick hops and they have a very diverse labor force.

I’m going to speed up here.

At a certain point in time the hop harvest even became in the 1930’s a family affair, the middle class families from Portland would come and see it as a paid vacation. And here we see a family with their bicycles camping picking hops during the day making money, here picture.

But also by the 1930s the hop industry was so important that there was a special train, the Hops Special that ran from Portland to Independence and we can see here just the hustle and bustle. So another words, this is a way for us to think about hop picking was connected to the Industrial economy that’s just wasn’t a pre-industrial activity, this is definitely part of the industrial economy.

At Oregon State University where I spent a lot of time, they have all kinds of records and so in my mind this makes the most sense to have the Oregon Hops and Brewing archives at Oregon State. There are records from the Agriculture Extension from the Agricultural College that go back to about 1904, 1901, I believe. There are official reports that some stuff is digitized that Tiah mentioned. Unofficial reports from the hop breeders and other research programs, photographs, newspapers, scientific articles like Daniel and his cohorts are writing these days so this is the place to do this type of work and bring a lot of the archival research that I’ve done together and that’s a big deal. And now I have some remarks.

You like these photographs? I think they are kind of cool.

First I have to say I’m really jealous of this archive that’s emerging right now, it’s like 7 years too late for me, (laughter) but it’s pretty awesome still.

First, it will help us document Oregon hop and beer heritage. Heritage played a significant part of our state environment, social, cultural, economic and scientific histories. Second, it offers an opportunity to work with members of the hop and brewing communities, as Tiah mentioned earlier, with you tonight so we are working with communities to develop this archive which is really cool as a public historian. For us, it’s the most fun part, to talk with everyone. Third, the value of Oregon hop and brewing archive resides in its future. The fact of the matter is we live in the age of craft beer. A moment when local brewers and hop brewers have transformed drinking habits, not just in the Pacific Northwest but across the world. Over time, this will not be as fresh in the collective memory.

We’re preserving these materials because historians in the future might ask how they understand that transformation of beer culture. What role did Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest play in the way people drink beer locally and across the planet. It’s a question people might ask in the future and they might ask, why Willamette Valley, why success? We hope that we are collecting materials for research to answer their questions about this age that we live in, the age of beervana, and the age of Hoptopia, thank you (applause). [00:38:53]

Daniel Sharp: Alright, can you guys hear me?

Alright, so as Tiah mentioned I am a PhD student, with Dr. Thomas Shelhammer at Oregon State University. And so, Dr. Shellhammer is actually in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam right now, he actually slated to give his presentation, fulfilling his duties as the American Society of Brewing Chemists incoming president and also presenting some research.

Admittedly this is kind of a new venue for me usually I’m at professional conferences, scientific conferences, results or findings and as much as I get fired up about trend lines and principal component analyses and charts things like that tonight I’m really excited to talk to you guys about what is going on in a broader sense at Oregon State University in terms of research. Also, a little bit about what I do, what our lab does, how I got to what I’m doing today. And then also a little bit about the future at Oregon State University and Oregon beer in general.

So, check my cheat sheets here.

But I’d also like to focus a little bit on; I realize this is history and tradition of hops and beer in Oregon so I will talk a little bit about that. But also I will talk about how the history in combination of what is going on at Oregon State University; it’s shaping the future of not only, craft beer in Oregon but craft beer on a global market.

And finally, I’ll end my talk with this, I hope you walk away with this at the end of my talk, that Oregon makes great beer, I realize you guys probably already know this, but Oregon makes great beer, but this is no coincidence.

Many of the brewers creating great beer in the Pacific Northwest on a global scale or on a national scale can somehow trace their roots somehow back to Oregon State University or ultimately to the Pacific Northwest and Oregon hop growers, so I hope you walk away with that at least.

So, one of the great things about being a Ph.D. student is I get to sit around and think about beer all day long. Write about beer, read about beer, taste beer, smell beer, drink beer, deconstruct beer, put it back together, everything beer. Not going to lie, it’s pretty good.

