Microbrewing entrepreneurs and enthusiasts are attracted to Camas and Washougal

Brewing local flavor

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Three local breweries are creating some excitement among area beer drinkers.

Rail Side Brewing, Ltd., provides assorted beers in Washougal

Mike and Anka Davis opened Rail Side Brewing, Ltd., in August 2012.

It includes a brewery with a seven-barrel system and a tasting room.

The Davises located Rail Side at 421 “C” St., Unit B, in the Parkers Landing business development, off of state Route 14, in an effort to attract people traveling to and from the Columbia River Gorge for recreation.

“It started a little slow,” Mike said. “The business is growing. There is a lot of interest in our beer.”

Rail Side was the first brewery to locate in the Camas-Washougal area.

“We had a really warm reception,” Mike said. “There have been consistent regulars.”

He enjoys brewing the beer and meeting the customers.

“They appreciate the beer,” Anka said.

Mike’s interest in brewing beer started at the age of 19.

Now 37, he is brewing beer with railroad-inspired names, such as Trestle NW IPA, Rail Side Pale Ale and Hopper Car IPA. Other options are One 10 Wheat (German-style beer), Rail Side English style IPA, pilsners, stouts, PO 9 Lager and Rail Side Cherry Stout.

Wine is also available. Non-alcohol options include lemonade, Coke, Sprite and water. Rail Side is open to customers of all ages.

The food selection includes soups, sandwiches and pizzas, as well as sausage and sour cabbage made by Anka, who is from Poland. Her specialties also include country style chicken pate with kielbasa and cheddar cheese.

The decor includes a train signal light brought in by a customer. The light had been used in Eastern Germany before the Berlin Wall was torn down. Customers have also brought in another signal light and a piece of railroad track.

Rail Side’s community involvement has included donating kegs for tournaments at Orchard Hills Golf Club, in Washougal, as well as for the beer garden at the “Weaving in Washougal” (Pendleton Woolen Mill centennial) celebration in August 2012. The company has also contributed beverages for an event in Portland to benefit Raphael House, which provides resources for individuals affected by domestic violence.

Rail Side was among the locations recently for “Suds for Sight,” a 4-mile pub run/walk that benefitted the Washougal Lions Foundation to purchase eye care items. Other Suds sites were Amnesia Brewing, A Beer at a Time, Big Foot Inn, The Landing Bar & Grill and OurBar.

Mike would like to see more promotion of the local breweries.

“There needs to be more awareness that things are going on here,” he said.

“Amnesia brought awareness,” Mike added. “It is a name that people recognized.”

In March, Rail Side was a vendor at the Spring Beer and Wine Fest at the Oregon Convention Center. The Davises also plan to participate in “Vancouver Brewfest USA” in August.

Rail Side works with Big River Distributors, of Washougal, which has made their beer available at area restaurants such as 360 Pizzeria, Tommy O’s Pacific Rim Bistro and Pizza Schmizza.

The Davises plan to add 200 more square feet to the tasting room by converting former office space and adding tables. There is also the potential of adding outdoor seating.

Mill City Brew Werks opens in downtown Camas

Mark Zech recently took part in the ceremonial ribbon cutting of his restaurant and brewery, in downtown Camas.

His wife Francisca, business partner Walt LeDoux and head chef Erin LeDoux were also there, sharing in the excitement with Downtown Camas Association Program Coordinator Brenda Schallberger and board members, as well as Camas Mayor Scott Higgins and city councilors Shannon Turk and Steve Hogan.

The opening day crowds had been steady, according to Mark.

His previous endeavor, Washougal Brewing Co. LLC, started in March 2012 with a two-barrel pilot system in the Zechs’ garage.

“We searched for a place for a long time,” Mark said, during the grand opening festivities at 339 N.E. Cedar St. “We fell in love with the building — especially after I found out it has a basement.”

The brewery (approximately 5,000 square feet) is located in the basement. It is a 10-barrel brewhouse.

Alpha Ale IPA, Fromudder Milk Stout (Nitro), P St. Citra Pale Ale, PG-13 Nelson Hop IPA, Zech Family Bavarian Hefe, Genesis Cream Porter, Sister Ana’s Scottish Ale and Red Beard IRA were on tap for the grand opening.

Fish and chips, chicken wings, wedge salads and a variety of burgers (including lamb) are among the food options. A children’s menu is also available.

In addition to beer, Mill City serves wine, Coke products, tea and Paper Tiger Coffee Roasters coffee.

Amnesia Brewing expands to Washougal

A new 15-barrel brewing system began production in March, at 1834 Main St., in downtown Washougal.

It was a month after a tasting room opened at the 5,500-square-foot site.

The brewery is expected to produce up to 6,000 barrels of beer a year.

The tasting room serves Amnesia crafted beers, pizza bread, salad and a variety of sandwiches for customers 21 and older. They recently added barbecue options from Clay’s Smokehouse Grill to the menu.

A window separates the bar area from the back, making the brewery highly visible.

Beer options include “Kill Switch” IPA, Amnesia ESB and Dusty Trail Pale Ale.

Kevin King and his wife, Kristina, opened Amnesia Brewing at 832 N. Beech St., in Portland, in 2003.