Rip City Pub Pass

Here's the scenario: You're a Blazers season ticket holder or you go to quite a few games a year. You realize Ex Novo is a 10 minute walk from the Moda Center and your best option for a pregame meal and libations. We've got you covered with a sweet new promo we're rolling out!

For a mere $75, we'll roll out the red carpet in decadent fashion:

  • You and a friend will enjoy happy hour pricing until tip-off
  • You'll be drinking out of a custom Rip City 20+oz mug for this price
  • Includes a Rip City themed Ex Novo t-shirt
  • Includes a free appetizer (Table Bacon, Hush Puppies, Pretzels) before each home game.

Limited number available - treat yo' self!

Dynamic Duo - Bright Future!


Dynamic Duo is set for a makeover, but first, a little history:

Dynamic Duo Imperial IPA burst on the scene in July '15 with an ambitious and exciting goal: to provide an extremely drinkable IIPA and to provide a canvass to showcase different hop combinations. The concept was simple: keep the target specs the same and the malt profile nearly the same, and pick two different hops in combination each time we brew it. Lots of fans may not even know we change it up each time, and many seek out every new combo in their beer quest. After fourteen different releases, we've decided it's time to shift focus somewhat, all for good reasons!


Starting with Project 015, which releases Monday, 9/26, we will be changing the recipes less frequently. We'll also be brewing different malt profiles that fit the season - for example this first one that releases in the first week of fall will get a nice dosage of Rye to the malt bill. The plan is to switch it up every three months , which will allow us several brews with the same product, giving the chance to make minor tweaks and improvements along the way, while keeping it seasonally appropriate and enticing. 

We hope you enjoy the new versions, feel free to let us know what you think!

Big Kitchen Changes Coming!

We're super excited to announce some big changes in our food program! We'll be closing the kitchen next week (9/19-9/25) to install a full hood and a lot of new equipment. For the past year, Chef Chris and his team have been putting out some awesome food with the limitations of only having an electric kitchen with ovens, warmers and sandwich presses.  Now they'll be equipped with a full kitchen: fryers, grill, flat top, etc. and will get to really expand what we can offer here at Ex Novo.

The menu won't be changing 100% from where it is now, but you can expect some new items like the dan dan fries (previewed at our anniversary party), fried chicken sando and IPA steamed mussels. And yes, we'll have a burger and fries now.

For the week the kitchen is closed, we'll be hosting Taco Pedaler, cooking in-house for all of your food needs. Few things go better together than tacos and beer!

Come visit us this weekend if you want to try any food that you may not get to try again, next week for tacos, and the week after for the rollout of our new menu! 

Chef Chris Greer

Chef Chris Greer



This Monday night from 9:30p-12a we'll be hosting our third Family Meal event. We'll be closing the pub a little early for this after-hours event and we would love it if you made it out! A few FAQs:

  • Q: What do I get with my $15? 
    • A: Both chefs prepare a light meal ahead of time for our guests to enjoy while they watch the competition unfold. This is included along with entry. To show appreciation for service-industry folks, an OLCC or Food Handler's card gets you a ticket for a beer as well.
  • Q: What will I do during the event?
    • A: Enjoy a meal, gather with friends and meet some new ones. We'll be steaming the action to the TV above the bar and the MC will be walking you through. The competition will take an hour as the chef's work with their secret ingredients to prepare two courses., and then judges will taste and score the two courses for the winner of Family Meal for the evening. 
  • Q: Where do I buy tickets and do I need them in advance?

Cactus Wins the Lottery

Cactus Wins the Lottery

Excited to announce our summer seasonal, Cactus Wins the Lottery!

It's sour with fruity sweetness at the same time. It's way too drinkable, but it's 4.2%, so that's OK. It's pink, and that's OK, because no one cares what color our beer is anymore right? It's only going to be like $5, which is an insanely good price for a 22oz sour fruit beer, but we want you to be happy this summer. Original artwork by Jonathan Case and design by Jeremy Backer

In the PDX and SW Washington markets this week. LA and SF next month!