But the other cool thing about being a Ph.D. science student, is I get to go to interesting places, and I get to philosophize about beer, that’s what doctor of philosophy PHD stands for. I wish someone would have told me that before I actually got into this thing before it was too late but Ph.D., I get to sit around and think about beer. It an abstract idea to think about beer, to think about hops and focusing on the minutia of the scientific details a bigger picture starts to come into focus it all starts to make sense.

Take this for example, it’s often said that beer is culture, an early breeder of human society. It’s directly connected to a civilization, whether that is agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, the arts, it is directly, culture is directly connected to what a society cultivates. And this memoir similarity culture and cultivation is not a coincidence we are what we collectively make and what does Oregon make? It makes a great beer.

So a little bit about my past, I spent my life in Oregon. I grew up in Oregon, something I’m really proud of, but just because I grew up in Oregon does not; I didn’t grow up in a place like Portland or Eugene something that has a great craft brewings scene. In fact, I grew up in a small depressed town, a vestige of Oregon’s great lumber industry. Post high school education wasn’t something that was for everybody in my time, in fact, most people they didn’t—couldn’t stand the small town life left, usually joined the military or most likely were lured to the decent wages in the loud, dusty, and often times dangerous lumber mills. I’m not trying to knock the lumber industry here because I worked in the lumber mills and I’m proud of that. The work that we did there was really hard, but also what was really hard to see the toll the lumber mills were taking on my world, Oregon’s world, we are what we collectively make, Oregon needed something more, I needed something more. I think that might be beer, it might be hops (applause).

So it’s not an accident the world looks to Oregon for great craft beer. Some of the most innovative craft beers especially when it comes to hops come out of Oregon. And as you’ve seen tonight and I’m sure you’re familiar with, there’s a rich connection between hops science and Oregon State University.

So Peter talked a little bit about the history, pre-prohibition Oregon was the hops central that wasn’t until about 1932 when downy mildew showed up and that’s the reason Oregon was such a great place to grow hops was because of the lack of disease pressure, in 1932 the US Department of Agriculture established a hop breeding program to deal with this, developing varieties with disease resistance.

Flash forward the nation is recovering from the effects of prohibition and the Hop Research Council is formed that’s a consortium of brewers, growers, directing research telling places like Oregon State University and other facilities what sort of research needs to be done in the industry. And finally it wasn’t until 1996 that the fermentation science program started at Oregon State University and that’s a big part because of craft brewing explosion, craft revolution that can be traced back to hops.

So I’m, like I said, I’m in Dr. Shellhamer lab and we focus on bringing science. A lot of beer and hops and there’s also a lot of things going on at Oregon State University besides just hops and brewing. There’s Pat Hayes’ group, he’s a barley geneticist, and he’s looking at developing new strains of barley that can be grown in Oregon taking the whole beer and bringing it and producing it in Oregon. And if you ever get the chance to see Pat Hayes talk it’s great and very entertaining and I’ll let him talk about what he does because sometimes I honestly don’t understand it either. [00:45:50]

Fred Stevens, in Hop and Health talks about hops and medicinal uses in the college of pharmacy at Oregon State University. And then we also worked really closely with the hop breeding crew, Dr. Shawn Townsend, John Henning and Dave Gent were geneticist’s, breeders, and pathologists. And what we try to do is support the hop breeders from and an experimental variety standpoint that is these guys are bringing in new hop varieties, hundreds of new hop varieties to us every year and we look at them, deconstruct them from a chemical standpoint looking at all the aroma properties and how they perform in beer with the ultimate goal of producing a commercial hop variety that will come out just like the famed Cascade hop by Dr. Al Haunold, he was responsible for some of these hops up here and the research that you saw from the earlier slides as well.

So apart from the experimental hop variety research that we do, most of the research that we focus on is hops and beer. And here’s just an example of some of the research projects that are going on most of it is on flavors, that could be anything from bitterness how hops contribute to bitterness what sort of chemical make-up of those hops, also the aroma, how they smell, not only how hops smell but how they smell in beer and how different practices in the brewing process can affect that. And I’ll talk a little bit about this in more detail coming up.

