Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Joel Rea Oral History Interview, June 8, 2017

Oregon State University
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00:00:25 - Childhood memories/moving to Albany

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Partial Transcript: Where were you born?

Segment Synopsis: Rea discusses growing up in the Kirkland, WA, his life while there and his families subsequent move to Albany, OR as result of his father's job. He talks about early interests and about family hiking and camping trips. He also shares that as the youngest of his brothers he frequently stayed at home while they all went out.

Keywords: Albany; Kirkland; Seattle; YMCA; brothers; camping; changes in seattle; cooking with mom; daycare; hiking; little money; moving; nursery; places to hide; pre-school; siblings; social events; staying at home; swimming; traveling; woods

00:11:14 - Experiences and studies in college/early young adult life

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Partial Transcript: So, later on you got into forestry?

Segment Synopsis: Rea discuses how he went to community college and wanted to work in the forest industry. He found work as a seasonal employee, but made little traction for a full forestry career. He talks about studying botany, at Oregon State University in an effort to better his career in forestry, but decided to leave after two years. After OSU, he traveled around Western North America, and eventually decided to go back to college at Prescott College in Arizona.

Keywords: 1989; A.A. Forest Technology; Arizona; Baja California; British Columbia; Desert; Forest Service; Liberal Arts; Loved newness of desert; Magical; Mt. Humphreys; Mt.Hood Community College; No-grades; Oregon state university; Prescott College; Tundra; Yellowpine Forest; botany; concept of higher-ed; dropping out; early 80s; forestry; natural landscape; reagan era; seasonal work; short obligation; timber was king; traveling

00:18:03 - Late college life/decision to open up a brewing supply shop

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Partial Transcript: Where you interested in the food and drink scene as it was in Oregon and Corvallis in the late 80s?

Segment Synopsis: Rea discusses how he had no initial interest in home brewing. Ironically, he actually had a friend who home brewed, however, he did not understand why his friend did it. He thought of beer as something you just buy at the store, not something you would create yourself. Rea also discusses how at Prescott college he was drawn to photography, and once he graduated there he actually went to the University of Oregon and earned his BFA in visual design. Following his degree, he became disillusioned with photography and decided that he was going to open up a home brew supply shop. He spent a lot of time considering different locations throughout Oregon and Washington and he eventually decided that Corvallis would be the best location.

Keywords: 1985; 1995; 1997; Arizona; Ashland; Bachelor of Fine Arts; Bellingham; Bend; Corvallis; Environmental Studies; Eugene; Frame shop; Great people; MFA in Visual Design; Master of Fine Arts; Newport; University of Oregon; disillusion with photography; education; first legal beer; friend who home brews; home brew kit; home brew supply shop; homebrewing; no microbrewing; photography classes; prescott college; squirrells

00:25:53 - Opening his business

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Partial Transcript: So you opened in 1997?

Segment Synopsis: Rea shares that he had little to no knowledge about what owning and operating his own business would be like. He discusses other brewing supplies business in the area and he talks about the state of downtown Corvallis at the time. Joel shares that his most memorable customer ended up being his future wife. Joel discusses that Corvallis residents are well-traveled and most of his early customers wanted to make their own beer in an effort to recreate a beer that they had in some other part of the world. Joel then discusses moving locations, and working with a friend to expand his business. Joel discusses teaching brewing classes at Oregon State University and teaching through the Benton center.

Keywords: 464 Madison; Benton center; Bottle shop; Business partner; Christian Science Reading Room; Corvallis people; Craft Center OSU; Hewett-Packertt downsizes; Location; Teaching classes; Valley Homebrewers; Wholesalers; avalon movie theater; big river; full moon brewing supply; hogs head; home fermentation only; interest in beer; peace corps volunteer; re-create beers; ruby moon; sibling revelry; types of customers; university market

00:41:42 - Learning about beer and customers

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Partial Transcript: How did you learn about beer and what people like what to stock?

