The Interview

Geoff Phillips is the owner of Bailey’s Taproom, the Upper Lip, and Brewed Oregon. With Bailey’s 10th anniversary coming up this Saturday I thought it would a cool opportunity to ask him a few questions.

He was gracious enough to spare me so me time via email, so here we go:

Do you remember the first keg you tapped for Bailey’s?

This was the draft list 8/1/2007. It was one of these 13 beers, probably Obsidian Stout, because that would have been on tap number 1 (nitro):

Walking Man Barefoot Brown Brown
Terminal Gravity Triple Triple
Stone Ruination Imperial IPA
Roots Gruit Kolsch Gruit
Off the Rail Coal Porter Porter
Ninkasi Believer Imperial Red
Mac and Jack’s Serengeti Wheat Wheat
Lost Coast Imperial Pilsner Imperial Pilsner
Laurelwood Mother Lode Golden
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Imperial IPA
Green Flash West Coast IPA IPA
Deschutes Obsidian Stout – Nitro Stout
Anderson Valley Boont Amber Amber

(Ed note: that’s kinda wild that we can see what the first run of beers were and in comparison to what they are now.)

What’s been the most surprising trend you’ve seen in Portland?

I have to say I’m pretty surprised by the Hazy IPA trend.

Most interesting challenge to running Bailey’s over the past 10 years?

Dealing with vendors. Don’t want to get into specifics, but it’s challenging when you disagree with the services provided with different suppliers.

What do you look for when evaluating a new beer/brewery for the tap list?

I have pawned off all those duties to our beer buyer, Bill Murnighan. Over the last 4+ years, my role curating the draft list at Bailey’s has been more and more removed. I’ll occasionally give some insight on a beer or brewery that I’ve experienced, but Bill is much more on top of the trends of the industry right now.

How has the audience changed? Both in demographics and tastes (if at all)?

I think the audience is just growing in size. I think you can see a few changes in tastes but IPA still rules them all, and has for all 10 years we’ve been around.

Anything you wish you’d known before you started?

Always a tough question. Doing things over, I’d get a good accountant earlier.

Is there something you’d like to see changed, legally, to make it easier to acquire beers from out-of-state?

I think it’s keg logistics that make it more difficult to acquire beers from out-of-state versus the legal hurdles. One way kegs are making it easier, but someone still needs to coordinate getting it on a truck at a reasonable price point. And then you are still dealing with breweries that are at capacity that can’t make enough beer to supply other markets.

And, is there a style that you have come to appreciate over the years?

Looking at the list of 13 beers we opened Bailey’s with, I’m sure 10 years ago I would have been most excited with the Imperial IPAs or possibly doing all 13 in sample glasses. But now, I’d just order a pint of one of the lower alcohol choices.

And that’s it! I just want to thank Geoff once again for his time, and I hope to see people on Saturday at the fest. I’ll probably be tweeting reviews, just because that’s fun to do, sometimes, until I’m having too much fun at the event, instead of being about the event.

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