According to newspaper folklore, there was plenty of beer drinking going on between editions back in the day.
So it’s only fitting that one of Vancouver’s newest breweries should be housed in The Columbian’s former downtown home on the corner of Evergreen Boulevard and Broadway. What’s even more fitting is that the owner of Trusty Brewing Co. has a background in printing.
“That put an extra plus on this location,” Gary Paul said Thursday amid wood walls and wide windows as a few fermenters bubbled in the basement below.
Paul and his wife, Andrea Paul, opened Trusty in January, and already the accolades are rolling in. Regional judges tapped by Willamette Week this spring dubbed Trusty’s Corner Window India pale ale as Vancouver’s best IPA.
That kind of encouragement has the Pauls eyeing the future. Trusty’s staff of five could grow before the end of the summer.
“We definitely want to grow and want to help grow Vancouver,” Gary Paul said.
The West Linn, Ore., couple looked “from Scappoose to Oregon City” with dreams of opening a brewery, but when the former Dirty Hands Brewing space opened up in Vancouver, it was a “no-brainer.” Plus, he found out what many already knew: “Vancouver is a gem.”
Trusty started brewing its selection of potent ales — all Paul’s home-brew recipes — in November. Like all breweries, he said, a few batches went down the drain before the current, consistent collection was tapped and the brewery and its restaurant, which offers a selection of pub-style favorites, opened in January.
Brewing 100 gallons at a time, Trusty puts the hand in hand-crafted beers.
“It’s a really primitive system; we still do a lot of things by hand,” Paul said.
By hand is just how he does things. Paul, 47, was a commercial printer for 25 years, first in San Francisco and later in the Portland area after his family moved here around 2000. Living near Anchor Brewing Co. in San Francisco, he picked up a love of home brewing and has been refining his art for 20 years.
“Like printing, it is an art form,” he said.
Trusty joins an increasingly crowded, though probably not saturated, field of breweries in the area. Clark County now has at least 18 breweries to its name, and Trusty probably won’t be the last to join the list.
Paul said Doomsday Brewing, based in Washougal, plans to open a taproom in Vancouver, and another beer bar could be on the way. It’s all healthy competition, of course, as downtown and the waterfront develop and attract more potential customers.
“We’ve been received well, by the public and by brewers,” Paul said. “We want to be a destination for people.”
Self-distributing, Trusty can also be found on tap. Asking for “a Trusty red ale” at the bar is part of the reason behind the name, Paul said: “It’s built-in marketing.”
Back in the basement brewery where a printing press once lived — The Columbian built the corner building in 1928 and moved out in 1955 — Paul said there’s room to eventually double brewing capacity. Beyond that, it will get tricky, but Paul said to trust in the brewery’s future in town.
“No matter how big we get, I see us having some sort of presence in Vancouver.”