It's Been Awhile...

Hello! As you'll see, the last post was 3 years ago, well before we were a brewery and we were planning in the garage. We're trying to recover some blogs that went out during the startup process, but for now you can peruse our origin if you like, or check back here as we keep you up to date with exciting stuff on the reg.



Meet and Tweet

Board member Dustin Bagby will be taking over the Twitter responsibilities as Senior Vice President of Social Media. Follow us as he steps it up! @exnovobrew

Boca Verde IPA

Just a quick blurb about my most recent brew, again I apologize for not being more of a blogosauras*, but things are crazy busy right now. Boca Verde IPA: Brewed 4/25

  • Expected OG: 1.068
  • Actual OG: 1.072 (my efficiency has been too good lately!)
  • IBU: 90+
  • Expected FG: 1.016
  • Actual FG: 1.015
  • ABV: 7.5%
  • Fermentables: Pale 2-Row, American Wheat, Carapils and Turbinado sugar.
  • Hops: Bittering – Columbus.   Flavor/Aroma – Centennial, Citra, Simcoe. Dry Hop – Citra, Simcoe, Columbus
  • Yeasties: WLP001 California Ale

Suffice it to say I've never used this many hops in an IPA before, the flameout/whirlpool hop additions were insane! That makes it a fairly expensive beer to make, and my expectations are high. Sampled tonight upon kegging and adding the second round of dry hops, and it was good enough for some serious fist pumps by myself in the garage. Could be the best beer I've ever made...we'll have to see.

*one who blogs a lot

6/2/13 Edit: Not the best beer I've ever made. Certainly a good beer, but there was a CO2 issue in my system and the kegs sat flat for a few days, that's what I'm blaming on the change in flavor and aroma from my first tastes.  Will try this beer again though, probably knocking off ~.8%ABV and 20IBU.

Lookin for a Home

Tomorrow I head out with my commercial realtors from Cresa to look at 5 or 6 potential locations - what will we find? A perfect warehouse space? Former Dairy Queen glory? The remnants of an old meat locker waiting to be restored? I don't know but I'm pumped to get the search officially underway; despite our 58 breweries, Portland still has pockets aching for a killer brewery that also scratches the change-the-world-itch. In brewing news, I've brewed another batch of Rufus Red which is predictably good. I've also been experimenting with some new hops via single-hop pale ales - so far I've done Ahtanum and Delta, I haven't tried the Delta yet but the Ahtanum is really tasty. Session-city with light fruit and floral flavors, it leaves nothing on your tongue but the desire for one more sip....I also brewed a Saison-Wheat-Pale hybrid with Amarillo hops that I modified from Drew Beechum (a Saison wizard) and the two carboys finished at an FG of 1.004 and 1.002! Crazy dry, crazy refreshing and wonderful. Could make a few tweaks, but it just might end up being a staple.

In life news: IMG_0089

I can't believe I'm a dad, it's incredible.

The Slow Down

Things might be a little more mellow around here for a while, my wife Sarah is due tomorrow, and as it is our first kiddo, I'm kind of expecting to put everything else on the back-burner while we figure our some basics like, can you still legally drive on 2 hours of sleep? and why shouldn't the milk go in the pantry? It's weird to face a day that many refer to as "the best day of your life." High expectations but I imagine it won't, and she won't, disappoint. Good momentum in the past weeks though on the brewery front: Sent the first round of fundraising letters out, finalized the logo (merch coming soon), had very productive meetings with bankers who are very excited about our vision, just need a way to fit the nonprofit peg into the square business hole before they give us money.

Life is just really good right now. Thankful for that.

