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  • Tapping the Market

    Swing Tree Brewing joins Ashland's hopping beer scene
  • When Tanya Overstreet purchased a home brewing kit for husband Brandon's birthday about 10 years ago, she couldn't have imagined that the hobby would evolve into the family business.
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  • When Tanya Overstreet purchased a home brewing kit for husband Brandon's birthday about 10 years ago, she couldn't have imagined that the hobby would evolve into the family business.
    With its first official batch of handcrafted brew going into fermentation this week, newly founded Swing Tree Brewing Co. plans to win over thirsty Ashlanders one pint at time, the Overstreets say.
    "We just want to be Ashland's small, friendly, neighborhood pub and brewery," says 34-year-old Brandon, who gave up an engineering career to craft beer.
    Set to open near the end of October, the tap house and brewery is nestled just inside the entrance to Hersey Street Business Park at 300 E. Hersey No. 7.
    "We don't ever want to be a big brewery like Caldera or Deschutes," says Brandon, the lone brewer at Swing Tree. "Our little town of Ashland I think can really support a thriving beer scene ... we want to be a part of that."
    Running off a half-barrel brewing system, Swing Tree can pump out about 240 pints of beer per week, Brandon says. By comparison, Ashland's Caldera Brewing Co. can fill more than 70,000 12-ounce cans in one day at its 30-barrel brewery.
    Swing Tree's 15-gallon pilot system feeds two 20-gallon fermenters, and that's all for now. The home brew kit Brandon received for his birthday is stowed away on a high shelf nearby.
    After opening, Swing Tree's next upgrade will be a full-fledged seven-barrel system, says Brandon, whose seven years as a professional brewer have included Golden City Brewery in Golden, Twisted Pine Brewery in Boulder, and Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Westminster, Colo., where he was head brewer.
    "We just want to make enough money to support our family and enough beer for the thirsty people," says Tanya, who grew up in Ashland. "It's important that we grow, but we're glad to start small.
    "We want people to remember when we had our half-barrel system."
    The Overstreets, who have two children, met in Ashland and married before moving to Colorado, where Brandon, originally from Coos Bay, earned a degree in engineering from the University of Colorado.
    "I started my career straight out of college ... I could not stand my life, all I could think about was beer," he says. "I think it's romantic."
    The brewery won't serve house-made meals at first, Tanya says, but plans to have a cold case of sandwiches and other items, options for customers to order delivery from different restaurants in Ashland, and maybe a food cart or two.
    "We won't let people go hungry," she says. "The end goal is to be a little brewpub and make our own food off a seasonal, organic menu."
    Right now, it's strictly beer, and Swing Tree has four options: Porch Swing Pale, "an easy-to-drink American pale ale"; Obligatory IPA, "a big beer, hopped to the gills"; Lonely Trike Red Ale, "a little more malty"; and Two Shilling Brown Ale, "complex, fruity, rich in flavor ... and carbonated a little lighter," Brandon says. No lagers until the brewery gets an upgrade, he adds.
    All of those beers will be on tap at the brewery, as will one other selection from another "nano brewery" in Southern Oregon, he says.
    "We're taking it one pint at a time," Brandon says.
    For more information and updates, see the brewery's Facebook page or swingtreebrewing.com.
    Sam Wheeler is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at samuelcwheeler@gmail.com.
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