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Before we reached our present predicament, we were about the launch a light-hearted series – 10 (or more!) Questions with a Brewer. Well, we’re still going to move forward with that, but it would seem a bit strange if we don’t also check in to see how they’re dealing with the coronavirus shutdown. Up next is Joe Hitselberger, owner and brewery of Wolf Tree Brewing in South Beach, on the central Oregon coast. Find takeout and delivery options on their website.

We saw that you’re hiring! It’s been a while since we’ve seen any hiring posts. Are you prepping for reopening?

We were fortunate enough to keep all of our full-time staff on through the closure and we got a ton of remodeling work done on our brewpub and out at the brewery.  Since we are in a coastal/ tourist town, we bring on quite a few seasonal employees.  I’m hopeful that we will be able to open within the next month or so, but I guess nobody knows.  Figured we would get the ball rolling and get some people hired so we can get them trained and be ready to go when we get the all clear.
We’ve noticed you’ve taken your trivia nights online. How did that happen, and how’s it going?
We have a brilliant Brand Manager that came up with the idea.  He hosts trivia every Friday night via Zoom and we get roughly 30 to 50 teams that log in.  It’s a good time, we play trivia, truth or dare, and talk about the brewery.  It’s a great chance for us to keep the brand relevant and in front of people.  It doesn’t cost anything to participate and people are coming back every week.  During trivia we also let people know where they can get our beer, etc and I think it has helped with moving some more cans.    
Give us an update on reopening plans and possibilities
We remodeled our brewpub, put in a new draft system, added some more kitchen equipment, and changed up our menu a bit so I am really excited to get things going again.  This plan had been in the works before the shutdown, so I guess we were more prepared than others to deal with an extended closure.  Our production at the brewery has dropped about 50%, but we still try to can once or twice a month.  We continue to have some fun beers being released and we are getting creative with how we connect with our customers.  I am really excited about our new space and think it will be a fun spot to enjoy a beer once things start to get back to normal and it is safe for our staff and customers. 

10 (or more!) Questions with a Brewer

Hometown: La Canada, CA.  Moved to Oregon after highschool in 99′

Favorite beerIt might sound cliché, but Orval is my absolute favorite beer.  It’s really complex and is a great beer to pair with food. 

Beatles or Stones? Stones

When I’m not drinking beer, I’m drinking… Wine, I drink a lot of wine. 

If I weren’t a brewer I’d be a… I was a forester before I was a brewer and I could fall back on that.  I like trucks too though, so being a dump truck driver isn’t out of the question.  

When I’m not brewing beer you can find me… Hiking in the woods with my dogs 

What’s on the stereo when you’re brewing?  Indie, alternative rock, with a little Westside Connection sprinkled in there.  I have terrible taste in music for the most part, or so I’ve been told. 

Ale or lager? Big fan of ales, but learning to appreciate lagers more. 

What was your first craft beer? Rogue Dead Guy Ale.  Growing up on the coast, it is a pretty iconic brand and a really unique beer. 

Favorite book?  Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living. Nick Offerman. Aka Ron Swanson 

Favorite album? Smashing Pumpkins- Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.  Double disc?!  I was the coolest 15 year old I knew when I bought that.   

Favorite vacation spot?  Bend/ Sunriver.  Great weather and great beer.

Favorite quote.  “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take -Wayne Gretzky – Michael Scott”  

The next big thing in beer will be… Gruits. I have no idea, it seems like really well made lagers are making a comeback. 

Timbers or Blazers?  Blazers 

Ducks or Beavers?  I’m an OSU Alumni, Beavers all the way.  

If I could choose anyone to have a beer with, it would be… Garrett Oliver.  I’d love to talk with him about beer and food pairing.