Newport's best brewery isn't even officially open yet.
At least, that's the word on the street in the coastal town perhaps best known in the beer world as the world headquarters for Rogue. Earlier this year, Newport Brewing Company topped the Newport News Times' Best of Newport poll as the business with the most outstanding craft beer—guess handing out samples to drum up attention does pay off.
But the brewery, set to open in early July, does deserve the hype.
Not only is it just a short walk up from the historic bayfront district, making it a prime location for tourists and locals alike, the man who will be overseeing production took home a gold in the hazy IPA category at the Great American Beer Festival in 2018.
Owner Brodie Becksted says Sam Zermeño, who came from Black Market Brewing in Temecula, Calif., was the 26th brewer he interviewed for the job. He'll be working on a 15-barrel, custom-made Portland Kettle Works system, making more of those top-quality hazys, a traditional flagship IPA and a wonderfully fruited, complex gose with raspberry and hibiscus. You can also expect a robust lagering program.
Becksted, a lifelong Newport resident and real estate developer, says he saw a hole in the city's brewing scene and wanted to do something completely new. The result is a sleek, industrial chrome-accented space with 20 taps and extraordinarily detailed nautical touches, like the sprawling orange octopus mural on a side wall along with an oversized anchor covered in barnacles that looks like it's ripping through the front of the building.
There's even a personal TV screen at each table, in case you'd rather watch the game than compare tasting notes. In all, the 5,000-square-foot location seats 80 inside and more can be accommodated on the patio. The restaurant, known as the Anchor, will serve a full menu with coastal favorites, including fish tacos and fish and chips.
Unlike many breweries, which start out small and grow to meet demand, the business is hitting the ground running. Becksted expects to remove a hill behind the property later this year to make way for a canning line, at least a half-dozen more tanks and 800 square feet of cold storage. He says they'll self-distribute initially, but plan to sign with a larger company to get the product to customers throughout Oregon, Washington and Northern California.
During Memorial Day Weekend, the brewhouse was just being installed and Zermeño was expected to start pumping out batches in the weeks to come.