Catching Up

Apologies for the blogging hiatus all you on the edges of your seats, this may not satisfy, but I needed to post something to catch up. What's been going on in beer and breweries: Events:

1.) Board-member Mike and I went to a few Zwicklemania events, this is a super-fun day for people that like breweries - you get to tour breweries, I got a lot of great input from brewmasters, and you get loads of free swag and samples (HUB was the most generous by far). Don't miss it next year - WE MIGHT BE OPEN BY THEN!IMAG0995

2.) Grocery-Store Blind IPA Tasting. Always fun to nerd out and taste 10 regular ol' IPAs and rate them while trying to guess what you're having. So humbling, I got 2 out of 10 right and strongly supported the drinkable Bridgeport IPA. 10 Barrel Apocalypse won the night for me personally, pretty solid beer. Check out the host Dustin's blog for the full recap.


Since last post I've brewed the Rufus Red (one of my favorites), a German Pilsner which will be ready in like 8 weeks, and a single-hop pale with Ahtanum hops. Let me know if you want the recipes, no time to get into that now. I entered my recent IPA - the "Father Figure" in the blind IPA tasting, and despite not personally liking it very much at all, it beat out a few heavy-hitters, so that's always a good time.


Momentum has slowed a bit, I'm still waiting to hear back from the State that we've been approved as a nonprofit corporation, I feel like that is the last step really needed before kicking off fundraising. Yes, we need your money. We're up to five committed board members at this point, and that is perhaps the most exciting thing to me right now, spreading this vision and getting others excited and talking about it on their own. I'll do a post introducing those involved at some point.

Lastly, I don't know if you've heard of the Facebook or not, but if you have, Like us so we feel better about ourselves and you get more Ex Novo info.


The days in the PNW get longer, dryer and warmer - and the brewery progresses. Even though we're probably a year or so away from when I'd like to open, I'm looking ahead to the fun stuff, both to get an idea of the real cost of things, and to narrow down the field of contenders. Monday I took a country drive down to Canby to visit Practical Fusion,IMG_5360 makers of brewery equipment and other masterpieces of stainless steel. I've been getting quotes for the past several months from manufacturers all over the west coast (and China), and there is a pretty wide gap in prices for comparable equipment, as well as in the amount of time the account managers want to give someone looking for a brewpub-sized system (me).

Long story short, I met Colin there, and he all but convinced me that I'm going to be getting our brewhouse and tanks from them, they're local, down to earth and quick to respond. They keep prices very reasonable with low overhead and a little bit of magic. I'm stoked, are you stoked?



Also, I've been sort of looking around for a location, just to keep my mojo working, unfortunately we're not too close to being able to sign a lease just yet. This place would be cool though...maybe it will wait for me:


Best Beer Cities

Steve Body puts together a good list here of his top 10+ beer cities, it's worth the read. Tough to swallow only being #2 up here in Bridge City, but I can't argue with the fearsome lineup of excellent breweries San Diego offers. He does point out that PDX offers a better "destination" and wider spectrum, and I fully agree - San Diego has the West Coast IPA, Double IPA, Red IPA thing down pat, and that's a beautiful thing, but they may have something to learn from The Commons, Cascade and Breakside. Just over the hill, Bend was rated #8, despite being a pretty small town, I think that number will rise in the next few years as the newer breweries really get it dialed in.

Thoughts? Any obvious omissions?

Homebrew Tutorial for Dummies and Other Regular People Too

Homebrew Tutorial for Dummies and Other Regular People Too


As I was brewing alone yesterday, I had time to relax and take some photos of my homebrew setup for a tutorial and your viewing pleasure. This will help if you were curious about what my homebrew process is - which is nearly the same as a brewery's process, just scaled way  down and crude as far as technology goes. It all starts with the mash tun + malted barley+ water. My mash tun is a 15 gallon keg with the top cut off. The perforated false bottom you see helps me open that valve after the mash and get clean wort out, leaving the used grains behind.