And a lot of our research is focused on combining tasting beer, so the sensory aspect of it, and the chemical and really mapping this together and see how it works.

So here is a really important research question, it’s not important.

Actually, so isohumulone, just to give you an idea, is one of a handful of bittering compounds important, in hops and a few years ago, maybe decades ago brewers came to the idea that isohumulone contributed to a unpleasant bitterness and there was a big divide and some of them thought it did and some of them it didn’t so we set out to answer this once and for all.

And, as it stands, still not for all. When you brew beers with a high amount of isohumulone and a low amount of isohumulone but keep the relative amounts of bittering compounds the same there really is no difference in the intensity of the bitterness. In fact, 65 brewers couldn’t tell the difference between the two beers. So that is one example of how we are studying bitterness.

But we also work with hop farmers looking at flavor and aroma hops and how harvesting can affect that. We work with growers, here in the room, that contribute to this study and as you can see, yeah, depending on when you pick things pick the hops they have a very different chemical profile. Some of these indicators up here geraniol, linalool, chameleon epoxides, don’t worry about those so much about those they are just basically indicators of hop aroma. And over time those are changing Cascade and Willamette hops.

Also, they make different beers make beers made with the hops harvested at different times are going to give you different aromas so in this case the later harvested hops have higher melon notes, of the typical harvested hops, apple apricot and peach aromas.

Alright this is a big topic dry hop. This is the process that gives all these IPAs and northwest pale ales their signature aromatic punch, basically its adding hops to finished beer and letting it sit for a while, kind of like making tea.

So we set out to look at two main important factors. One of those is whether its pellets for full hops you can see at the top and this was the answer to the question brewers often asked is which is better full cones or hops. We can’t actually say which is better but we can give you some information on how they perform.

But also whether recirculating those through a fermenter or a beer during the dry hop process improves the extraction. So the results from that as you can see linalool is just an indicator for hop aroma here you can see that overall pellets perform better they had a higher extraction rate. Whether they were stirred or passive but overall when they were stirred regardless of the hop type, cone or pellet performed better. But what is really interesting about this study is that within 48 hours the extraction process was nearly complete and its really common practice in the brewing industry that the dry hops for over 3 days sometimes up to 3 weeks so this is really saving some time, this can potentially save the brewer whole weeks on the brewing process.

So let’s talk a little bit about some research projects that we are doing. But obviously undergraduate education is a big part of what we do. Our program is exploding and that’s due in big part to the craft beer revolution. The undergraduate program is housed under the food science department at The College of Agriculture at OSU. We also offer professional non-credit brewing courses; these are courses that a brewer in the industry can take without having to get a four year degree continuing education sort of things. And then also we have a great pilot facility one of the things we emphasize in our undergraduate training in education is that every student gets to go through and use our brewery they get to formulate one recipe and brew a beer before their done. So it’s a pretty great hands-on experience.

Also, product development and innovations, as well as, research goes on in the brewery. So it’s just a chart of our undergraduate enrollment over the years and it’s clear it’s just going through the roof. The crazy number on this is that right now there are two maybe three four year institutions across the country that offer a program that Oregon State has. Next year that number is jumping to 30. [00:52:35]

So, I’d like to leave you with this, Oregon obviously makes a great craft beer and that’s because of the hops because of the brewers it’s because of the craft brewing revolution. Wherever I go internationally, brewers are telling me you guys make great beer. Germany has a long tradition of making great beer long traditions, deep in their history. And Oregon’s history is relatively short to that but even the Germans are telling me that you guys make great beer. Let’s keep it that way. This is Oregon’s future. Thanks (applause).

Irene Firmat: Twenty seven years ago actually of historic interest to anyone. I think for me as well as for many of us that started our breweries back in the 1980’s what we were trying to bring back was something that we had seen in our travels and that sense of quality of life that is so deep and runs and interacts with agriculture and family and friends that for me personally that I saw in Europe for many of us that we did and bringing back that sense of quality beer that matters it’s not all about quantity, it’s not all about marketing. But that there is very deep sense of enjoyed life that slows it down makes it richer, deeper and better. And for somebody who loves beer and seeing what that could be like that was really was my driving force for starting wholesale. And I would say from knowing all us older brewers from the 80s that was a real drive for us we wanted a change in American beer culture, American’s respect for beer, and I’m very proud of having been part of a group of people who did do that. One of the main perspectives that’s really interesting to see it in context of where the United States was when we started our breweries.

