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One of Portland’s Top Breweries Is Opening a Taproom With One of Portland’s Finest Coffee Roasters

Junior’s and Upright Brewing will transform a vacant gas station into a cafe-meets-taproom, with food carts and U.K.-style ales

Upright Brewing, the award-winning micro-brewery named after the primary instrument of genre-defying musician Charles Mingus, will open a satellite taproom in the Roseway and Cully neighborhoods of Northeast Portland. The taproom will bring Upright’s creative beers to Prescott and the 72nd park blocks, sharing a space with top Portland coffee roaster Junior’s. The tasting room, taking over a former gas station and long-vacant building, is set to open early next year.

The team behind Upright is approaching the new space in the same manner as they do with their beers — with a desire to do something distinct and intentional. Junior’s will offer coffee service in the morning, and then the space will transition to the beer side of things mid-day, closing around 10 p.m. Two food trucks will provide snacks and meals throughout the day in the parking lot adjacent to the building. “The space is only about a thousand square feet, but we plan to have two food carts on the east side and plenty of outdoor seating on the lot, as well,” Upright founder Alex Ganum says. “I don’t want it to be a bustling pod with carts constantly changing, but would rather find a couple businesses that are interested in staying put long-term.” Ganum says the space will be a simple bar with a dozen or so taps, including hand pumps for traditional U.K.-style ales.

Upright Brewing specializes in small-batch beers, a true “micro” brewery with no large distribution plans. The brewery produces styles ranging from straightforward ales and lagers to quirky mixed-fermentation and experimental beers, from the Post Pandemic Lager, a pre-prohibition style lager, to the Fantasia, a beer made with peaches from Baird Family Orchards. Upright often uses Oregon fruit and hops in its beers, like the Fire Opal, a saison aged on nectarines. Upright also has an impressive slate of IPAs, including the Supercool IPA, which combines Pacific Northwest hops with a traditional top cropping ale yeast from England. The open fermentation and dry-hopping process lend the Supercool balance and complexities not found in other IPAs. Upright Brewing has garnered praise from a number of different outlets: The Oregonian named Upright the second-best brewery of 2020, and Willamette Week named the brewery’s Four Hands Saison the second-best brew in the 2019 beer guide. Upright has also been a stalwart on Eater Portland’s brewery map.

Upright and Junior’s Roasted Coffee have collaborated on coffee beers since Guilder opened, from stouts to coffee ambers; the roaster even provided beans for Upright’s collaboration with a Japanese brewery. “Their integrity and uncompromising approach to quality is something we try to emulate at Junior’s,” says Junior’s co-founder Caryn Nelson. Caryn and co-owner Mike Nelson are known as leaders in Portland’s coffee world when it comes to transparency, from producing zines and hosting seminars about the true sustainable cost of coffee production, to posting the cost of beans on the list of current roasts. Their reputation, both in terms of their ethics and the quality of Junior’s coffee, has helped them become major collaborators with other food and beverage businesses around town: Junior’s roasts a private Indonesian single-origin for Northeast Hollywood Indonesian restaurant Gado Gado, Aimsir uses Junior’s Roasted Coffee in one of its coffee cocktails, and Junior’s coffee is sold at local grocers like Providore and World Foods. At the new taproom-cafe, Junior’s will have a full espresso bar with bags of coffee for sale, as well as the list of green bean prices. As for food, the pastry case will rely on treats from Shoofly Vegan Bakery.

Upright and Junior’s feel personally invested in the Roseway and Cully area, as both owners and employees of each company live within walking distance of the new spot. “At the current brewery location near the Moda Center, we get a lot of tourists, which is admittedly a lot of fun, but my heart is in finding a way for the brewery to deepen its ties to the local community,” Ganum says. “I think a big part of what makes this city special are the people operating characterful and genuine businesses, so hopefully this project becomes something that adds a little vibrancy to Portland for the folks that live here.”

The taproom is part of a larger redevelopment shift in the area that extends beyond food and beverage. The Portland Department of Transportation has also announced plans for a 72nd Greenway installation along the 72nd Park blocks called the “Cully Connector” in an effort to increase safety, walkability, and bikeability from Prescott to Sandy.

The Upright crew still has a large amount of work ahead of them to get the space together, so it shouldn’t open until 2022. In the meantime, you can find Upright Brewing currently operating out of the Leftbank Building on 240 North Broadway and Junior’s Roasted Coffee inside Guilder on 2393 NE Fremont Street. “We are stoked to be working on a larger project together,” says Nelson, “and looking forward to creating a space for the coffee and beer communities to come together.”

Upright Brewing [Official]
Junior’s Roasted Coffee [Official]
14 Distinctive Portland Cafés That Roast Their Own Coffee [EPDX]
16 Breweries in Portland for Crisp, Cold Beer [EPDX]