You fire up the water to ~162F, dump the grains in and stir - then hang out for an hour (great time to enjoy a beer), applying heat as needed to keep the mash temp around 152F. The purpose of the mash is to convert the starches in the grain to sugars, producing the sweet liquid called wort which is the malt base of the beer.


There's a lot going on in the picture above, so bear with me. After the mash is complete, I rinse the grains (process called sparging) from above with 170F water (pot on far right) while I'm pulling wort through the valve on the bottom into that white bucket. For a 10 gallon batch, I collect ~13 gallons of wort,  and I dump that into my boil kettle - which is another keg (on the left) with the top cut off. Heating the wort collected along the way saves loads of time - boiling 13 gallons is not quick.

I bring the wort up to a rolling boil, then start my boil clock - which is usually 60 minutes. Here hops are added for bitterness, flavor and aroma - depending on when during the 60 minute cycle they are added. I use this ghetto contraption to hold the hops during the boil so they don't get in the piping and clog things up.


Commercial hops primarily come in two forms: dried whole-leaf style, and the pelletized version (looks like rabbit food). There are pros and cons to each, but the end product tastes the same. I use both, depending on what's available.


Still with me? So we boiled the wort for an hour, adding hops along the way to get our desired taste profile. At this point, the beers you may or may not have consumed catch up to you and you typically forget something in the last 10 minutes which makes for the only really stressful part of the brewing process. Now we're at the end of what's called the 'Hot' stage, where sanitization gets taken care of by heat. After this, everything gets a little more fragile - and some rouge bacteria or unsanitized equipment can ruin a batch. To take this boiling wort down to room temperature where the yeast can get to work - you have to use a chiller or heat exchanger of some sort, or else the process will take forever and bacteria will likely get to work before your yeast can. I use a counter-flow chiller which runs my cold hose water over a copper coil containing the wort on its way from the kettle to the fermenting vessel (carboy in my case). This takes the wort from boiling temps to ~65F in the time it takes to transfer via gravity to the carboy. It's awesome.


After this you pitch your yeast of choice, and as soon as the yeast starts working, you start having beer instead of wort. This is what my temperature-controlled basement bathroom/laundry looks like now:


The 10 gallons I brewed last night need blow-off tubes for when the yeast gets excited, and there's some dry-hopping of the Pale going on in the background. Start to finish, the process takes me a little under 4 hours - well worth it for 80 pints of beer. I'm looking forward to sophisticated brewery equipment and high levels of consistency...but something tells me I'll sort of miss my homebrew setup someday.

If there's anyone still reading after all that and is still interested in what I brewed, it was a new IPA recipe which still needs a name - after I taste and approve of its existence.

Quick Specs: 1.075 OG, 71 IBUs, 8.3 SRM


  • Malts: Pale 2-Row, Caramel 40 and 60, Carapils and Victory. Victory!
  • Hops: Bittering – Warrior.   Flavor/Aroma – Belma, Citra, Simcoe. Dry Hop – Belma, Simcoe
  • Yeasties: Wyeast 1056 slurry vs. BRY-97 slurry

It may be a little big to fit under the 7.5% abv threshold for IPAs, but it's still winter, and bigger beers rule the streets.

2/20: Finished at 1.016, for 7.7%ABV, dry hopped for 8 days with a second addition for 5 days since I had some centennial and simcoe lying about. Flavor is very fruity, but the alcohol is too forward, needs to mellow out for a week or two. Named it "Father Figure IPA" for the upcoming life change and George Michael's hit.

Not There Yet

I tried to sneak one in and put two of our staple beers (Continuous Pale and Rufus Red) on the beer rating website Ratebeer and I was happy they let me register Ex Novo to add my beers - mostly to put a claim on the names. Looks like they do their research though, as they were taken down within 24 hours - seems they only want "legitimate" "breweries." Soon enough Ratebeer, soon enough. In other news, I've been working on an IPA recipe that I really believe in. Despite being my favorite variety of beer, I don't feel like I've ever nailed down an IPA that I want to staple-ize. This one will feature the brand-new hop variety Belma, out of Yakima county. The producer's description reads like this:

"A very clean hop, with a very orange, slight grapefruit, tropical (but not mango/guava, more like pineapple), strawberry, and melon."

