From the Bottle Collection: Star Black Cherry Stout

Without intent, I have collected well over 1,000 beer bottles since the early 70s. When something finally had to be done about the cheap paneling in this old modular, I had a choice. Tear down the walls while, oh, so carefully, replacing the often rotted 1X3s. Or: cover them with… The Bottle Collection.

Written by Ken Carman

Star Brewing
Portland, Oregon


How I got a hold of this one I really don’t know. According to Beer Me: opened in 1993, closed, 1996, but I know my bottle’s not that old. Old stock being sold off? I do remember it being excellent. Yet this is confusing: the painted on bottle claims “since 1894.” Well, Vancouver did have a Star Brewing, and the name was passed around a bit. And descriptions of the beer I’ve a seen on really sounds like the brew I had. But I really hate to say much about it, except it’s amazing the black cherry held on that long. I have found even before hop, fruit can fade, and I know this was opened and tipped sometime in the mid-2000s: probably at my first beer tasting around 2006. That’s incredible it was that good if it was 10 years old! Here is what else I’ve discovered…

After 96 they were supposed to move to Arizona.

Here is what said about them…

The original Star Brewing company was founded in 1894 when Louis Gerlinger bought the existing Young’s Brewery in Vancouver, WA and promptly renamed it to reflect the change in product line. The brewery was sold and renamed again in 1952 and then finally closed entirely in 1985. In the summer of 1992, the brewery, like many other newly resurrected micros, was brought back to life by a small group of beer enthusiasts in Portland, OR.

The brewery began with Grant’s Ales’ 10 barrel brewhouse and upgraded to a 35 barrel brewhouse only one year after opening. In addition to the exquisite Imperial Stout that we’ve brought you this month, Star also produces a Black Cherry Stout, a spiced Christmas Ale, an IPA, a Golden Ale, and a Nut Brown Ale.

The brewery is currently undergoing still yet another transformation and is in the process of relocating to Phoenix, AZ. The Imperial Stout we’ve sent you was the last produced at the Portland site and may never be brewed as you will experience it, so enjoy! It is truly one of a kind.

According to The Portland Business Journal they were supposed to move to Phoenix and, from what little I have uncovered, if they survived the journey it wasn’t long. According to several posts I’ve seen over the years Phoenix has been referred to as “Beer Hell.” Perhaps it was, but a quick Google shows seven, including a Gordon Biersch.

The article about Star moving may hold a clue from the gentleman Star hired to save the brewery: “‘Star is too small and made too many mistakes,’ (Wayne) Anderson said.”

This may just be a story that deserves to be on some beer focused edition of History’s Mysteries.

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