David and his partners have strong roots in the Northwest and in Northwest brewing. After falling in love with French, Belgian and German brewing styles in college in the mid 1980’s, he started to look at what was going on locally.
“Microbreweries and brewpubs were just opening up and the beer wasn’t always great but it was always interesting. I was excited and knew immediately that I wanted to open a brewery.”
As David visited more breweries and sampled their ales, the idea of Awesome Ales bloomed and grew. It wasn’t long before he began to brew at home, learning the process and gaining valuable experience.
In 1995, he got his first professional brewing job with McMenamins. Three years later, he and fellow brewer Mike Hogan opened the Snake and Weasel, a Celebrator Beer News Top Ale House and renowned music venue. The club hosted national and local acts such as Andrew Bird, Yonder Mountain String Band and Jerry Joseph. The following grew each week.
Since closing the Snake and Weasel, David has continued working in the Oregon craft beer industry, keeping his finger on the pulse of brewing trends worldwide. He brewed at Astoria Brewing, Oregon Trail, Three Creeks, and worked for a local distributor.
For all the talk of the craft beer bubble bursting, the reality is that the demand for craft beers continues to outstrip the supply.
For this venture, David is determined to focus on what brought him here: the beer.
“The similarity between now and then is the idea of tenant brewing,” Dave says. He likes the idea of making the most of existing systems. “It allows us to work independently of certain financial pressures, collaborate with breweries that have the capacity, and to offer them an extra revenue stream.”
There is a green facet to both gypsy/tenant brewing as well. “Through cooperation and maximization, we create a smaller carbon footprint than we would in operating a separate facility, from heating water and running lights to shipments of grain and hops.” Sharing equipment is an innovative way to approach manufacturing while creating a tighter community. “In a few years, when we start approaching the sixteen-hundred barrel mark, I would like to build a brewery that will have the capacity to give other brewers the chance to get their start.”
Since 2013, Awesome Ales has been leading the Gypsy/Tenant brewing revolution in Oregon, producing a draft-only product distributed throughout Oregon. Moving into its third full year of business, Awesome Ales is now ready to launch its next phase, which includes the bottling of all its core products, a continuation of the seasonal program, and the establishment of the Asher David Artisan Ale Project. This will be the next evolutionary step in the transformation of Awesome Ales into a full-blown Artisan Farmhouse Brewery/B&B/Gathering Space. Since its founding in 2013, Awesome Ales has produced and sold over 1000 bbls of beer (over 31000 gallons). Over the past couple of years, Awesome Ales has developed a solid following, a strong account base of pubs and restaurants in the following areas: Portland metro, Corvallis/Eugene, Salem, Bend, Hood River, and other cities throughout the state.
Although the process has been gradual, Awesome has been building a robust distribution network, and there is a clear plan and solid timeline with the long-term goal of building a destination brewery. The vision embodies the tenets of David’s brewing philosophy and revives the Snake and Weasel’s alternative feel.
Launching a destination brewery and gathering place is a huge undertaking. Accomplishing that organically takes patience and dedication, the same qualities necessary in creating handcrafted, bottle-conditioned, artisanal beers. While adhering to the gypsy/tenant model Awesome will establish a tasting room and initiate a barrel-aging program. These projects, along with the bottling, will put Awesome Ales at the center of the Northwest brewing community.
Southern Sky – Pale Ale
- Our Biere de Oregon, Southern Sky is the marriage of a French Biere de Garde and a Bohemian Pilsner, with certain Oregon sensibilities. Effervescent and nicely-bodied with moderate hopping that transforms across the tongue into a very dry finish.
- 5.8 %ABV 38 IBU
Awesome IPA – The 419
- Sip this. An updated classic Northwest IPA with a light body and heavy hops. The use of six different hops gives this a well-rounded hop quality with grapefruit and tangerine notes.
- 6.9% ABV 80 IBU
Red House – IRA
- A modern take on a folksy beer. The traditional chestnut red beer with a northwest kick of hops. Inspired by Greg Browns song “Not High”: “I’m not high, but I will be if you stop by,” A beer you can wrap your arms around for days on end.
- ABV 6.4% 48 IBU
Spike Driver – American Strong Ale
- Named after the legendary John Henry, the steel drivin’ man. This strong ale is garnet red with a creamy white head. As perfectly balanced as the head of a sledgehammer, the malts and hops blend to make a drinkable strong ale void of the cloying sweetness found in some other brands. Notes of plum, raisin and currant.
- 7.9% ABV 74 IBU
O’ Sweet Mama Stout
- Influenced by a line from the song Deep Ellum Blues. A traditional oatmeal stout with a rich chocolate malt flavor, a medium body and a strong finish.
- Set for December 2015 release.
- ABV 6.2% IBU 40
- Color Black (opaque)
Seasonal Releases and One-Offs
- Saison du Hoyt – Summer Saison I (Late spring 2015 Marionberry)
- Peppar deux Hoyt – Summer Saison II (Summer 2015 Rye w/ Pink & Black Peppercorn)
- Inebriated Phrunken Elf – Russian Imperial Stout w/ Brett Trois (Winter 2015)
Upcoming Awesome Ales Seasonal Releases and One-Offs
- Imperial IPA (may become part of core lineup) – (Early Spring)
- Dry-hopped ISA (w/rye) (Summer)
- Fresh Hop Pale (Late Summer/Fall)
- Cranberry Biere de Garde (Fall)
- Imperial Red (Winter)
- Barley Wine (Winter- Late late winter)
AND NOW FOR THE EXCITING NEW PROJECT:
THE ASHER DAVID ARTISAN ALE PROJECT
Beers in Planning – (All small-batch, bottle-conditioned limited editions)
Biere de Garde (160 cases brewed twice annually)
- Golden, smooth, easy. Aged three months on French Oak.
- 6.8% ABV 20 IBU
Farmhouse Red (Biere de Amber) (120 cases brewed twice annually)
- Slight biscuit notes. Up to 30% Belgian sugar. Aged three months on American oak.
- 7.2% ABV 35 IBU
Imperial Biere de Garde (100 cases)
- With 20% wheat and juniper berries. Aged six months on wood, including 30% in fresh gin barrels.
- 8.9% ABV 40 IBU
American Farmhouse Dubbel (100 cases)
- With special B malt, Demerara sugar and molasses. With hints of raisin, currant and apricot. Aged six months on wood (20% bourbon barrel, 20% pinot barrel, 60% French and American oak).
- 9.8% ABV 45 IBU
Biere de Harvest (80 cases)
- A unique barrel-fermented beer with fresh hops, cofermented with apple and pear cider. A cornucopia of harvest flavor.
- 8% ABV 56 IBU
Biere de Fete (Holiday ale) (80 cases)
- With 10% cranberry. A dry, effervescent beer worthy of a holiday celebration. Aged nine months on wood.
- 11% ABV 50 IBU
- Is green
- Exists no particular place but in many places at the same time
- We are a Gypsy & Tenant brand
- We utilize the extra capacity in our friends’ breweries, giving us a place in the market with much less capitalization while providing our friends with an additional revenue stream for their business
- We collaborate and innovate
- We share resources so there’s less stress on the environment
- We look for ways to operate more efficiently
- We believe in the triple bottom line concept (people, planet, profit)
Founder/Head Brewer/Director of Brewing Operations
- With twenty-plus years in the Northwest brewing scene, as brewer, bar owner, director of brewing operations, distribution sales, David brings a wealth of information, knowledge and passion to his role as founder of Awesome Ales.