When Portland-based Brewery 26 announced online that it was closing its taproom this month, the news didn’t mean the business was closing up shop entirely.
Unlike the typical pandemic-era notice from others in the hospitality industry, the brewery was simply letting its social media followers know that a move was underway.
Founder Andrew Shaw tells WW that since the lease is up on the taproom at the corner of Southeast Powell Boulevard and 59th Avenue, he and his business partner/brother-in-lawe Keith Hattori Jr. have decided not to renew.
“It’s kept us afloat the last two years, but [business] has gotten much slower the last several months,” Shaw says. “We’re trying to work with a potential party to take the space over to keep it a neighborhood taproom.”
Brewery 26 is now headed about 4.5 miles away to the Buckman neighborhood. The new taproom, located at 818 SE Ankeny St., could have a soft opening before the end of the month if all of the permits are approved in a timely manner.
Once operational, the interior should remind you of an earlier era, when finding breweries tucked away in a city’s industrial fringes was like getting let in on an industrial secret. Taprooms were simple, but functional, and often shared square footage with the fermenters—there was typically no room or budget to tuck equipment out of sight in another building.
“The space is a bit of a throwback to older brewery taprooms where you really felt like you’re in the brewery,” says Shaw. “It’s an open space with the tanks and brewhouse as a definite focal point.”
The brewhouse you’ll be admiring over a pint is also new, a 7-barrel system. Beyond that, there is room for 40 seats inside along with space for 30 to 40 in the front driveway. Shaw plans to install a covered area outside, but that likely won’t be up for the opening weekend.
Appropriately, Brewery 26′s taproom is equipped with 26 taps—two nitro and two or three reserved for ciders. Fourteen to 16 of those handles should be pouring house beer by the time the first customers walk through the door.
Shaw says getting to the Ankeny location has been a drawn-out, arduous process that began pre-pandemic, but he’s relieved to finally be close to settling into the brewery’s next home.
“We originally signed the lease in February 2020, so this has been an incredibly long and painful journey to get to this point,” he explains. “COVID really wrecked our plans, as well as so many others. We’re a bit amazed we’ve survived to now and can’t wait to have people in our new space.”