The origin of brewing in southern Oregon is a lively tale of mid-nineteenth-century gold rushes, brawling German immigrants, irrepressible women and hometown pride. In the boomtown of Jacksonville, two pioneering brewers competed to quench the thirst of miners and ranchers, and soon breweries began popping up elsewhere.
But as railroads spread across the West, they brought rival beer brands with them, and the onset of Prohibition stifled the industry altogether. Yet resourceful Oregonians continued to cultivate hops, and by the turn of the twenty-first century, small-town brewers like Caldera Brewing Company in Ashland and Climate City Brewery in Grants Pass were once again stepping into the spotlight.
Author Phil Busse, longtime Oregon journalist, traces the pioneering spirit of southern Oregon's first brewers to today.
Phil Busse is a Wisconsin-raised and Oregon-based writer. After graduating from Middlebury College in Vermont, he started his writing career with San Francisco Weekly.
He has written for Eugene Weekly and helped start the Portland Mercury, where he was managing editor.
Phil is the executive director for the Media Institute for Social Change and is the publisher and editor for the Rogue Valley Messenger, which provides news, entertainment and, yes, beer reviews to southern Oregon.