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Case Study: Level Beer

Kid- and pet-friendly Level Beer, opened recently in Portland, Oregon, is helmed by industry veterans who wanted a place where they could ply their craft, hang out with their families, and work to make pale ale cool again.

John Holl Nov 4, 2019 - 11 min read

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Before Geoffrey Phillips, Jason Barbee, and Shane Watterson opened Level Beer on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon, two years ago, they had a pretty clear idea of what they wanted the brewery to be. Both Waterson and Barbee are long-time brewers. They met while working at Deschutes Brewery in Bend many years ago. Phillips is the owner of venerable local beer bar Bailey’s Taproom.

They wanted to focus on balance, reinventing old-school styles, and working at a brewery that would suit not only their professional desires but also allow them to spend time with their families.


“Low-key family-friendly is what we wanted,” Barbee says. That and “to make pale ale cool again.”

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John Holl is the author of Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint, and has worked for both Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and All About Beer Magazine.