Segment Synopsis: Joel shares that when he first opened it was more difficult to find unique beers to stock however, now he has tons of options to sell. He learned a lot about different breweries and beer by reading and traveling to other breweries in the region. He shares that he sells both beers from international and local sources. He shares that he likes to have beers from all over the world to introduce people to new things. He also discusses mead, and the increase of the cider industry, especially in the Corvallis area.

Keywords: Frog in hot water; International breweries; Oregon State University; PBR; Students; adventurism; apples; bad beer options; cider; fermentation Sciences; internet; knowledge of beer; learning about breweries; less cider drinkers; local beers; mead; old milwaukie; orchards; popularity of cider; reading; small farmers; traveling to breweries; try it once people; twotowns cider; well-educated beer palettes; wine

00:56:18 - Types of home brewers

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Partial Transcript: So, flipping back from the bottle to the home brewing side, how have home brewers changed overtime?

Segment Synopsis: Joel shares his experience of how home brewers have changed over time. He says that compared to when he first opened, most home brewers are very educated. He talks about different styles of beer and doing beer consultations.

Keywords: Home brewers; advanced; brewing consultations; brewing techniques; brewing theory; commercial breweries; garage beweries; hops; malt; much more educated; process; recipes; rourke beer; sensory aid; smokey beer; style; styles of beer; technology

01:02:34 - People and brewers he works with

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Partial Transcript: So, what about umm what are some of your favorite people that you've worked with?

Segment Synopsis: Joel shares personal stories about relationships and associations that he has made with other breweries and breweries around the area. He talks about how people experiment with different types of hops and flavors. He discusses a special beer that is being made for the 20th anniversary of his store.

Keywords: 20% beer; 20th anniversary; Baker City; Brewery Pilot Plant; Craft; Dave Wills; Dave malioes; Flat tail brewing; Geographic distribution; Gold Rush; Jeff Paulson; Long brewing; Madras; Munich; Pale; Pat Hayes; Paul Long; Vancounver; Vienna; Wine; barley breeder; commercial brewing world; full pint barley; gold rush pilsner; great western; hop sales; hops; mecca grade; old-promise; oregon state university; oregon trail brewery

01:18:36 - Favorite beer creative creations

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Partial Transcript: What are some of your most favorite creative things that you've made?

Segment Synopsis: Joel shares some of his favorite beer creations he has made over the years. Every year on valentine's day he creates an oyster ale. He talks about the importance of calcium in beer, and the effects of oysters in beer. He also shares some of his creations he made from harvesting his own bacteria and yeast.

Keywords: 10th University Beer; Beer & Calcium; Brewing Tradations; Commercial Oyster Stouts; Oyster Beer; Oysters; St. Patrick's Day; Valentine's Day; bacteria; beers made my walkings; green belt land trust; harvest wild yeast; natural resources; owen's farm funk ale; rose hips; two-gallon bucket; wild apples

01:26:22 - His approach to creating his own beer

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Partial Transcript: Do you do seasonal beers based off what is growing in your own garden?

Segment Synopsis: Joel discusses how he likes to do spontaneous fermentation, or brew in non-traditional locations. He discusses a brew he made in his garden that tastes like liquid pizza, and shares that he has made well over one thousand brews in his lifetime.

Keywords: Joel's Garden; LBCC; Liquid pizza beer; Wild Beers; basil; bitterness; camping; computer programmed brewing; cookng without a cookbook; home brewing batches; hops; non-traditional location brewing; oregano; road runner red; spontaneous fermentations; thyme

01:33:18 - Future and potential changes in his business and his impact on the community

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Partial Transcript: So, who are the people that come to your classes?

Segment Synopsis: Joel discusses the future of his business, he shares that a lot of people purchase beer kits online, then come in for advice. He talks about the challenges of switching to an online store, and shares his impact on the community.

Keywords: advice; bottle shop; community recognition; curious about beer; employees; foresty; home brew supply shop; internet; inventory; photography; shipping department; small business; space; starter kit; website; yeast

Subjects: Curious about beer; starter kit