From left, Kathy Hardwick, tasting room manager; Nicole Cuoco, assistant brewer; and owner Nathan Heath.
For more than four years now Brookings resident Nathan Heath has been obsessed with crafting high-quality beer.
It started in his home as a part-time hobby, where Heath would spend his spare time experimenting with different flavors and ingredients to put his own mark on tried-and-true recipes. Now, Heath hopes to share the fruits of his labor while giving back to the community when the Tight Lines Brewery holds its grand-opening beginning at 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 3.
“This is something I enjoy doing on a day-to-day basis,” declared Heath. “I’m not doing it for the money right now. I’m doing it because I love making a good quality beer and I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they drink something that’s really good.”
The name “Tight Lines” is an hommage to the local fishing community and the references are dotted throughout the brewery. The decor is fishing themed, the tap handles are crafted from the snapped rods of local fisherman, and if you are interested, you can become a member of the “Angler’s Club,” which entitles you to special discounts and exclusive offers for a small membership fee.
In addition to the nautical theme, two characteristics stand out about the brewery: the business is run with the community in mind and the product is to be of very high quality.
“We want to keep it local as possible but we want to keep the quality at a high level, so we go to the experts like the local farmers for our ingredients,” said co-owner Nicole Heath.
“All of our equipment is from Oregon, the art on walls is from family and local photographers and artisans, our growlers are printed in Salem. This keeps the money in Oregon, which is important to us. In fact, I can’t think of too many things in here that aren’t from Oregon.”
The Heaths also plan on giving back to the local community by holding special events where a portion of the proceeds will go to local charities. They also sponsor a local women’s soccer team and send their spent grain to local farmers as cattle feed.
As for the beers themselves, the pride and effort the Heath’s take in their work shows through in the quality of the product. They are flavorful and smooth yet never overpowering, with palate pleasing hints of citrus, honey, or rich hops depending on which beer you happen to be drinking.
They are named after close family members, local legends, and even the family pet.
The Doghair Porter is named after the Heath’s beloved yellow Labrador, Charlie, whose hair somehow found it’s way into an early batch.
The Siskiyou Kid IPA is named after Slade Sapora, a local legend who did a four-day rafting trip along the length of the Chetco River, by himself.
The RIP pale ale is named after Nathan’s grandparents, Wendell and Annalou Harbach, whom he states, “are the reason I am who I am; they are the inspiration.”
Finally, the Special Delivery honey cream ale, which the Heaths will debut at the grand opening, is named after Nathan’s mother, Maren Harbach, who is a mail carrier.
“That’s the beer that made me want to open a brewery. When I brewed it at home four years ago, my friends loved it,” acknowledged Heath. “It would be gone before I could make it so i thought to myself, “I should open a brewery.”
The 33-year-old brewmaster speaks about how it took a local ingredient to make his honey cream ale just right.
“I spent a long time trying to convert the recipe and I switched to Smith River honey and it came out perfect,” said Heath.
As for the location itself, the Heaths are currently putting much time and effort into remodelling to include a foyer area complete with new flooring, seating, even a couch.
“I want to create a relaxed atmosphere and provide a new experience for adults in the area,” said Heath. “I also want a chance to give back to the community. We hired two employees already and I’d like to bring even more jobs to the community as we grow.”
The Tight Lines Brewery is located at 625 Chetco Ave, Suite 120. You can reach them at 760-885-9638 or at facebook.com/tightlinesbrewery.