Walking Man Brewery – Homo Erectus

Walking Man Brewery Homo Erectus

The Columbia River Gorge is a natural playground of unmatched beauty, offering an array of year round recreation options. Wander into any brewery in downtown Hood River, Oregon, luminaries such as Full Sail and Double Mountain, and you’ll find a selection of anglers, hikers and wind surfers.

Regardless of how this area may raise its cosmopolitan profile, there is no mistaking the facts: the Gorge is real outdoorsman country.

Across the river in the small town of Stevenson, Washington, tucked along the old waterfront district, refreshment seekers will find an off the beaten path oasis well worth the dollar toll to cross the dramatic Bridge of the Gods. Walking Man Brewery and their human themed beers have been a beer lover’s alternative to the more crowded, mainstream ending to a day’s excursion in the lovely Gorge.

For years thriving as a quaint operation, Walking Man Brewing decided to take a big step toward a deeper penetration of the regional craft beer market. In late winter of 2015 the iconoclast brewery started a full scale bottling operation, and what better to debut with than one of their most recognizable taps: Homo Erectus Imperial IPA. For the first time in the company’s fifteen year history, one of their products will be widely available at fine food and beer sellers in a striking, art quality, palette satisfying twenty-two ounce bottle.

For those who may be new to Homo Erectus, first introduced to the public in 2002 (brewed in honor of two million years as a walking, upright species) it is a huge, savory IPA. It’s numbers come in at a robust 9.0% ABV/90 IBU making it a bona fide monster (smooth caramel flavor, complimented with a pine and citrus hop profile) that smashes similar Northwest style varietals both in terms of its strength and delicious flavor. The beer remains one of Walking Man’s destination beers (as IPA’s are at most breweries) and certainly the most iconic.

Bottling and distributing Homo Erectus is just a small part of the brewery’s gradual ramp up to reinvention. Two years ago, in April of 2013, they hired James Landers as their head brewer, a veteran who focused his efforts on not only updating the day to day processes inside the brewery but updating a slate of recipes that had been staples since 2000 and won the small operation accolades and medals throughout their history.

So far the Home Erectus bottling operation has met with nothing but success. With new sales channels opening up, the projected production for 2015 will reach over fifteen hundred barrels. Between upping distribution, reinventing their staple product and ramping up production, it seems clear that soon, Gorge traveling beer enthusiasts won’t be able to pass off Stevenson as an out of the way destination. The small riverside town will finally be regarded as a necessity.

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