Sky High Brewing, located in downtown Corvallis, currently lacks a kitchen, seats not even a fifth of its desired capacity and has a second-floor staircase leading straight into the ceiling a la the Winchester Mystery House, but Scott McFarland, his co-owners and brewer Laurence Livingston were too excited to wait. They didn’t mind opening with a half-finished brewery in August 2012.
Getting into beer has long been McFarland’s dream. “I did pizza for a number of years but always kind of had a hankering to get into the beer business,” he says.
Influenced by the beers crafted during his time in Portland, he did just that, partnering with Brian Bovee and Mark O’Brien to construct what is already a hot spot despite the unfinished look. Because this is a brewery under construction, temporary and creative food options have satisfied its many customers. American Dream Pizza, McFarland’s former employer, brings pizzas to your table, while customers can also devour “brew boxes” with an assortment of packaged snacks between sips of beer.
And, as eclectically flavorful as the beer is, those sips can easily turn into satisfying gulps. Envisioned by Livingston, with a few voices in his ear, porters, IPAs, stouts and anything else that comes to his mind are created with a unique twist.
The Five Beer Sampler, which can be purchased for $6, is an eye-opening way to get introduced to Livingston’s skill. There’s the June-bug Wheat Ale, lemony and light; the Big Air XX IPA, a citrusy, hoppy beer; the Monk’s Mana Honey Tripel, 10 percent ABV worth of Belgian malts, Corvallis wildflower honey and Crosby Farm hops with a strong, wine-like smoothness; the Panorama Porter, full of caramel and a dark malt pick-me-up; and the Mountainous Stout, equipped with not-so-subtle hints of chocolate, toffee, caramel and oatmeal flavor. And that’s just a few beers concocted by Livingston.
“We come out with new beers all the time,” McFarland says. And this revolving door of brews, he hopes, will only make the brewery that much more inviting.
And once the brewery approaches what McFarland and company originally drew up, it will be able to serve up to 300 people, instead of its current capacity of 45. This is no minor project. “Compared to what we have now, it’s going to be a big step,” he says.
That big step will allow customers to enjoy much more than a wide variety of palate-cleansing brews. “We will have traditional pub food,” McFarland says, “but we’re using the word flair. We’re going to put some flair into it. We’re going to be creative with it.”
The desire to be unique doesn’t stop with the food or the beer. Kegs of beer for delivery aren’t simply driven around; they instead ride down the streets of Corvallis on a bike constructed by Lane Kagay, founder of CETMA Cargo and former Eugene resident.
“Corvallis is pretty flat, and so we were thinking, ‘let’s see if we can get a bike that will pull kegs around,’” McFarland says. “Eugene-made, baby.” One more thing that makes this brewery so pleasing.
Sky High Brewing is open 4 to 10 pm Monday through Wednesday, 4 to 11 pm Thursday, 4 pm to midnight Friday and 2 pm to midnight Saturday at 207-3277 and skyhighbrewing.com.