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News / Business / Clark County Business

Recluse Brew Works in Washougal offers ‘a fizzy yellow beer’ in a welcoming space

Brewery in east Clark County also sees a rotating lineup of food carts outside

By Rachel Pinsky, Columbian freelance food writer
Published: March 15, 2024, 6:03am
7 Photos
An airy industrial space at the Port of Camas-Washougal is home to Recluse Brew Works.
An airy industrial space at the Port of Camas-Washougal is home to Recluse Brew Works. (Photos by Rachel Pinsky) Photo Gallery

WASHOUGAL —  On an unseasonably sunny Friday at 3 p.m., reggae-influenced hip-hop and psychedelic music streamed through the speakers at Recluse Brew Works as patrons sipped crisp ales and lagers made by owner Gus Everson.

Everson started out as a data analyst in Chicago but was captivated by the sounds and smells of brewing beer. He brewed at Widmer and Wayfinder in Portland before finding these two 3,330-square-foot bays inside Building 20 at the Port of Camas-Washougal.

“I overromanticize industrial spaces,” Everson said.

Perhaps this fondness for warehouses and loading docks harkens back to his Midwestern roots or his reclusive nature. Regardless, Everson is pleased to join other notable brewers like 54º40’ Brewing and Grains of Wrath (which is building a production brewery next door) at the port.

At Wayfinder, Everson found his mentor Kevin Davey, who taught him to focus on process, process, process. This philosophy and Everson’s own preferences influence the fermented elixir flowing from the taps at Recluse.

If You Go

  • What: Recluse Brew Works
  • Where: 4035 Grant St., Suite 102, Washougal
  • When: 2-8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday
  • Information:reclusebrew.works

“I grew up on Miller Light,” Everson said. “There’s something special to me about a fizzy, yellow beer.”

Everson’s own signature brew, RBW Lager ($6), gives that classic clear, smooth Miller Light crispness with craft brewery refinement. The result is a crushable, balanced pint that pairs well with the heavy rotation of food trucks that park outside, one each day, including cheese board and snack purveyor La Femme Fromage as well as Vancouver Farmers Market favorites Kali Kantina and Razo’s Tacos. I wasn’t able to try La Femme Fromage for this article, but Everson said the cheese trios are chosen to meld with the beer in the brewery. He is partial to blue cheese with IPA.

On my visit, Josh and Grace Williams of Kali Kantina were making Filipino food outside. The three day marinated chicken tocino ($13) came succulent and juicy on a bed of fluffy white rice with a side of sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. The grilled tofu ($14), made with Portland legend Ota Tofu, had a nice char on the outside and a tender savory interior. It came with the same sides. Long, crisp pork-filled lumpia ($6) rounded out my order. The Williamses serve their Filipino food regularly at the Vancouver Farmers Market where they also sell their 2 Angry Cats hot sauces.

Taproom manager Richard LaRue, who formerly managed Mayfly Taproom & Bottle Shop in North Portland, helped Everson create a welcoming space through tunes and art as well as partnering with a rotating list of stellar food trucks. LaRue keeps an updated food truck schedule on the event tab of the brewery’s website. He’s also planning events like a 5K brewery to beach run in late April.

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Columbian freelance food writer