1985. Ronald Reagan is president, The Goonies is popular in theaters, the Unabomber is at large in the U.S., Nintendo releases Super Mario Bros. and McMenamins’ first beer is born.
In 1985 McMenamins was two years old and, after the recent passage of the Brewpub Bill, just dipping our toes into the proverbial mash of the beer-brewing world. At the time, Mike McMenamin and Hillsdale Pub folks were stocking plenty of German, Belgian, English and Australian beers, which, to them, meant a bigger, better beer, but these were mostly lagers, still fairly clean and straightforward, and McMenamins was ready – along with pioneer brewers like Fred Eckhardt, Widmer, Portland Brewing and others – to introduce the Northwest to more flavor.
Enter Hillsdale Ale. By today’s standards, our very first beer was a lighter golden ale, nothing outlandish, but it packed a lot of flavor when bumped up against what most folks were drinking. And, as it turns out, people were ready for just that kind of beer. A month later, we brewed Terminator Stout. Two months later, Hammerhead. The behemoth was unleashed and in another two months Ruby hit the taps.
This is all to say that we are pleased, 35 years later, to celebrate that very first beer and the glorious experiments that followed. Join us in raising a glass to our first and to the one you’re drinking now. Cheers!