Oregon State Penitentiary

It has been a couple of long months for me putting up with a lot of jabs about the REALOregon group planning to tour the Oregon State Penitentiary. It was my own fault. When the kids were little, I not only threatened them with jail time if they did not fasten their seat belts each and every time they were in a car, I specifically stated (many hundreds of times) that IF they were thrown in jail, I would not bail them out. I even threatened my own Mother once when she conveniently forgot to buckle up, she was appalled that I would not bail her out of jail. Continue reading

Northwest Transplants

Quality and uniformity of the seedlings for the customer is priority for Northwest Transplants located in Molalla in Clackamas County. The REALOregon had the chance to see the operation on our tour day of agricultural businesses.

Customers of the business contract to have their vegetable, herb, ornamental seeds grown. The farm is in charge of planting the seeds in trays and germinating the seeds in a specialized germination room before moving the seedlings into greenhouses for the duration of their stay at the farm. Continue reading

On To The Brewery

Rogue Nation is a complex series of businesses from their own farms, to the cooperage, the distillery, storage warehouses and the final building in the saga that houses the beginning of this conglomerate, the brewery, along with the pub and and restaurant. It is like juggling liquid filled balls of different sizes, textures and volumes with a whole lot of sloshing going on (my analogy, not necessarily the views of Rogue management).

Our tours of visiting the wharf and getting to see the workings of Rogue Nation led to a long, rainy day ending with our evening meal at the Rogue Restaurant. To get to the pub and restaurant, visitors stroll through the massive brew tanks following the yellow paint around the bends and curves of each station in the brewery to the back of the building until the eateries can be found. And here the pub is on the bottom floor while the restaurant is on the top floor.  It is important to note that the restrooms are located right near the front door as one enters and not anywhere near the back of the building for those of you who had been traveling but have no urgent need to ‘rest’ when you first walk in the door and want to see the excitement of the big, brewing stills before taking a break. In my humble opinion, you should ‘rest’ first (again, this are my thoughts not necessarily the views of Rogue management, but I was rather uncomfortable finding my way back down the staircase, through the pub and gift shop, and trailing along the yellow painted path and simply want to save you the same despair).

The warehouse is complex in layout. This comes from the nature of this small, homespun business growing each year with the need to expand as they increase sales,  require more equipment, get into new techniques, and invent new varieties of brewed beers, ales and spirits.

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Putting The Barrels To Use

The REALOregon group got to see the details of barrel making from the beginning staves to the charring stage. With a productive day being only one completed barrel a day, the operation is only a fraction of the supply needed for the Rogue Nation Distillery. The augmented supply is another innovation to use wood purchased in the State and to be able to try out different species of wood to flavor the spirits.

The stills themselves come in a variety of shapes, sizes from gallon to 550 gallon, and also come from locations from all over the world. Some were purchased new, some WWII era, while others were cobbled together out of bits and pieces. New recipes and specialty batches can be distilled one gallon at a time to test the viability of the mix before using the monster still for large batches.

The stills are busy in an attempt to keep the warehouse stocked with full barrels as the spirits age and mature with the flavors. The mild coastal weather of the Newport area is a comfortable climate for the varieties to rest during the months and years needed for the process as their website describes:

Our World Class gins and whiskeys are crafted from ingredients grown on Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley and Independence, Oregon. Fresh picked, Rogue Farms-grown cucumbers and botanicals are found in our gins and Rogue Farms-grown barley and rye in our whiskeys. Distilled in a 550-gallon copper Vendome still, our whiskeys are aged in oak barrels that breathe the cool, moist Pacific air.

During our tour, the question came up about the barrels and how Rogue kept them from leaking if one happened to have a small flaw in the stave. There are two answers. The first answer is to leave it be, a very small leak will cause the wood to swell as the moisture soaks into the wood and the natural sugar in the spirits dry and seal the leak from the inside. Most small leaks seal themselves with only a few dried drops staining the outside of the barrel to show the process. For those leaks that do not seal themselves a smearing of warmed bee wax is the ticket. Rogue does not use polymers in the barrel itself or in the sealing of leaks.