Wholesale started in September 1987 at that point there were 3 Starbucks in the United States. People really did drink coffee out of cans and Folgers was a brand. I think not only to coffee chains but food chains, bread chains, pasta chains, wine chains, we became as Americans, I think, much, more seeking in quality experiences about food, caring much more about authenticity and where and who was making products that we consume.

I think we were very fortunate early on to be part of that trend and I think it’s something that for me I’ve always believed early on very difficult to convince anybody to invest. Nobody invested, if you saw any of our early breweries, they were pretty constructions there wasn’t a lot of financial interest in it. And the story I would tell back then and the story I still tell now when people say, oh it’s just a fad, I will always say, it’s a deep, deep trend what we’ve done here in the United States about craft beer is really reaching out to people and saying things can be better you can enjoy something deeply and that connection comes at the strongest place for us the hop growers the favorite fact that I do all year long is take people our distributors, our retailers, our consumers to the hop fields during harvest. And I think that’s where the magic connection really happens with people about this stuff with beer, where they all of sudden understand this is deep this is roots, this is something that’s not just about bikini babes and how cold can it get but about a culture and a history and a celebration of life that really is what craft beer, I think absolutely celebrates and we love to celebrate with hop growers it’s really one of the pleasures we endure (applause). [00:56:53]

John Foyston: I just want to remind people how well these guys did. In 1978, there were maybe 60 brewers in the U.S. there’s now, the recent count, is 3,700 we passed Germany at least 12 years ago. They’ve done a pretty good job, these brewers, bless their hearts. And I’ve had a lovely time covering the stories. When I first took the job [at the Oregonian] people were wondering if I’d have enough to write about, yeah, yeah I have enough to write about and more. These days it’s like, I feel like it’s hard to keep up but it’s a wonderful culture and some of the best people I’ve ever known. And certainly the best beer. Cheers, Cheers (applause).

Tiah: Alright, so who has a burning question?

Tiah: Yes,

Audience Member: I have a question for Peter.

Tiah: Alright.

Audience Member: So Peter in your presentation you had mentioned that in addition to many of the libraries and the historical places that you visited, one of the things you said, oral traditions and oral heritage is that in your travels, was that something you went out and pursued yourself or whether it was digitized?

Tiah: The question is about oral histories that he encountered or oral histories that were digitized.

Peter Kopp: So there was one, can you hear me? Is this one on?

There was one collection of oral histories completed at Benton County Historical Society by a woman named Katherine Hudson Cooler in the early 1980’s and that’s it. So for 150 year history of hop growing in the region we didn’t have a lot of oral history. We actually did an oral history with John early today for the record it was 2 ½ hours without a beer.

Tiah: He had lots of water.

Peter Kopp: And that was mean of us. The idea is that we donate these oral histories and then we have them on record and transcribe so people can use these as primary resources for the research too. So very early on actually, Karl [Ockert] gave the very first oral history that I ever did it’s was really busy, Karl is over here, it was really busy at Bridgeport that day it was in a pub and I recorded and I got a lot of great information and it was busy but it was loud in the pub so you can’t hear. Karl, I’ve got to talk to you again. But so I went out and I basically set up who I wanted to talk to. I mentioned and Tiah also mentioned Gayle Goschie her folks, I did an oral histories with them several years ago, and I think I’ve done 10 or 15 oral histories that I’ll donate to the OHBA collection in the next few years, Tiah and I are going to continue to do oral histories and contribute them to the archives, does that answer your question? Thank you. [01:00:32]

Tiah: Questions, Questions? Yes, back there, striped shirt?

Audience Member: Daniel - of all the scientific data that you took, how was learning contributed to breweries in the [?]