Let's do this thing.

Austin Beerworks - Branding Excellence

Austin Beerworks - Branding Excellence


Ever just go to random brewery's websites to look around at what they're up to and if their beer looks interesting or if it looks like they're having fun? Yeah, me too. Check out Austin Beerworks - clean and visually appealing website (need someone to design one of these for me), recognizable and un-obnoxious branding, and hilarious beer descriptions. Maybe their beer isn't great (I've never had it) - but I'd still go to their brewery or buy a sixer at least once because they are winning on the marketing and humor front.

Ex Novo, learning on the weekend.

Too Much Craft Beer in the NW? - NO!

Thanks Van Havig from Gigantic for the video that doesn't really substantiate such claims, but offers a pro's well-respected opinion in a fun lil' video clip: [vimeo]

it's going to be a really big year

It's that time of the year when you spend a good amount of time reflecting and dreaming - yet in practicality there isn't a whole lot to look forward to here in the NW. The month-long friends and family holiday whirlwind is over, there is no longer any excuse to have a beer or a whisky at 2:30 in the afternoon, it's cold and dreary, and you stream whole seasons of mediocre TV shows on Netflix without blinking an eye; it's back to real life folks. As for me, I don't quite know what that means right now - I don't have 'the man' to keep me in line or on a schedule, I'm kind of on my own in this unemployed start-up business frontier. Scary cool stuff. In the interest of making lists (it's a major blogging faux pas to not make lists around the new year), here are some things that will likely occur in the next 3 months that I find exciting:

1.) Sarah and I will no longer just be Sarah and I. Baby girl is coming, she's coming, she's coming. It's inevitable and imminent and yet not really real to me at this point other than knowing it in a way that I know physics or BREWING. I'm going to be a dad, and she's going to break my heart.

2.) Ex Novo is going to be something the state of Oregon knows about. Mostly the Secretary of State. We're going to incorporate this thing hopefully in the next month or so - plenty of nauseating paperwork to fill out and decisions on how we want to word our By-Laws, etc., but it will be a tangible step toward legitimacy. We could all use a little legitimacy around here.

3.) I'm going to wrangle some people into forming a Board of Directors for a brewery. Who would've ever thought that would be a thing?

4.) I'm going to persuade some really savvy and level-headed people to invest in what we're doing with chunks of cash.

5.) I'm (hopefully) going to rehab/sell a home in the area to provide for #1 and stave away conventional employment.

All in all I think 2013 is going to be amazing; the more I talk about the brewery plans with friends and strangers alike, the more I feel like it's actually going to happen and the vision gets a little clearer. All aboard!

Here's a cool pic of my family - WARNING - not beer related at all.


Bosque Brewing Visit

Bosque Brewing Visit


Back in Albuquerque for Christmas, Sarah and I paid a visit to the now-open Bosque Brewing Co. One of the co-owners, Jotham, has been an invaluable sounding board for me during the brewery planning business and I was stoked to finally get in there to try them out. As I often do with a new place, I went with a flight - 7 offerings - which is pretty impressive for a two month old brewery on a 3BBL system. FlightIt was a good lineup of ales - from memory I think there was a golden, two IPAs (one wheat, one English style), a brown, a scotch strong, an oatmeal stout and an amber. Good stuff guys: clean and approachable, laying off the uber-novelty stuff (at least for now). I think the Albuquerque connoisseur and the getting-the-feet-wet-with-craft-beer-person will find something to enjoy at the Bosque.

Hopefully they'll let me hang out after Christmas for a brew day, it's always good to see a new setup and get ideas about what does and doesn't work so well.

Cheers to you discerning beer drinker, merry Christmas.