These days, a brewery debuting in Portland is about an eventful as a rain shower. But something felt a little different when Shaun Kalis and Devin Benware opened the doors to Ruse Brewing last fall. For starters, the Sellwood neighborhood space is impressive, a nearly 6,000-square-foot facility within the gorgeously refurbished Iron Fireman Collective building. But perhaps most importantly, the beers are exceptional, ranging from lively, wild-fermented sours to bright farmhouse ales to balanced IPAs.
As ABVs creep up, Ruse manages to keep things dialed-in. Beers like Lost in Reflections (West Coast IPA) and Stages of Dusk (oatmeal stout with cacao) are vibrant, well-rounded and worthy of another pour. Here, co-founder and brewer Shaun Kalis (previously of Culmination Brewing) brings us up to speed on one of the Rose City’s newest operations.
1) What’s the trick to staying relevant in a craft-heavy town like Portland?
Brew what sells. No matter where your heart lies, we have to brew for consumers. Everything is all about quality, no room for bad or mediocre beer. Strive for above the bar.
2) Was there a key lesson or two you took away from your time at Culmination?
I learned a lot about small business… and the experience was incredible. I learned from some of their trials, tribulations and mistakes of being a startup. Trust me, we make plenty of our own mistakes and will continue to learn as much from those.
3) What have been some of your favorite collaboration beers?
I really enjoyed the beers we have made with Upright Brewing. We love those guys and have insane appreciation and respect for them. I also really enjoyed the beers we have made with Oakshire, Sunriver and Modern Times.
4) What’s next for Ruse?
Keep having fun and staying creative. Continue finding ways to keep our company small so we can really focus on taking care of our employees and making the highest level of quality beer we can. We also look forward to having more events, music, etc. – who doesn’t love a good party?