IF DENNIS "DJ" MOXLEY looks almost too young to be brewing now, imagine how he must've looked when he was sharing homebrew with people at his university—including one of the Jesuit priests. Six years later, now 25, Moxley has ditched his Gonzaga dorm room for a bona fide brewery opening next month on SE Division.
There are three partners in Grixsen Brewing: Moxley, Kurt Gritman, and Scott Petersen. What's a Grixsen? It's the amalgamation of the trio's names: GRItman, MoXLey, and PeterSEN. They originally wanted to pledge allegiance to the name One Nation, but Jägermeister, makers of vodka brand American Harvest with the motto "one nation, one spirit," objected.
The brewery will become the southern terminus of Southeast's mile-and-a-half-long "Brewers Row." Well, that's as the crow flies. Add in some east-west zigzagging and, starting from Burnside Brewing on East Burnside, the 10-brewery-strong crawl includes Base Camp, Cascade Barrel House, Buckman Botanical inside the Green Dragon, the Commons, Hair of the Dog, Lucky Labrador, Ground Breaker, and Baerlic.
Beyond providing the starting or end point for this epic crawl, Grixsen's next role is to figure out how we'll identify their beers. In other words, there's the saison one (the Commons), the sour one (Cascade), the gluten-free one (Ground Breaker), etc. The next-youngest player, Baerlic, excels at malty beers along with coffee-infused or bourbon-aged versions. But that's not stopping Moxley.
"No one does a brown [ale] around here," he said from inside the noisy, dusty space while sipping on a pint of the fresh hop saison Grixsen brewed collaboratively at Kells Brewpub. He described Grixsen Brown (actual name TBD) as being "super light... malty" and "like Fat Tire but better and without the bad aftertaste."
He also said to look forward to a Scotch ale, stout, kolsch, and, down the road, some funky stuff with wild yeasts. Pretty much anything but an IPA.
"I don't want to put something out there that's not as good or better than [Boneyard Brewing's] RPM [IPA]."
Patrons will also have the option of adding $1 to their tab to help pay forward beers for veterans. The Zags alumnus explained, "Jesuits are all about social justice and helping people."
Moxley and his wife have an English bulldog named Scout who's descended from his alma mater's live mascot—Gonzaga royalty. I hope she'll be a fixture at the tasting room, because even in brewery-rich SE, there's always room for another beer maker. A third dog-friendly one could be even better.
November is one of the few months without a dedicated beer style. We're almost over pumpkin beers, and Christmastime beers don't suffer the same early creep as the rest of the things associated with that holiday. Take the opportunity to give thanks for the variety among seasonal offerings currently available:
Stormbreaker's Preseason Dame Face RIP LA Triple Double (Portland)
This paean in a pint glass packs 10 hop additions of three hop varietals (Mosaic, Citra, and Amarillo). The trip-dub in question is that the beer "scores on your palate, rebounds your nose, and is assisted by the citrus flavors," and it deftly executes the play it was designed for. The recipe is avant-garde. The hops are on point. And this is Dame's year to finally achieve a triple double.
Ninkasi's Noir (Eugene)
From hop mavens Ninkasi comes one of the finest in this too-rare style: the coffee milk stout. The hefty body built on roasted malts gives this 7.6 percent ABV beer a voluptuous body smoothed out with milk sugars and then perked up with cold brew from Stumptown. It's rich, enticing, and delicious on its own or with any Thanksgiving dessert.
Rogue's Pumpkin Patch (Newport)
Having personally stood in the namesake pumpkin patch at Rogue's farm in Independence, I'd say this is one of Oregon's best among autumnal field-to-bottle beers. The pie spices—orange peel, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, vanilla, ginger, and nutmeg—complete the pie approximation.
Autumn Ale Fest
Crunchy fall leaves require red, orange, and brown beers to match, but McMenamins' Old Church in Wilsonville is one of the few places to capitalize on this flannel-forward idea. The celebration features McMenamins' brews, as well as seven beers from among the company's alumni such as Ecliptic (founder/brewmaster John Harris got his start at the Hillsdale Pub in 1986) and Fort George (co-founder Jack Harris' Festival of Dark Arts began as a stout celebration at McMenamins' Lighthouse). There will also be live music from Life During Wartime and Beach Fire.
Old Church and Pub, 30340 SW Boones Ferry, Wilsonville, Sat Nov 14, 11 am-10 pm, free admission, all ages