ForeLand Beer has been open in McMinnville for less than a year and already its founder is launching a Portland taproom.
Sean Burke, who left Von Ebert Brewing’s Glendoveer location to launch his own brand in September 2020, announced this week that he would be opening a ForeLand outpost at 2511 SE Belmont St. The New School beer blog was first to report the news.
The new Belmont location—built as a single-family home in 1913—used to hold the Rocking Frog Cafe, which quietly closed at the end of last year.
Renovations should get underway within the next month, although Burke plans to keep many of the features that led to the overall library-meets-sitting room charm, including built-in bookshelves and a brick fireplace. That means the taphouse transition should be a fairly quick turnaround, with a potential fall opening date.
“We are very excited to begin work on our new Portland taproom,” Burke tells WW. “We feel like this is a great way for people to get to try more of our beers on tap in a unique setting. By having a spot that has a different look and feel than our McMinnville taproom and patio, we hope that we can offer an environment that has its own draw and allure.”
Burke has long had an admirable reputation in Portland’s beer scene. He served as head brewer at the Commons, which was known as one of the city’s best producers of farmhouse ales before closing in 2017. Burke also held the role of head brewer at Von Ebert’s Glendoveer location, where its blending program was focused.
In addition to winning awards at the highly prestigious Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup, Burke was honored again just this past May, when ForeLand nabbed the title of Best New Brewery at the WW-sponsored Oregon Beer Awards.
Burke came full circle when he departed Von Ebert to start his own operation. While first organizing the building that was once Allegory Brewing, he came across stacks of barrels from the Commons, many still bearing his handwriting.
Some of those vessels will continue to be used, since ForeLand is going to focus on wine-beer hybrids. He’ll have other styles on tap, including a crisp Italian Pils that’s ideal for hot days and Shape Creation, a classic West Coast IPA.
Launching during the pandemic had its challenges, but unlike many breweries he didn’t have to worry about packaging tanks full of tap-ready beer. Instead, Burke started canning before serving people in person.
“We built it not having the pivot,” he explains. “Our pivot will be ‘Gee, we have to do draft at some point.’ Given my choice, that’s not what I wanted to do, but I got to learn really quickly.”