Daniel Sharp: So all the stuff that I showed up on the screen is being published or has been published in scientific journals. So there are some of them you need to be a member of, but there definitely available through OSU libraries all the publications available through OSU libraries. Or if you want more information email me.

Audience Member: Do you think brewers actually read those journals?

Daniel Sharp: I think some of them do, and but we also in addition to those journals, we go to the like [?] go to a lot of presentations and try to get this information out there, we are not in the business of writing, well I’m not, maybe Tom is obviously writing books, but getting that information out there in books are more accessible information sources. We also get offers coming to us and asking for [?] secondary sources as well.

Karen Zimmermann (OSU Extension Communications: Also, the College of Agricultural Sciences puts out a research magazine, called Oregon’s Agricultural Progress Magazine, you can subscribe for free or its online at oregonprogress.oregonstate.edu where a lot of this research is published in laymen’s terms.

Tiah: I think the amazing thing about OSU in addition to the science that Daniel was talking about is what Karen was talking about the extension services, being part of a land grant school, it really is our mission to push that content out and I have been, I didn’t know a whole lot when I started and I think it’s amazing to me how approachable these scientists are, so I think that’s, I think I just lost everything, we just lost that irritating hum, there’s got to be somebody applauding. So I think the approachability and the translation that happens at all different levels at OSU makes the hard science really understandable and applicable. Yeah?

Audience Member: What is the status of organic hop growing right now?

Daniel Sharp [?]: There are growers that are doing organic hop growing.

Audience Member: It is possible?

Daniel Sharp [?]: Yeah, there are certified organic hop growing

Panelist [?]: It’s harder to do organic hops here, they do a lot of organic hops in New Zealand because of has a natural existence there, so a lot of organic hops comes from New Zealand, but Gayle [Goschie] is growing organic hops.

Tiah: Up there, I see, hello.

Audience Member: I have a daughter interested in the fermentation science, Biochemistry, what other components of the curriculum should I talk to her about?

Daniel Sharp: So the fermentation science curriculum really is a fusion of a lot of the hard sciences, our undergraduate students go through general chem, o-chem, they have acute biochemistry courses, also some general food and microbiology courses and those often and some a little bit engineering courses as well. And those all culminate with the green science and eventually the green analytics course and that’s? there are options in ?

Tiah: I have my own question? I see your hand up there. I’m going to ask one question. John, you talked a lot about your stories downstairs, we did oral history downstairs. What’s one of the stories of the things that you were reminded of today in your time documenting craft brewing in this industry, what was something that you would want to share that you either told us or reminded of as you decompressed and were not on film, so now I’m asking you, you’re on film?

John Foyston: It was just starting up from zero. Starting as a, I grew up drinking Olympia with the occasional [?] Guinness Stout, which we thought was unbelievably exotic, and so when I got the gig to write about craft beer, because I said that is what we needed to do, write about [?] I started to talk to brewers, Colt [?], and they were unbelievable, they wanted you to try their beer, they wanted you to know their story, they wanted you to understand the culture. I said it several times, it’s the most welcoming thing I ever did. The first story I wrote was Fred Bowman [?] teaching me how to properly pour a Bavarian Ice Beer [?] at Portland Brewing and I’m sure the next story I wrote was sitting down with Karl in the pub talking about this beer, and that new beer, they were just not sure it was going to sell, what’s the name of Pale Ale, nobody ever heard of that. It’s been as I say; the beer is great the people are better.

Tiah: There was a hand up there that I ignored.

Audience Member: The late part of the 19th century, I was reading records of what bridals were used.

Panel: Clusters and Fuggles.

Audience Member: Is that it?

Panelist: For the most part. [?]

Audience Member: I wonder if Irene could address what it was like in 1987 to enter the beer and brewing industry as a woman.

