(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser. If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened. External photo attribution is at the end of the post.) #1
The last brewery I visited in 2022 was suggested by my friend and colleague on the Abbey Foundation of Oregon Board (AFO). John Meek is the Immediate Past President of that Board and there were a couple of reasons I thought this was a good option.
First, the current President of the AFO, John Limb – who just retired after serving as the long-time publisher of the Oregon Catholic Press – and I had a great experience at the Chuckanut Brewery late in the fourth quarter. It provided momentum….
And since I’ve focused on breweries and bars on Portland’s east side and Binary is in the heart of Beaverton on Portland’s west side, this would be an opportunity to take what is purported to be newspaper editor and publisher, Horace Greeley’s advice – albeit on a micro level and as an old guy – “Go West….” (#2)
“Go West, Young Man” – but make it farther than Beaverton!!
Third, and I will tell you more about him below, but John Meek is an extremely bright guy – elected to Phi Beta Kappa and a magna cum laud grad in Computer Science from Washington State University. He’s had an outstanding career in the technology sector and, more importantly, likes good beer.
When I go Beerchasing, I try to focus on people smarter than I am. John is a good example…..!
I didn’t know if John was attracted to Binary because of his career – or the beer – or possibly both. Binary is defined as “relating to, composed of, or involving two things.”
The co-owners of Binary Brewing, Josh Johnson and Roger Wood changed the name and rebranded Uptown Brewing – a beer bar, bottle-shop, and homebrew supply shop – and started brewing in 2018.
Their motto is “Good beer is like software – in the end it’s Binary.”
“The Portland area has a long history of beer and technology. Our team brings together experience in both so we chose a name that reflects those two roots. Our goal is to bring start-up excitement back to the craft beer market – developing new beers and revitalizing classic styles for modern tastes.”
Binary had been operating and brewing with a seven-barrel system out of a very small facility located outside the Beaverton city limits.
In July, 2022, after totally refurbishing what used to be the Beaverton Bakery – located in a 135-year old building – on Broadway in the heart of town, they upgraded to a ten-barrel system and enough fermentation vessels to more than quadruple former production. (Oregon Beer News) #3
The result was a compact, but well designed and attractive taproom and brewery in the back with an impressively large picture window showing the brewing hardware:
“The one element that remains as a tribute to the old bakery is a portion of the 1930s era floor near the main entrance—blue-and-gray hand-painted cement that resembles a charming patchwork quilt.” https://www.wweek.com/bars/beer/2022/07/19/binary-brewing-opens-its-pub-and-production-facility-in-beaverton-this-week/
Binary’s plan was ambitious and their new digs allowed them to can and distribute. And the taproom is upscale and mod – unusual for the genre:
“A plant lined skylight adds warmth to the white, black and cold metal blue tones of the taproom with the punch of bright plants to liven up the computer circuitry themed space….
The open windows to the brewing operations are framed with the coolest customized aspect of the taproom, the draft towers that emulate the circuit board art of the Binary logo.” https://newschoolbeer.com/home/2022/7/binary-brewing-opens-in-beaverton
There’s also a separate room with a large community table, a few additional small tables and two old-fashioned pinball machines – a nice touch. A hall leads out to a patio, which is very nice although the picture on their website doesn’t adequately convey it.
According to Andre Meunier in his 12/11/19 article in Oregon Live: “(Head Brewer Roger Wood, makes) mostly English and German styles, including pales ales, stouts, a Kolsch and a helles, plus IPAs of course, including hazies”
“One of my favorite parts about Roger’s brewing is … balance is one of our specialties,” (Co-owner) Johnson says. ‘We call it the bitter loop, and it’s that we always want that beer to finish a little bit dry and a little bit bitter — dries out the mouth, and what it does is it makes you want to drink more. Another sip, another pint.'”
Surprisingly, Binary’s website is not that informative. There is nothing about its history (I got what I could from multiple news and internet articles) which is unfortunate because they have a good story to tell.
And unlike most breweries, there is no description of their beer along with the picture of label. Fortunately, our server, Angela, was very helpful and knowledgeable about the nuances of the beer.
While they have a food menu with prices for their Megabits operation (described below), they don’t have prices for their beer in the taproom – perhaps as noted in a few reviews, that’s because they are a bit pricey – pints are $7 and a flight of five four-ounce pours is $12.
There were twelve beers on tap and at John’s suggestion – which was a good one – we went for two flights to get a better idea of the variety and what we liked. So we got to taste ten of the twelve beers on tap.
The favorites were Mech 47 – a hazy IPA @ 6.2ABV, Virtual Redality @5.7 and which compared favorably to the red ales which I usually order on brewery visits and the Arrakis – a spiced ale @6.3. The Pinball Pils @5.2 also was a hit. (Since they didn’t have descriptions on the Binary website, I’ve provided the links to Untapd for its reviews.)
To my recollection, we thought that all of the beers rated favorably for our personal tastes.
