I am occasionally asked why I write many of my food and beverage pieces in the first person. If you remember what you learned in your English classes, you know the first person is me, second person is you and third person is them — loosely speaking, anyway. Editorial or news writing nearly always uses the clinically detached third-person, which is great for dry news reporting but not so much for colorful food and beverage writing. Dining and drinking are totally subjective — they’re personal and variable, unique to every person, able to evoke emotions from contentment to exultation. What we do around a table is too subjective, too social, too human to parse dispassionately. It’s much easier to convey enthusiasm when I can inject my own genuine passion into a brew piece. And I have a personal story about Evasion Brewing Co. — it’s just a small story but it’s much easier to tell if I write in the first person. My introduction to Evasion Brewing was to rate an Evasion beer. I was tasting beer with a group of friends — most of us were taking notes. Up against half-a-dozen other brews, the Evasion bottle held its own, receiving a high rating. The cool part? I had no idea it was a gluten-free brew. As innovation and creativity go, Oregon has both in spades. That’s why we’re so good at producing some of the globe’s best wines and brews. Evasion Brewing Co. and Bierly Brewing, both in McMinnville, and Portland’s Groundbreaker Brewery & Gastropub and Moonshrimp Brewing (see linked stories for Bierly, Groundbreaker; and Moonshrimp) stand at the forefront of the innovation and vision Oregon brewers demonstrate so well. And returning to the social nature of the matter, Evasion Brewing Co. was inspired by the relational aspect of dining and drinking. “Our extended family had always gathered to eat and drink,” said Erik Lapp, Evasion’s founder. Over the years, Erik said around half of his extended family had been diagnosed with varying levels of gluten intolerance, diminishing an important aspect of the clan’s fellowship. “I wanted to create a beer that everyone could enjoy,” Erik said. “I wanted to restore some of the family camaraderie I missed.” Erik was well on his way to success when his mission suddenly took an even more personal turn. “I, myself, had been sick for a long time but no one knew why,” said Erik. “I hadn’t considered that I was also gluten-intolerant.” His efforts and research had educated Erik on the many aspects of food allergies and he was struck by an epiphany: what if he had his own sensitivities to certain foods? “As soon as I cut allergy foods out of my diet, I was fine,” Erik said. “It really was as simple as that.”
His drive renewed, Erik and his family built Evasion Brewing Co., a dedicated gluten-free facility producing innovative brews that can compete against the best standard craft beers. Using millet, buckwheat, rice and oats, Evasion’s brew master, Ben Acord, offers up popular standards like Evasion’s Hophoria IPA, Blonde Ale and Tantamount Stout along with seasonals like Belgian Dark Strong, Hoptensity DIPA and Total Eclipse Of The Tart. “Millet can be a great flavor substitute for barley,” Erik said. Evasion also offers special bottlings like Grandpa’s Nap Barrel-Aged Millet Wine (see Super Brews, page 8) and the remarkable Yamhill Punch Barrel-Aged Farmhouse Ale. Erik knows predictability is important to satisfying customers. “We believe consistency is key,” he said. Erik said Evasion’s commitment to high quality brews — often involving exhaustive experimentation on the part of the brew master — is paying off. “It’s really rewarding to walk into another brewery and see our gluten-free product displayed side-by-side with their own beers,” Erik said. “They feel our quality equals their own quality and want to provide their customers with different options.” Evasion brewing Co. is located behind the steel mill at 4230 N.E. Riverside Drive, Unit B, McMinnville, Oregon 97128. Call (503) 835-5322 or visit evasionbrewing.com for more information. The tasting room is open Saturdays from 2 to 7 p.m. or by appointment. Evasion products are available in selected Whole Foods, New Seasons and Market of Choice stores and other specialty retailers and bottle shops. “We’re working on getting our products in all of them,” said Erik. Coming full-circle, the best aspect of nourishment and refreshment is its innate humanness. We’re relational creatures so there’s really no better place to meet our needs for fellowship than a shared table. It’s difficult to convey such a subjective concept in the clinical third person but, hey, I think it’s way more interesting when the personal parts are allowed to come alive.
Note: This story originally appeared in Oregon Beer Growler and on its web site.