255: John Harris of Ecliptic Has Learned the Hard Way to Make the Beers That People Want to Drink


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John Harris has been around. From his start at the McMenamins Hillsdale brewpub in 1986 (where they brewed with extract and fermented without temperature control in open-top fermenters), through stints launching Deschutes, the Full Sail pub in Portland, Oregon, and now the past nine years at his own brewery Ecliptic, he’s been eyewitness to a myriad of change in the craft beer world.

In this episode, Harris recounts the early days and the challenges they faced in trying to create what we now know as the craft beer industry. These stories from the early days of craft illustrate just how far the brewing world in the United States has come over the past few decades. Along the way, Harris discusses:

  • brewing commercial batches in the mid-80’s while scavenging yeast from Sierra Nevada Pale Ale bottle dregs
  • launching the original Deschutes brewpub in Bend with founder Gary Fish
  • heading the Full Sail Portland brewpub for two decades
  • the development of the PNW strain of West Coast IPA
  • using color to tell a story in beer
  • working with Strata hops
  • embracing fruit in brewing and making quick-sour fruit beers
  • beers that made sense in his head but never connected with an audience

And more.

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