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Rogues Get Salty for Beer

We harvested salt from the mouth of Yaquina Bay.

When a brewery needs salt for a beer and they're located on the Oregon Coast, it only makes sense that they use the sea water flowing right by their front door.


One of our upcoming brews calls for just a pinch of salt in the recipe. And since we're a coastal brewery who grow our own ingredients, we thought: what better way to get our salt than to harvest it ourselves from the sea water right behind the brewery?

So on a sunny day in March (a rarity in Oregon), we jumped on a commercial crabbing boat that had just finished out the Dungeness crab season and headed out to sea.

Production Assassin Jacqui Evans sails into the Pacific Ocean on commercial crabbing boat, Enterprise.
Production Assassin Jacqui Evans sails into the Pacific Ocean on commercial crabbing boat, Enterprise.

Crabbing boats can pump water in and out of their hull for the purpose of keeping their catch fresh. But when it comes to harvesting water, you want to fill up the hull and keep it there.

So we boated just out of the mouth of Yaquina Bay, the body of water right behind our brewery, and into the Pacific Ocean. It took seven minutes to fill the boat with about 1,000 gallons of ocean water (800 gallons in the hull and an additional 200 gallons went into a giant tub that was also on board). We were essentially sinking the boat in a controlled way.

Director of Operations Jack Waibel tests the water getting pumped into the overflow tub on deck.
Director of Operations Jack Waibel tests the water getting pumped into the overflow tub on deck.
International Sales Manager Mike Knowles assists as the water is pumped from the crabbing boat into our brewery.
International Sales Manager Mike Knowles assists as the water is pumped from the crabbing boat into our brewery.

Once we were as full of water as we could be, we returned to the brewery and pumped everything on board into the brew system (through a filtration system). After three trips into the Pacific, we collected over 3,000 gallons that we boiled down for hours, reducing it to a concentrated salt solution — just what we need to craft our salty brew coming in July.

Brewer Matt Evans keeps an eye on the brew system as sea water is boiled and reduced to a salt solution.
Brewer Matt Evans keeps an eye on the brew system as sea water is boiled and reduced to a salt solution.

Stay tuned for more on the release of Just a Pinch, our upcoming sour session ale.