Hopstories Local Documentary: Every Brewery Has a Story

Left to right: Adam Gaylord, Laurence Livingston, Matt Huizenga, and Eric Buist. Photo by Genevieve Weber.

If you’ve ever wanted to know the ins and outs of your favorite local brewery, you may just get your chance. This week, a local team of up-and-coming filmmakers completed a pilot video for their new project, Hopstories, featuring Corvallis’ own Sky High Brewery and Pub.

“Telling the stories of breweries—that’s something we want to know. So this is kind of an excuse to do it,” laughed Eric Buist, a film contractor for OSU and documentary videographer for Freshwaters Illustrated.

Buist, along with team members Matt Huizenga, Worship Media Coordinator at Re:new Church, and Adam Gaylord, a writer and OSU Fisheries and Wildlife masters degree student, aims to feature at least six other breweries in short films.

“We love drinking beer, and we’ve been looking for a creative project to work on together,” said Buist.

“We also get a lot of samples, which is pretty sweet,” Gaylord quipped.

When asked why the team approached Sky High Brewery for their pilot video, Buist said, “Part of it is that it’s a brand new brewery, they’re going through all the trials and struggles of starting a new brewery right now. They’re starting out, and we’re starting out so it’s a good fit.”

“And they have really good beer,” added Gaylord.

Owned and operated by American Dream Pizza trio Scott McFarland, Brian Bovee, and Mark O’Brien, Sky High Brewery also seems to epitomize local and sustainable when it comes to good food and beer.

“I have a lot of experience in the brewery business, and Scott is a third generation restaurateur,” said Sky High brewmaster, Laurence Livingston. “We’re all about high-quality and sustainability—the sequoia here and the redwood downstairs are all salvaged.”

Sky High Brewery avidly recycles, delivers kegs by specially-designed bicycle, and buys their hops locally from Crosby Hop Farms—run by Blake Crosby, a fifth generation hop farmer—about 40 miles north of Corvallis. All used hops and grains are sold to local farmers and mushroom growers to be re-used as feed and fertilizer. And while many breweries break in their equipment by dumping early batches down the drain, Sky High has used every drop of their beer brewed so far.

“Very few breweries have pubs that are actually in the brewery,” added Livingston. “Come in at 4:00 on a brew day, and it smells like hops.”

Buist, Huizenga, and Gaylord are currently in discussions about short films with several additional Pacific Northwest breweries, including Agrarian Ales in Eugene, Goodlife Brewing in Bend, and Walking Man Brewing in Stevenson, Washington.

“One of the things we want to do is make it so the brewery doesn’t have to pay us—at the end they get this video, and it tells their story, and it gives them some good publicity,” said Buist.

Look for Sky High’s third-story pub to open in early June of this year, and keep an eye out for the brewery’s newest creations, a Honey Tripel, a traditional Bock, and an ISA.

“We’ve got our kind of standard things now,” said Livingston, “and we’re going to start to push the envelope.”

Check out the Hopstories facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Hopstories and website at http://www.hopstories.com, and don’t miss their pilot movie, available this week for beer lovers everywhere.

by Genevieve Weber