One of the 50-plus events to make up Portland State of Mind this year included the unveiling of a special beer at Rogue Hall on Oct. 19. The beer is called the PSU II, or Alumni Pale, and is described as a “botanical pale,” brewed to be smooth with mild hints of fruit flavor.
Portland State students past and present jammed into the pub for samples of the new brew and free food.
“I don’t know of anywhere else in the United States that has a partnership between a cool craft brewery like Rogue and a university like PSU,” said Matt Conkey, West Coast regional manager of Rogue Ales. “We came together and built this second great beer. Today we are here to reveal it, enjoy it and drink it.”
When the time came to unveil the new beer, Rogue Hall was full and all eyes were on a curtain concealing boxes of 22-ounce bottles. A man stood up and raised his glass high. He is a bishop of the Rogue nation, and led the room in prayer.
“Our lager, which art in barrels, hallowed be thy drink, thou will be drunk, perhaps we’ll all be drunk, at home as it is in the barrel. Give us this day our frothy head and forgive us our spillages, as we forgive them who spill against us, lead us not into incarceration and deliver us from hangovers, for thine is the beer, the bitter and lager, not to mention the PSU ale, please say after me ‘bah-men’”
After the curtain dropped, samples of the Alumni Pale Ale were passed around.
A raffle took place as well, won by Dolores Zegar Judkins, a PSU graduate from 1970. Her gift bag included a Rogue T-shirt, bottles of the new beer and the PSU IPA, and four ticket vouchers for a football game. She was attending Portland State of Mind events all day with her husband, who graduated in 1966, the last year PSU was called Portland State College.
There are an estimated 85,000 PSU alumni in the Portland metro area.
“Today is all about our alumni and thanking them,” Gallagher said. PSU and Rogue Ales both have rich histories.
Rogue Ales was founded in 1988 in Ashland, Oregon. Since 2010 they have partnered with PSU, focusing on efforts in sustainability. It began with CEO and Rogue founder Jack Joyce asking PSU president Wim Wiewel, a vocal environmentalist, out for an after-work beer.
PSU has been focusing on strengthening its role as a sustainability leader since 2008, and Rogue Ales practices local production on every level; the ingredients, bottles and even artwork all come from Oregon businesses. Joyce and Wiewel decided Rogue Ales and PSU were a perfect match.
The PSU IPA, dedicated to sustainability, was released as the first fruit of the union in 2010. Today both the beer and corresponding T-shirt are some of Rogue’s top sellers.
The PSU Alumni Association is pleased with the expanding relationship with Rogue. The brewery offers incentives for PSU customers. “There’s discounts, shirts [and] they’re going to be opening a Portland State section soon,” Tom Bull, executive director for the Office of Alumni Relations, said.
Rogue Hall, located on the corner of SW 10th and Park, is centrally located on the PSU campus, and most of their customers are PSU students and staff. Some even think of PSU as a beer-centric institution.
“We like to think of Portland State as Portland’s university. Portland is also known as Beervana, so I like to think of us as Beervana University,” said Scott Gallagher, director of communications for PSU. “Oftentimes people are worried about beer in universities, but the average age of a PSU student is 26 and a half.”
PSU took a step closer to becoming Beervana University this fall with the launch the nation’s first brewing certificate program, called “The Business of Craft Brewing.” The requirements for the certificate are four online classes and a 40-hour supervised internship with a local brewery or distillery, one of which is Rogue Ales.
This fall’s 40-person cohort filled up two weeks after becoming available. Winter and spring sessions were quickly added and maxed out as well.
“What you see there is a real need in the community for training. Every day you look around there’s a new brewpub opened up,” Gallagher said. “A lot of these people start off as home brewers, but they don’t know the business side. Even if you have the best beer in the world, you still got to make it into a business.”