Inside Astoria’s oldest active brewery is the city’s newest.
David Lederfine and Jim Parker recently started Asher David Brewing & Cellarworks, a tenant operation leasing a four-barrel brewhouse at Astoria Brewing Co. on 11th Street.
The brewery is named after the son of Lederfine and built from the model of Awesome Ales, a similar tenant brewery Lederfine ran over the past five years at brewhouses around the state. The model came from a friend and political candidate who promoted regional buying and sharing of medical equipment among hospitals as a way to cut health care costs.
“It’s always been my thought that there’s a lot of underutilized capacity,” Lederfine said. “I get to, A, be ‘green,’ not adding to the carbon footprint by adding a new brewery, and also give the host brewery an additional revenue stream.”
Lederfine and Parker are both veterans of the brewery scene, having owned pubs and bars and brewed for other companies around the Pacific Northwest and Colorado.
Parker was the director of the Oregon Brewers Guild for six years. The two were originally introduced in 1997 at a craft beer conference in Seattle by mutual friend Jack Harris, a co-owner of Fort George Brewery.
Lederfine had run Awesome Ales solo, brewing, selling and delivering all his own beers. When Parker came on board, the two decided to rebrand and expand their focus from the more common beer varieties into more farmhouse and barrel-aged beers, while leasing the space at Astoria Brewing to control their production schedule.
Asher David hopes to be licensed as a brewery by the first of the year, Parker said. Until then, its beers are made on contract for Astoria Brewing, a practice colloquially known as “gypsy brewing.”
Lederfine previously brewed at Astoria Brewing in the early 2000s, when it was Pacific Rim Brewing, then the only brewery in town. Astoria Brewing now produces most of its beer on a 15-barrel system built inside the former Andrew & Steve’s Cafe on 12th Street and Marine Drive.
Stephen Allen, co-owner of Astoria Brewing and a local accountant, said the arrangement is a good way to support an old friend and make some extra money on an unused asset. “I didn’t see any harm in it,” he said.
Asher David’s beers produced outside Astoria can already be found locally at Bridge & Tunnel Bottleshop and Taproom, the Merry Time Bar and Grill and Growler Guys. The brewery also has more than 100 accounts around the state and has been reaching out to local retailers.
“I’ve got a lot of people going, ‘As soon as you have something you’ve made here, I want it,’” Parker said.
Asher David’s beers are mostly named after lyrics, song titles and other musical references. Its John Henry American Strong Ale, named after the classic folk song, and Supple Wrist Pale Ale, a reference to The Who’s “Pinball Wizard,” hit the streets Monday.
While they rent a brewhouse and buy supplies from Astoria Brewing, Asher David still has to send beer to the Portland area for cold storage.
“We want to have a cooler locally, and if you’re going to have a cooler locally, you may as well throw some taps out, because people say, ‘Where can I come try your beer?,’” Parker said.
Lederfine and Parker are looking for a location to open a local tap house sometime in the first quarter of 2019, before the FisherPoets Gathering or Fort George’s Festival of the Dark Arts beer fest in February.