Climate City Brewing Company

Captivated by possibilities

Climate City Brewing Grants Pass
Photos by: Lahna Marie
Climate City Brewing family owners
Partners: Steve Baksay, Jodi Paquin, Christine Meis, Mark Simchuck (not pictured), and Dustin & Ashley Myers

She sits on southwest G street in Grants Pass, a spirited old girl with arches over her doorway and stories on her walls. This seasoned beauty nestled just outside the edge of the Grants Pass historic district has tales to tell – you can feel it the moment you pull up for a visit.

She hasn’t always been this lively. Her previous owner decided to throw in the towel one night after a long battle to keep his business in the black. He simply locked the door behind him, turned off the power with full refrigerators, and walked away. When the bank finally took ownership a year later, there were mushrooms sprouting from the floors and toxic mold creeping in the dark corners.

Climate City Brewing cans“We finally got to come in after the clean-up and look around,” says current building co-owner and Climate City Brewing Company’s partner Steve Baksay. “It was a no-brainer. It was beautiful.”

Steve, along with his three business partners – wife Jodi Paquin, Mark Simchuck and Christine Meis, were captivated by the possibilities. Enthusiasts of the beer scene in Portland and Bend, the four partners had the idea to open a brewery when they were attending a beer festival together in 2013. They had been searching for a historic space to launch a brewery in Southern Oregon, and ultimately purchased the building in 2014 and began the process of breathing new life into her.

Climate City Brewing signNone of the original four partners are restaurateurs, but they trusted their intuition and enthusiasm to guide them. Jodi initially took the lead on supervising the renovations before and after work. She would arrive early and stay late, working closely with contractors to bring the vision to life.

“I grew up in Grants Pass,” says Jodi. “I came to this place after dances. It was my dad’s favorite restaurant, and he had recently passed away, so when I walked in it was just a feeling of home. This building definitely has a place in my heart.”

Climate City Brewing barleyJodi’s dad, Phil Paquin, was a teacher and coach, and served on the school board and city council. He was a beloved leader in the community. As a gift, Steve honored Phil by surprising Jodi with a beautiful mural of her father, painted on one of the brick walls in the bar.

The building as it sits now is warm and festive, a perfect place to meet up for a cold beer or delicious meal. The beer is brewed on site by brewmaster Acacia Cooper.

Climate City Brewing gear“Acacia is amazing,” says Jodi. “When we first brought her in, we had five or six beers on tap. She increased that quickly to sixteen, and she’s always pushing the bar a little bit.”

According to Steve and Jodi, Acacia keeps an eye on the trends, and isn’t afraid to experiment. Climate City Brewing Company offers some distinct choices in beer, from light beers to hazy to sours, among many others.

Climate City Brewing 4Although business was thriving, the four partners weren’t completely satisfied with the way they felt they were “winging it” when it came to the restaurant side. Finally deciding it was time to bring their food offerings up to meet the standards of their brews, they brought on two new partners to join the team. Power couple Ashley and Dustin Myers, owners of The Vine in Grants Pass, were excited to bring their expertise to the table. The duo came with exceptional restaurant and event management experience and a reputation for delicious, locally sourced menu offerings.

“We’ve already seen a difference having them on board and having Dustin oversee daily operations,” says Steve. “It’s amazing.”

Climate City Brewing more food“We are so excited,” says Ashley. “This building has a history of service and was built by our community. It’s an honor for us to be part of it and carry on that tradition of service.”

When Climate City Brewing Company opened its doors in 2014, the community rallied. They seemed excited to see the building reopen, and there are no signs of business slowing down any time soon. Drop by during business hours and you’ll find family and pet friendly spaces filled with neighbors catching up and enjoying the vibe.

Climate City Brewing firesideBesides a cozy patio, Climate City also boasts an event room, featuring its own bar and plenty of seating for groups up to 50. They partner with rafting company Orange Torpedo during the summer, a cool activity to check out if you’re a Rogue River enthusiast. If you’d rather take some refreshment home with you, you can choose your favorite beer on tap and have it immediately filled in a 25 ounce “crowler.” Once sealed, it pops open, just like a regular beer can.

