Belgian Underground: New brewery in the offing for pale ale fans

July 2015 Posted in Business
Dale Coleman and Sheldon Lesire at a tasting party for Belgian Underground Brewing at the Gallon House in 2014.

Dale Coleman and Sheldon Lesire at a tasting party for Belgian Underground Brewing at the Gallon House in 2014.

By Melissa Wagoner

“Anybody can make beer but what sells is the story,” said Belgian Underground Brewing owner Sheldon Lesire.

Belgian Underground Brewing, a new nano brewery in Silverton, is brewing small batches of high quality, easy drinking beer in the memory of Lesire’s Belgian grandfather, or “opa,” who took part in the German resistance during World War II.

“The Dutch only fought for five days, but the Belgians held out for 18.  It’s a point of pride,” Lesire said.

Lesire’s opa worked for the railroad passing along train schedules used to track German movement.

“Three different times the Germans brought him in for questioning and three different times he talked his way out of it,” Lesire said. “There is this national streak of orneriness. The Germans overestimated the Belgians’ willingness to follow rules.  Belgians joke that the national pastime is tax evasion.”

Belgian Underground Brewing, a joint effort by Lesire and his father-in-law Dale Coleman, is full of Belgian spirit. Belgian Underground is rebelling against the popular Indian Pale Ale that many microbreweries are brewing – a big beer with a lot of hops – and making something more subtle, maybe even a bit evasive.

“This is a drinking beer,” Coleman said.

Lesire and Coleman began a once-a-month brewing hobby three years ago, finding recipes on the Internet and using them as a springboard for their own creations.

“Dale is into home brewing and do-it-yourself everything,” Lesire said.

Now Belgian Underground is looking to become something more. The duo have spent the past year getting the word out by selling shirts and growlers with the Belgian Underground Brewing Logo and attending several events where they gave free tastes of their brew all in preparation for opening their own brewery. Now on the last leg of a long journey, they are taking steps to become certified and plan to be selling to the public this fall.

“Some of it is business but a lot of it is fun,” Lesire said.  One of the aspects of opening a business that Lesire and Coleman have found most fun is being a part of a supportive brewing community. They have received help from local breweries in splitting bulk glassware orders, with the brewing process and even with procuring hops.

“Most hops are already spoken for from farms in the area. We are so small, however, that we are essentially able to use their ‘rounding errors.’ We use so little at this point that we haven’t had any trouble at all procuring hops,” Lesire said.

Coleman, who is still enjoying the creative brewing process, plans to brew full-time when he retires in two years but wants to retain the nano brewery status and that Belgian spark.

“If we can sell 100 barrels we’ll make 99,” Lesire said.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.