Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hello Pale Horse Brewing Company!

Welcome Pale Horse Brewing, Salem-Keizer's first independent brewery in I don't know how long!

Capital Taps was able to interview President and Head Brewer, Dennis Clack.

CT: What's your brewing background? Are you a home brewer? Or have you been brewing commercially before?
My brewing background started about 7 years ago, when I looked up at a shelf at a local variety store, and beheld a Mr. Beer Kit looking back at me. I took the kit home and the rest is history, my relationship with brewing beer has been evolving ever since. I started out home brewing and here I am trying to kick start a micro- brewery.
What are your principal brews, and what are your stylistic aims and preferences? What beers and brewers do you admire most?
Right now we have only two brews, HILLBILLY BLONDE (blonde ale style), and PALE HORSE STOUT (Irish Style Stout). I really don’t have any stylistic aims or preferences, we are in fact currently doing research into what the beer drinking public wants, and we’ll go from there. My own taste preferences tend to be the slightly less hoppy and bitter styles. I suppose this kind of goes against the thinking of those who think a craft beer ought to make your face pucker as you drink it. I do think the brewery’s third beer is probably leaning towards being a Porter. For those who want the more hoppier, and stronger beer we’ll probably be adding a IPA not too far in the distant future.

The brewers at the Pelican at Pacific City are the guys I have my bar set to. The superb quality of the beer they turn out consistently is the goal of our brewery. The Kiwanda Cream, and Tsunami Stout ales they brew are two great ales.
What are your plans for the next year or two?
For the next several years we’ll be trying to do the all the necessary thing all new businesses have to achieve to stay afloat; continually improve product, increase sales, and become a solid member of the Salem/Keizer community (which is the real motivation behind my Wife and I starting the brewery).
Where can people drink your beer?
People can find our beer at The Stone Front Tavern, Silver Inn, Big Shots Bar and Broiler, and Jammers. The list I’m happy to say is about to swell from establishments who are going take on our beer. Around the latter part of May or the first part of June our beer will also become available at many of the Salem/Keizer grocery stores.
The Pelican just went crazy at the Australian International Beer Awards. A month ago they sent 10 beers and won 10 awards. A brewer could hardly find a better model!

This is great news that the beer will be bottled and available locally. And I love the community-mindedness!

Thanks, Dennis, for taking the time to chat with Capital Taps!

Pale Horse Brewing (brewery only, no pub)
2359 Hyacinth ST. NE
Salem, OR 97301


  1. This is really exciting. Thanks for letting us know where to go to support local breweries!

  2. I don't have very high hopes for these guys after talking on the phone with them one time and seeing the list of establishments that they are serving at. The last thing Oregon beer needs is a repeat of the late 90's with an overabundance of mediocre beers in the market. A blond, a stout and a porter...

    It's possible I got a bad impression from our phone conversation. At the time I was on my way back from Portland and looking at the Oregon Brewers guild guide to Oregon beer and Pale Horse was listed and in the notes it said to call about tours. So I did, and the most I got was that it was a small operation and didn't offer tours, although they might if you were in the "industry."

    Being a homebrewer I'm interested in seeing any setup, and I think culling favor with anyone interested in your product is key for a small business, especially in the craft beer market. Like I told the guy on the phone I hope he does well, Salem could use a wholly Salem owned and operated brewery, but I for one was pretty put off.


  3. Wow that seems harsh. Maybe tasting the product, and letting that do the talking instead of an unexpected call for a tour, at a place just starting out, might be a better way to make up your mind.

    My husband loves blonde ales, and has had many different versions of blonde ales from several different brewers. Pale horse hillbilly blonde is by far his favorite. Try the product before you judge the brewer.

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  6. ABW - We removed your comment because it strayed too far from beer and beer history. If you'd like to repost your observations about the beer itself - even if you didn't like it! - as well as more general observations about the brewery, we're happy to host them! Just not the other stuff. Thanks for your understanding. CT

  7. Capital Taps, my comment about the brewery was honest and not positive, that's why it was removed. Scott S wasn't positive either, but you kept his.

  8. ABW - Sorry about the confusion...not trying to eliminate dissent or criticism, but parts of your comment strayed beyond what we thought was fair criticism. Here's an edited version of your comment:

    I'm not impressed at all. I actually met the owners some time ago and wanted to ask[some questions].

    The owners showed absolutely no enthusiasm about their business or the industry. Both said very little. I had a strong impression they didn't like what they did.

    [non-beer speculations redacted]

    A business owner needs to be excited about what they do, be willing to talk and help others, and be enthusiastic. I can tell you I saw none of that from either owner.

    [future speculation redacted]

  9. Fair enough. Thank you for reposting it.

  10. I have a new beer. And her name.......Hillbilly Blonde! I work at a liquor store in NC Arkansas that carries this nectar and have been telling my customers, well, those that don't drink Busch, how wonderful it is. I've been getting VERY positive feed backs.
    Keep it flowing and for Gods sakes come up with some T-shirts.

  11. The New School has an "obituary" for the brand -