Dave Logsdon

Bottles of Logsdon Farmhouse Ale’s Szech ‘n Brett saison have just hit the shelves. The name is a double riff on Logsdon’s Great American Beer Fest award-winning Peche ‘n Brett in that it A) has Szechuan peppers in it for spicing and B) at 6.5 percent ABV, it’s more “session” (say the name out loud) strength compared to the sour peach beer’s 10 percent alcohol. Also of note: The first beer made using the farmhouse brewery’s cool ship—a shallow vessel intended to activate spontaneous fermentation by beckoning voracious, wild microorganisms floating through the air—is getting ready for its debut at the SoLog Festival this Saturday. The event is a collaboration between two breweries, the other being Solera, located higher up on the quiet, peaceful slopes of the Hood River Valley. Not that things are so serene these days at David Logsdon’s brewery, situated on his own family farm.

Logsdon says he’s been “looking at several different options on the table,” referring to the news that caused a stir among local beer supporters on July 31. That’s the day founding partner and head brewer Chuck Porter announced his departure and the brewery was misreported as having been sold. “That was never the case,” says Logsdon over the phone. He outlined that he and his family of partners, some of whom are actual cousins, will retain majority ownership. For his part, Logsdon will cash in on two breweries this year thanks to the Full Sail sale from its group of employee owners to a California-based private equity firm. He’d been Full Sail’s original brewmaster when it launched in 1987 before co-founding Wyeast Labs a year later, also in Hood River. Now, four years after forming his eponymous brewery, he’s limiting his involvement to a part-time basis. “My position was to step back,” explains Logsdon. “I have just retired from full time work.” Having said that, he intends to help grow the brand, most likely with additional partners associated with Uptown Market—the bottle shop, homebrew supply shop, and brewery on the Portland/Beaverton border that just opened a second store in Lake Oswego. “It’s not a done deal yet,” cautions Logsdon. “Things are left on the table to be worked out.” As such, don’t look for Logsdon Seizoen Bretta rolling out of the suburban brewing facility any time soon, if at all.

As for how the world-famous farmhouse brewery (at least beer-world-famous) may come to partner with an even smaller, lesser known brewery—in contrast to the current wave of acquisitions by industrial brewing companies, private equity groups, or in some cases, simply larger craft breweries—Logsdon acknowledges there were some discussions of those sorts. Ultimately though, “My other partners and I addressed financing and the strength of brewery-related backgrounds.”

Logsdon Farmhouse Ales

As for now, the future of Logsdon Farmhouse Ales remains slightly in the air. Logsdon Ciderworks—David’s new core brand—falls under “different licenses and ownership... (They are) two different animals.”

Two more animals in Logsdon’s stable that are unrelated to the cartoonishly adorable Scottish Highlander cattle that the farm is semi-famous for are the brewery’s brand new tasting room—the Barrel House—and Knead Bakery, both in downtown Hood River. Folks heading to the gorge this weekend for SoLog can check them all out, but mostly they’ll be queuing up for the first samples of Totally Nude (another riff name since last year’s fest featured Half Naked). The young lambic-style beer features raw wheat, aged hops, and the aforementioned wild ferment. Years from now we can expect a traditional gueuze, meaning a blend of lambics of various ages, and possibly a fruited version akin to Peche ‘n Brett or their cherry/kriek-style Cerasus (sara-soos). David can’t say for sure. Because after all, following nearly 30 years in the industry, he’s semi-retired.