Walking into the barrel house where the filled barrels are  warehoused, the rows and rows of stacked spirits is an astounding site. While the warehouse looks full at this moment, the stills are churning out more product each day as the public demand looks for new and innovative tastes to tickle the pallet.

Since mrssusanschmidlin.wordpress.com is nearly out of data, the complete story can be found at SchmidlinAngusFarms.com. I encourage you to check it out, get your information in on the FOLLOW button spot, and get every story in full color. I would be grateful if you did want to do any cyber shopping to use my links on the stories on that site. By using my links, I get credit for directing people to shop and may make a small commission without any cost to you! Your support helps support the website to be available for the daily stories. Thank you for supporting SchmidlinAngusFarms.com

 

Rolling Thunder

This post is going to be out of the normal order of posts for those who are familiar with my writing. This story is about a side business of the Rogue Brewery and Distillery that has been growing throughout the Northwest, this business is building the barrels for the distillery part of Rogue Nation. I promise I will return with later posts to fill you in on the brewery itself and the spirits that they are producing.

A little about the cooperage. First I had to search for a meaning, I found the definition of the word as; The word on its own is derived from Middle Low German; it simply means “barrel.” But just about anything that the cooper creates is referred to by the name coopering. The shop where he works is often called a “cooperage.”

From Rogue Nation website:

In 2015, Rogue acquired vintage French WWII-era coopering equipment and built Rolling Thunder Barrel Works. Longtime employee Nate Linquist was tapped to be Rogue’s first cooper and spent a year and a half apprenticing, learning the ancient art of barrel making.Using Oregon Oak, Nate assembles, raises, toasts, chars, hoops, heads, hoops again, cauterizes, sands and brands each barrel, one at a time, all by hand. At full capacity, he makes one barrel a day.
One barrel a day is a long, slow, multi-faceted, and heat-filled process that takes the Cooper through a circuit of different machines to complete a finished product. Buying a new barrel is an option for the company at a price tag of about $600 each, but procuring the local wood and using local craftsmen at their own facility is worth much more to them then the price of a purchased barrel.Rolling Thunder is also experimenting with various woods of the Northwest to determine the subtle  nuances in flavor the wood imparts to the various spirits they produce. Hardwoods such as cherry and maple are just a few of the woods they are testing but that also is a long process since it takes months to years to decades for the filled barrels resting in the storeroom to season as the essence of the wood infiltrates the liquid inside.The Oregon company has come a long way from the first brewing days over 30 years ago,

The Revolution began in 1988 in the basement of the first Rogue Public House on Lithia Creek in Ashland, Ore. where American Amber Ale and Oregon Golden quickly became popular brews. Before long, our founder Jack Joyce was looking for a second location.

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Newport Maritime Museum

The weather prohibited our Dock Walk that had been scheduled for the REALOregon group while we were in Newport and plans were changed at last minute to accompany our large number while we were enjoying our fantastic lunch at the Local Ocean eatery.

It just so happens that our hostess for the lunch, Laura Anderson, is one of those people that is very committed to her community and is connected to many businesses and venues across the area with her outside interests. Because of her work with the Maritime Museum in town, she went out of her way to get the museum opened up just for our group to have an area out of the elements to learn some of the history of the once home, now museum. Laura gave us a personal tour of just some of the exhibits with history of the fishing fleet that run the economy of this coastal town. The exhibits around the coastal fleet, the economy of the area, and the different fisheries were extensive and informative. Continue reading

Local Ocean, Newport

I don’t usually do restaurant reviews but the REALOregon group had a real treat during the Newport session and I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit to this eatery and share the wonderful experience with my readers.

The encounter happened on the day of our tours of the businesses of and around the dock at Newport, Oregon. I may have mentioned that the weather was downright atrocious. Our group of 29 classmates, with our entourage of keepers, was resplendent in layers of foul weather gear and still damp and cold when we huddled inside what first appears as a small, unassuming cafe with a fish case in the middle of it, right on the wharf. What we found when we got inside was a cozy restaurant that let to an open upstairs area that could fit at least two groups of our size along with the downstairs area. We had plenty of room to unwrap some of the layers and get comfortable around the room with a wall of windows that looked right out into bay where more than 100 of the crabbing and fishing fleet docked. Continue reading