Irene Firmat: You know I didn’t think about it a lot and I think that is sort of what made it work. And one of the pieces of advice I always give to the women who work for me or women in the industry is never go into a situation expecting a negative response because if you expected a negative response or skepticism or whatever, you definitely get it. If you just go in there really kind of matter of fact and do your job really well and with respect to the people you’re working with, it’s worked for me, I believe it works for the woman that work at wholesale and for women that I’ve worked with in the industry. I think one of the interesting parts though about women and beer is that so much of the spotlight goes into the women brewers and those are great and there wonderful but there are so many women in the beer industry that really shape the direction of craft beer in ways that are very high impact. Right now we are in McMenamin’s and [?] marketing is a woman [?] who is an absolute wonderful and she has had probably more impact in how we look at craft beer than just about anybody in Oregon. And we don’t celebrate those women, [?] and I think that’s an important part to talk about as well to. The best part you go to beer conference, you don’t have to wait for the bathroom (applause). [01:09:15]

Audience Member: So for all four panelists, what’s the best beer you’ve had recently? (laughter)

Panelist: One in hand.

Panelist: I was going to say, for me, it’s usually the third one.

Irene Firmat: Actually, going back to the hop fields, when we do the hop harvest we usually bring out a beer, and we brought out a beer of Cascade [?], that celebrates cascade hops and right now that beer for me is my favorite beer. I think it’s a beautiful balance of sophisticated beer, an Oregon hop that just really celebrates how far we’ve come in brewing.

Tiah: Okay, question closest to me.

Audience Member: John, this is really more of a request than a question. You have been here practically since the beginning; you’ve interviewed almost everybody that’s been in the industry [?] we need a book from you. Historical, biographical of all the characters that you’ve met in this industry because you among all of us [?]

John Foyston: Remember when they gave Mick Jagger a million dollars for his autobiography and he had to give it back because he couldn’t remember? He was not a beer drinker that I know. Yeah, I should, I should. It’s what I used to tell my stepdad too.

Audience Member: I have a question about the archives. It seems to be [?]

Tiah: No, I agree. I’ve actually been to the state archives and looked at the OLCC records right after prohibition was repelled. There were literally three guys in the room trying to figure out what to do. And the meeting, they were meeting every 3-4 days trying to figure out how they were going to regulate all these people. That’s not the case now. Thank you. Yes, back there standing up.

Audience Member: So, I wanted to ask about the archives, what in particular are you going to say to this, looking at prohibition, what kinds of materials are you looking for? Are you looking for stuff that is current, stuff that is from beginning of craft beer, what all do you want from the archives, and how does one go about submitting things to the archives, what materials are you most needing and how does one go about submitting them?

Tiah: So my intentional cagey answer is to say yes to all of those things. My also pretty cagey answer is to say, it’s whatever you think reports this time period. The things that we are most in need of documentation wise, we do have pretty strong hop records, hop research records so not that those aren’t important, and not that we wouldn’t want to collect records from growers but the research side we kind of got that covered just because of where we are. The craft brewing side, I think it’s both the records of the industry the businesses themselves and that can be lots of different things. That can be business records that can be brewsheets, that could be coaster, that could be label art lots of different things come together to show evidence of that business so whatever you would think of that would be a business record would be something that we would want. But it’s not just the businesses; it’s also the supporting communities. There are entire tours that are around craft brewing, there are oral histories to be had. There are events to be documented so there are lots of different supporting communities in a way that have formed around craft brewing so it’s, I can give you lots of specifics and then it would be likely that would say, but what if x, y or z and I would say, yes, that too. The easiest way to talk to me about what we would like and how to get it to us would be to talk directly to me. Archivists are really comfortable putting things in boxes which is not to say that we want everything physical that we can put in a box, we’ve kind of got that down. But that is not the only place that records are being produced and the history is being recorded. So all the multiple ways that you live your life and kind of leave your mark as both drinkers and brewers and growers those are all the ways that we would document a movement. Yeah.

Audience Member: A question about your courses you have at Oregon State, April, May and September you mentioned the history of brewing, is that true. If you go back to Henry Weinhard and the history of Oregon brewing.

