New Brewpub: Hobo Brewing

The Oregon Brewers Guild lists 30 breweries operating in the Portland area. In a few months, Brian Butenschoen is going to have to update the number: Oregon's newest brewery is in the works in the former location of Noble Rot on 28th and SE Ankeny. (The picture at right, courtesy of, shows the building as occupied by Noble Rot.)

Serendipity sent me by the future Hobo Brewing yesterday as Kiley Hoyt and Elan Walsky were puttering around out front. I was attracted by the three jugs of yeast visible through the open door (you can see them in the picture below). Sure enough: yeast. Kiley and Elan are recent graduates of Siebel, and they met at Steinbart's before deciding to open shop together.

Hobo will be a microbrewery in the old sense--3.5 to five barrels. For the moment, Hobo only occupies the bottom floor, but they hope to be able to expand to the second floor in the future. I think I caught them pretty early in the process; they seem to be in full R&D mode, just exploring the types of beer they'll brew. I had a follow-up question about the name, and Kiley said in her email this morning that they were up until midnight brewing. Call it the elbow grease stage.

One nugget on the beer front: Elan suggested a maple IPA may be in the works when I asked about beer styles. (Maple IPA, you ask? Kiley's from Vermont. For those of you who have seen the sugarhouses dotting the countryside of the Green Mountain state, this is no surprise. On one of my trips to New England to visit Sally's family, I was inspired to brew a maple stout. Maple's in the air out there.)

The name of the brewery is born of the times. Kiley emailed this description:
"It was just something that made sense. The company was born only last year and hearing and seeing all the struggling going on due to the tough economic times (I myself was laid off), we chose the name Hobo. A hobo continues through life relying solely on the the support of others--friends, family, and strangers alike...We want to have a place where people can stop by during their travels, feel at home, enjoy their stay, and not break the bank."
This is perfectly consonant with the neighborhood, which has long been the center of Portland's communal vibe. You can probably catch Kiley and Elan at the brewery--especially on sunny days when the door will be open--and welcome them to the neighborhood. They are personable and welcoming, and seemed genuinely thankful for the interest people expressed.

I'll keep you updated as they progress toward opening. Right now they're shooting for summer.