One reason, I’m disappointed at the lack of description of their beers is that they do a wonderful and creative job with their labels. I’ve shown three of the four mentioned above which were on the website although Arrakis wasn’t shown.
You can see that they also put a lot of creativity into the names of their brews, most of which have clever names related to technology. For example, I loved the “Wheatadore 64” as it brought back old memories!
So why not just give a brief description of each one to help the consumer?! (#4-6)
One of the most valued aspects of my idiosyncratic hobby, is the company I keep when I go Beerchasing. There are some “regulars” who’ve gone on multiple trips such as retired lawyer, Jim Westwood, members of the Faust Clan (Jack, Amy and Charlie) and former colleagues from the Schwabe firm.
The photos below are from Beerchasing at the former Burnside Brewing, Mad Sons’ Pub, Crackerjack’s Pub and The Independent Sports Bar – the first three are gone but not forgotten….a comment on the pandemic’s effect on small hospitality businesses.
While John and I had been to Cooper Mountain Ale Works in Tigard over a year ago, we mostly talked about Mount Angel Abbey issues and I didn’t get to hear much of John’s background. So as we were going through our flights I asked him (and since he is a humble guy) supplemented that with info from Linked-in.
John, since his graduation from college in 1978, has been involved in executive management of tech companies. And his impressive list of positions started the year he graduated with his first job at Timberline Systems.
Most business and professional service people know it’s a good NW firm that develops, markets, and supports accounting and management software for construction, estimating, property management, and architect/engineering industries. (See the link for the interesting history.) (#7)
In 1986 the company changed its name to Timberline Software Corporation and named John the Vice-president of Research and Development. He worked at Timberline for twenty years and the next ten in senior executive positions at WellMed and WebMD.
Since 2010, he has been self-employed as the Managing Member of
And John, like many people who already have demanding schedules also is a guy with poor refusal skills – he donates a lot of time for active roles in charitable organizations.
These have included the Assistance League of Portland Advisory Council, Special Olympics-Oregon (Chair of the Board since 2014) and the Abbey Foundation of Oregon where he just completed two years as President of the Board and still serves on the Executive Committee.
He and his wife, Sharon, are world-wide travelers and sports people. The left picture is high on the Eiger in Switzerland, while below right shows John scuba diving in Cuba. (#8 – #9)
From May 7th to the 20th John and Sharon Meek and others from the Northwest will join Fr. Odo Recker, O.S.B., and Fr. Timothy Kalange, O.S.B., – two Benedictine monks from the Mount Angel Abbey on a 12-day pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine!
Since my technology skills were never significantly honed and have diminished further since retirement, I tried to impress John (having checked my 9th grade math primer before our visit).
When our tab came to $29, I casually mentioned that it was the equivalent of $11101 in the binary system. I then showed him conceptually, my work for the conversion:
- Divide the number by 2.
- Get the integer quotient for the next iteration.
- Get the remainder for the binary digit.
- Repeat the steps until the quotient is equal to 0. (#10)
If only I had Cue Math when I was in 9th grade!
He told me that I should stick to conversations comparing lagers to ales and the nuances thereof…..
We didn’t eat on this trip but Megabits – the in-house restaurant which has an eclectic menu. It includes a number of slider options, three “big” salads and plenty of small bites such as mac & cheese, deviled eggs and cheese curds. Prices appear to be reasonable and the ratings on individual social media and news commentary are good.
Initially, Binary was the only brew pub in downtown Beaverton, but since their opening others have proliferated. They now include Beaverton taprooms for nearby Loyal Legion, Von Ebert, Ex Novo, Great Notion and the (ever-expanding) Steeple Jack Breweries.
Binary is therefore trying to build a “community” through its Mug Club and a number of events which appear to be interesting and creative. (#11-13)
John and I will have to return to check out the patio and see how proficient we are on the Godzilla and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pinball machines and whether we can use artificial intelligence to help! We both thought Binary Brewing was a good experience with very drinkable beers and good ambiance. (#14)
External Photo Attribution
#1 Binary Brewery Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=445502577557729&set=a.402923055149015).
#2 Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (Horace Greeley restored – Horace Greeley – Wikipedia) This file was provided to Wikimedia Commons by the National Archives and Records Administration as part of a cooperation project. The National Archives and Records Administration provides images depicting American and global history which are public domain or licensed under a free license.
#3 Binary Brewery Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/binarybrewingco/photos/pb.).
#4 – #6 (https://www.binarybrewing.co/beers)
#7 Mount Angel Abbey Annual Report (https://abbeyfoundationoforegon-annualreport.org/)
#8 – #9 Courtesy of John Meek
#10 Cue Math Website (https://www.cuemath.com/numbers/29-in-binary/)
#11 – #13 Binary Brewing Website (https://www.binarybrewing.co/s/stories).
#14 Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons ((Wikimedia Commons (File:BinaryData.jpg – Wikimedia Commons) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Author: Sérgio Valle Duarte 1999.)