Bierly Brewing: Cheers to Mac's latest gluten-free producer
JP Bierly hoped to be the first gluten-free brewery in McMinnville, where he’s lived since graduating from Linfield College in 2002.
When looking for a location to launch Bierly Brewery — pronounced “Beer-ly” — he found a sweetheart rental deal at Eats & Treats, a dedicated gluten-free café in Philomath. He set up shop, planning to spend three years building his brand there before returning to Mac. But, JP couldn’t keep up with demand, outgrowing the space after only two years.
Now, he’s moved into the building formally occupied by Angie’s Kitchen, 214 N.E. 11th Street, directly behind Carlton Cyderworks’ Slake House. But, he did had to settle with being the second McMinnville brewery dedicated to gluten-free brews — Evasion opened in 2017.
With Bierly Brewing’s arrival, McMinnville joins Portland as the only cities in America with two dedicated gluten-free breweries. According to bestglutenfreebeers.com, there are currently just 10 such operations on the books. To the best of website editor Lindsi Kay’s knowledge, “New ones [are] coming, but only 10 are operational at this time.”
Like most in his profession, Bierly started out as a home brewer. He did so as a hobby to enjoy with his now current father-in-law. He switched to gluten-free brewing in 2010 after being diagnosed with celiac disease — his wife has been diagnosed her whole life. The switch turned out positive for his body and his taste buds: “I liked it better.”
Gluten-free brewing eliminates the more common grains — barley, wheat, rye, oats — and replaces them with millet, sorghum, various rices, buckwheat, quinoa and others. The fermentation process differs, too. It requires the addition of enzymes to turn starch into sugar which converts yeast into alcohol — gluten grains have natural enzyme activity, while the alternatives do not.
Bierly currently offers two commercial beers: Felix Pils and Amber IPA. Both can be found in bottles at Harvest Fresh. The latter is on tap at Pura Vida Cocina in McMinnville; it’s also available at markets in Corvallis, Portland and Ashland. With the additional production space and a new 90-gallon tank, Bierly plans to expand into more new outlets soon.
Past beers include Citra Pale and Beyond the Pale (a blend of Felix and Citra), and Dubbel, a collaboration with Moonshrimp Brewing in Portland. Bierly makes several seasonals and new recipes are in the works for his tasting room at the same location. A friend who designs theater stages is helping with the concept, utilizing homages from his family’s farm in Beaverton. There will be a small menu reflecting the Bierly’s German heritage, including sausage plates and gluten-free pretzels. He also will sell hop soda made in house with hops grown in his backyard.
Bierly is planning a late fall opening for the tasting room, all ages until 5 p.m. To start, the brewery will be open Saturdays only. For updates
and more information, visit bierlybrewing.com.