Whether you come for the food, the beer, or both, it’s obvious there is joy and a sense of community here. This old building stands as a testament to a love of family, friends, and a lifestyle of service, and there will certainly be many more stories to be told here.

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132 Years Strong: A History of The Brewery

Climate City Brewing 2

By Jaren Hobson

Almost every Grants Pass local knows “The Brewery.” Most have fond memories of sharing a meal on prom night or brunch with loved ones on Mother’s Day. What most people may not know is, since its inception in 1887, 509 SW G Street has been many things, including an apple packing plant, a storage warehouse, an art gallery, and an upholstery shop.

“The Grants Pass Brewery” was first founded in 1887 by William Neurath. Neurath began by drilling a well 30 feet underground along Gilbert Creek. The Oregon Observer wrote, “The artesian well at the brewery is the grandest thing in Grants Pass … it is undoubtedly heavily charged with carbon, causing it to sparkle like a thousand stars.” And with this quality supply of water, the brewing began.

In 1891, Neurath sold the brewery’s rights to Eugene and Marie Kienlin. The Kienlins were originally from Germany and became U.S. citizens in 1887. After their first year of proprietorship, the building was converted into an apple packing plant. Unfortunately, the building was destroyed by a fire in January of 1902.

After this loss, the Kienlins built the brick building that we are familiar with today. Along with their new brewmeister, also from Germany, they began to brew once again. Eugene Kienlen died shortly after in March of 1904. His wife Marie was left in charge of the brewery making her one of Oregon’s first female brewery proprietors.

Grants Pass became a “dry” city in 1908, followed by state-wide prohibition in 1914, and finally a nation-wide ban on alcohol in 1920. During prohibition, Marie made ends meet by selling groceries, baked goods, candy, cigarettes, and other odds and ends. Prohibition in the United States ended in 1933, and Marie died the following year. The building wouldn’t be known as “The Brewery” again until 1975, when Bob and Linda Leonhardt leased the building, restored it, and re-opened it as a restaurant.

Latest

Issue

132 Years Strong: A History of The Brewery

Climate City Brewing 2

By Jaren Hobson

Almost every Grants Pass local knows “The Brewery.” Most have fond memories of sharing a meal on prom night or brunch with loved ones on Mother’s Day. What most people may not know is, since its inception in 1887, 509 SW G Street has been many things, including an apple packing plant, a storage warehouse, an art gallery, and an upholstery shop.

“The Grants Pass Brewery” was first founded in 1887 by William Neurath. Neurath began by drilling a well 30 feet underground along Gilbert Creek. The Oregon Observer wrote, “The artesian well at the brewery is the grandest thing in Grants Pass … it is undoubtedly heavily charged with carbon, causing it to sparkle like a thousand stars.” And with this quality supply of water, the brewing began.

In 1891, Neurath sold the brewery’s rights to Eugene and Marie Kienlin. The Kienlins were originally from Germany and became U.S. citizens in 1887. After their first year of proprietorship, the building was converted into an apple packing plant. Unfortunately, the building was destroyed by a fire in January of 1902.

After this loss, the Kienlins built the brick building that we are familiar with today. Along with their new brewmeister, also from Germany, they began to brew once again. Eugene Kienlen died shortly after in March of 1904. His wife Marie was left in charge of the brewery making her one of Oregon’s first female brewery proprietors.

Grants Pass became a “dry” city in 1908, followed by state-wide prohibition in 1914, and finally a nation-wide ban on alcohol in 1920. During prohibition, Marie made ends meet by selling groceries, baked goods, candy, cigarettes, and other odds and ends. Prohibition in the United States ended in 1933, and Marie died the following year. The building wouldn’t be known as “The Brewery” again until 1975, when Bob and Linda Leonhardt leased the building, restored it, and re-opened it as a restaurant.

Latest

Issue