Eugene, Oregon … Freehand Brewery, the newest addition to Eugene’s thriving beer scene, began selling its beer to retail establishments in early October. Freehand is the first residential commercial brewery in the city, working on a small scale in a former artists’ studio to produce saison-centric and barrel aged beers with Northwest and organic ingredients.
On Thursday, October 18, Freehand will have its debut event at The Bier Stein Bottleshop & Pub (1591 Willamette St., Eugene). They will introduce the first three bottle conditioned beers, Saison/Melee; Saison/Forte; and Staves/Rippie (more info below), with free samples and the option to purchase a small cheese plate to pair with a flight.
Founder and brewer Tyrone Reitman honed his technique with Belgian yeasts and barrel aging as a homebrewer. “It’s a passion for integrating craft beer with the local food movement,” he says about starting a commercial brewery. “We brew beers that reflect a passion for farmhouse beers with local ingredients. Brewers, bakers, coconut ice-cream makers, it’s part of being in a community that values culinary creativity. That’s why we brew. It’s the desire to create fun and interesting beers to share with people.”
Freehand will produce a handful of different beer “series,” (Melee, Forte, Staves, etc.) each with flavor parameters that can evolve with the seasons or brewer’s inspiration from batch to batch. Some of the barrel-aged, blended beers will pay homage to Flanders Red Ales, while others will be golden sours, or play with local fruit. Bottle conditioning is central to the flavor profile and texture of the beers, and any draught beer produced will also be naturally carbonated.
Freehand is currently distributing in the Eugene-Springfield area, with plans to expand to Corvallis, Salem, and Portland in the coming months.
Saison / Melee
Bright, hoppy, vivid
Melee is a spirited marriage between Saison and IPA, with a pinch of fun from the local bees. Suited for pairings, parties, and other playful occasions, Melee offers a diverse palate plenty to ponder. It highlights the hard work of Willamette Valley bees, and is hopped generously with Magnum, Cascade and Citra.
Batch 1 (Summer 2018) | 7.1% abv
Saison / Forte
Mixed grain, golden, cellar worthy
Forte is where guile meets grist. As a strong golden Saison, Forte’s mixed grains, careful balance, and long maturation provide it with a classic Belgian character. Brewed to be drunk fresh or cellared in the dark, Forte is meant to be savored slowly (and sometimes shared). Highlighting the beauty of organic pilsner malt paired with Salmon-Safe Cascade hops grown in the Willamette Valley.
Batch 1 (Summer 2018) | 9.0% abv
Staves / Rippie
Barrel-aged, wild pale ale
Staves is a series of seasonally rotating hop-centric, barrel-aged, Brettanomyces finished farmhouse-ales. And while that sentence was a mouthful, the ale in this bottle is always a pleasant surprise. “Rippie,” our first in the Staves Series, features a grist of organic pilsner and pale malts, along with a pinch of rye and wheat, and is hopped exclusively with Oregon-grown Cascade hops. After primary fermentation, Rippie spent a while co-mingling in a fresh barrel with various strains of Brettanomyces before undergoing an additional fermentation in the bottle.
Batch 1 (Summer 2018) | 6.6% abv
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Freehand Brewing & Blending—informed by tradition, dedicated to the present, and inspired from one batch to the next. Founded in 2018, we are a small, Saison-centric brewery that strongly emphasizes local, brews with the seasons, and barrel ages and blends as often as we can.