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It's all Organic at the HUB - Hopworks Urban Brewery

by Grant McOmie

Bio | Email | Follow: @KGWNews

kgw.com

Posted on April 24, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:35 PM

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Most weeks, Grant McOmie travels into the great Oregon outdoors to find unique adventures but not so this week.

Instead, he's found his way into the heart of Portland where the natural world is alive and well.

WATCH VIDEO VERSION

Grant visits a unique eco-pub where sustainability is king and where reduce, reuse and recycle provide the foundation of a thriving new business called the "HUB - Hopworks Urban Brewery."

It's called the "HUB" and it's a neighborhood hit where standing room only is the rule on most nights.

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Folks come from all over to SE Portland's 29th and Powell to sip a brew, dine with friends and relax in the knowledge that things are different in the newest neighborhood eco-pub.

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Keri Rose, a neighbor and regular customer, explained: "It's amazing beer that's organically brewed, plus really friendly people and I think you get something uniquely Portland. I think the HUB speaks to all of us who are really oriented toward that way of life."

The HUB is an eco-Pub and it's a first on the SE Portland brew scene that's built upon the practices of sustainability, organic ingredients and eco-friendly ideas.

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The business is the brainchild of Christian Ettinger, the HUB's Brewmaster (he has fourteen years experience brewing beer,) and alongside his dad, Roy Ettinger, (a veteran architect of forty years experience) the team co-designed the nearly 17,000 square foot eco-pub.

Both agree that the 1948 building they selected for the HUB, once a diesel fuel depot and a former Caterpillar Tractor showroom, wasn't always warm or inviting.

"Oh no, not at all," noted the elder Ettinger. " It was full of dust, you couldn't lean on anything because you'd get black soot on you. There were
tons of wires strung on the ceiling ...just 43 years of decay and dust and it was that greasy, grime."

Christian quickly added, "We turned what was 60 years of a business into piles of material that were to be either recycled or shredded into fuel or reused."

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The deconstruction took over a year an a half to complete - but they salvaged every bit of material from the old building - the first step in walking the talk of creating a sustainable brewery and restaurant where reduce, reuse and recycle is an everyday business.

Christian noted that the bones of the building, the old growth doug fir posts, beams and planks were solid, substantial and deserved new life.

The old wood became the booths, bar and other varied pieces of furnishings in the HUB.

And then there is Christian's signature statement; scores of bike frames and old wheel rims that were incorporated above the bar and the booths of his pub.

"Every one of these frames was recycled and I'm only about 300 bucks into this - and it really sets the bar apart from anyplace around."

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Downstairs, you could say the same thing about the HUB's brewery where pesticide-free and fertilizer-free ingredients are staples of the 10 crafted organic beers that the HUB produces each week.

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In the kitchen, organic ingredients take center stage too - from pizza dough to the sauces to the sandwiches with all the trimmings and more.

In fact, even the heat from the pizza oven is recycled and circulated to heat the heat the pub's water.

"That's free heat," said Christian. "Free heat is free energy and lowers our bills but it also lowers our needs to bring in fossil fuels."

Lionne Decker, the HUB's General Manager, is quick to point out that the entire HUB team walks the talk of taking care of the environment and making customers smile at the same time.

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It starts with a commitment to the environment, a commitment to what you're putting on the plate, what you're putting in the pint. Really, it's a
commitment to leaving the world a better place. It's amazing! It really is."

It's amazing adventure that may keep you coming back for more - built upon a philosophy worth living.

The Hub is one of just three Oregon breweries - out of 80 statewide - that have made the move to produce all organic beer.

So, of course the folks who work at the HUB are eager to share and explain all of the different ways that they walk the talk of sustainability.

So stop in and enjoy a beer and strike up a conversation! The folks at HUB will be pleased to tell their story - it's that sort of place.

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