BREAKING: Wayfinder Has Brewed Beer

It's been a year since the inner Southeast brewpub first announced it would open, and they had not yet made their own beer.

(Emily Joan Greene)

Wayfinder has made beer, Willamette Week has learned.

Its own beer. On its own tanks. Just Wayfinder brewer Kevin Davey, some barley, some hops, some water and some yeast.

"Yup, fired it up last Thursday," co-owner Charlie Devereux said when reached via a computer messaging device. "Helles, then Pils and Vienna to follow."

It's about damned time.

Last April, the Mercury reported that Wayfinder was "a few weeks" from opening. The brewpub in the building that formerly housed Branx didn't actually open until October. And even then, there's been no house-brewed beer because of a series of equipment snafus and red tape.

Instead, Davey has done an endless series of collaboration beers all over town. Now, finally, we get to try his own stuff. This is a cause for celebration, as Davey's impressive résumé includes a stop at Chuckanut, the standout lagerhaus in Bellingham, Wash.

Wayfinder has done a pretty good job as a restaurant, but it's the beer that will ultimately catapult the operation to the top of the local beer scene or not.

Aside from a few standouts in Oregon like the Heater Allen beers, Gold Beach Lager and Pfriem Pils—and, in Portland, Upright's Engelberg Pilsner, WW's 2015 Beer of the Year—our city is lacking great local lagers. Around the country, lager-focused craft breweries like Chuckanut have thrived, becoming staples at restaurants where chefs want clean, unhoppy beers that still have some character to pair with their food.

How good are Davey's lagers? They're not on tap yet, but we'll know in just a few weeks—for real this time.

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