Tiah: For now, so the question is about the time scope for brewing. And the interesting thing about Oregon brewing is that prohibition happened earlier here, in Corvallis it happened really early. And so there was a big long dry spell and the pre-prohibition was pretty active and there are actually historical societies, Oregon Historical Society, smaller historical societies that have already collected some of those materials, so in a way, I don’t feel the same pressure to save those stories because a lot of people already have them, it’s not to say we wouldn’t take pre-prohibition, but we are really seeing this need to document a lot of the people that are sitting in this room that we are making history 30 years ago. So I can draw an arbitrary timeline and say like 1978 but that’s somewhat arbitrary and somewhat not, because that’s when the whole brewing started. But, yeah I think it’s a long history, it’s this most recent one that we are most anxious to document. Yes, center? [01:16:59]

Audience Member: Hi, that was great. One of my questions is about documenting ? Some of the genealogy of some of the more modern breweries that are here. I know a number are related essentially to wholesale and Irene. Is that a part of the process as well?

Tiah: Sure, I think that the thing that surprises me most over the last nine months is just that it is a lot of talking to a lot of people and figuring out those family trees. So yeah. I kind of always joke that it’s more than a family tree it’s more like a mangled up web. Yes so piecing that out I think that’s a real testament to the community itself that it’s very supportive and so they are mentoring the next generation. Is that a fair statement coming out of your experience?

Irene Firmat: I think there are nine breweries Hood River right now and they’ve all worked for us. We had the governor out to Hood River about a year ago because Hood River really is kind of an economic miracle which is a wonderful thing for anybody who was there 25-30 years ago and he referred to us as an incubator. Up there with Nike, I’ll live with that one.

Audience Member: I’m visiting from the Spokane area and we just recently established the Inn at Northwest Beer Trail as a tourist attraction. It might get some state dollars in funding behind it. What sort of other celebrated culture and the sense of place might you see growing as a regional tourist attraction?

Irene Firmat: I think that parts huge. I’m on the Oregon Brewers Guild board and worked on the whole branding project and working with Travel Oregon and Oregon Tourism. I’m actually speaking at the end of April at the Oregon Tourism Conference. I think craft beer and wine makers here but we totally beat out wineries for the reason people come to Oregon. Applause. I think our [?] breweries that celebrate and work with. I think our breweries are located in these amazing beautiful parts of Oregon that the more we can integrate tourism and the breweries is a really strong healthy future for craft beer in Oregon tourism.

Audience Member: So a lot of this is about the commercial side of brewing and I’m just starting out as a home brewer myself, is there anything in the archives for a home brewing which is pretty strong in Oregon.

Tiah: We have talked about that. We’ve also early on, Larry and I had these conversations about limits and I don’t necessarily like them but at the same time I think right now we’re primarily focused on craft brewers as an actual commercial entity but to split the two of them apart is impossible to tease them out is impossible and you have things like the Oregon Brew Crew which essentially became the, the support network so I think it’s impossible to tease them out the same way that it’s impossible to tease out the work that’s done in OSU research labs from the work that Gayle does at OSU farms. So I think it would be, it’s an okay limit but it’s definitely one that is open for negotiation. Alright one last question, and then everyone can get up and stretch and we are going to show a couple of videos.

Audience Member: From a sales pitch standpoint, where is the archives

Tiah: Those are a lot of questions. So here’s the side story is that I always ask multi-part questions, really long ones and when I’m asked them I realize how hard they are. He’s asking a very practical question so the answer is the archives is an actual thing that we do have things in boxes. Those boxes are kept in the OSU Library Special Collections and Archives Research Center which is in the Valley Library in Corvallis, OSU campus. It’s either on the third floor or fifth floor but the reference desk is on the fifth floor. It’s open to the public, Monday through Friday, 8:30-5:00. What was the…there was a funding question. OSU Libraries is funded project, it’s my job. I work with the libraries. They contribute records and that’s not to say they will never contribute but at this point it’s me. Alright, everybody stand up, stretch get a beverage if you’d like (applause).

Eric Buist: I’m Eric Buist I’m the executive producer for Hopstories and we’re basically sharing the stories of Oregon craft beer for video and we’re doing what we love I guess. We’re benefiting the ? to call brewers and say hey we’d like to hang out with you for a day and share your story. So we’ve done eight so far and you can see them at hop stories.com and follow us on twitter at hop stories and check us out on Facebook as well.


Return to Main Page