A rising star brewer in Salem, Oregon - Family owned and offering award winning beers!
After years of homebrewing, Radtke brothers, Mike, Nick and Matt, and their father Lee, decided to turn their shared hobby into a family business. They established Gilgamesh Brewing Company in 2009, turning a section of Lee’s woodworking shop into a small seven barrel production facility in the woods of Turner, Oregon, and after just three years, they outgrew their in-home brewery and moved into their current 2.5 acre facility, named ‘The Campus,’ in Salem, Oregon. Here, the Radtke family uses a state-of-the-art, high efficiency brewing system to craft creative yet classic craft beer styles, and with the large events yard and full restaurant and patio adjacent to Pringle Creek, it’s no wonder that Gilgamesh has become a favorite destination for Salem locals.
What adds to the character of the brewery is that the interior of the restaurant was designed and built by the Radtke family, which features a stunning spalted alder bar, Norfolk pine tables, and is accented by heat-treated steel throughout to match the handcrafted tap handles. Gilgamesh Brewing is truly a family affair, from brewing to building, and it’s clear the Radtkes are very passionate about what they do.
The name of the brewery, by the way, was inspired by the Epic of Gilgamesh, which was written 4,500 years ago and told the story of the Sumerian demi god, King Gilgamesh. To distract the tyrannical King Gilgamesh, the gods created a bestial heathen named Enkidu to challenge the great king, but King Gilgamesh sent a temptress to meet with Enkidu and present him with beer, bread and earthly pleasures, turning the heathen into a man. Enkidu and King Gilgamesh later became friends, drank lots of beer, battled beasts, and went in search of eternal life. It is Gilgamesh Brewing’s philosophy to bring a sense of community, build relationships and make us all a little more human.
In 2019, Gilgamesh Brewing opened its second location, ‘The Woods,’ in West Salem. Brewing operations remain at ‘The Campus’ brewpub, while The Woods’ location is more about consumption, offering a bar and restaurant. The woods theme is an ode to the Radtke brothers growing up in the woods of Turner and Lee’s custom woodworking is again very apparent in the stunning new facility. The entryway and bar are even built from honey-hued Douglas fir that was harvested and milled on the family’s property in Turner. The woods theme is even found in some of the Gilgamesh beer names, such as this month’s Doug Firocious.
In the Spring of 2020, the Radtkes opened their third location, ‘The River,’ in Independence, Oregon, a brewpub serving hand-tossed pizzas as well as a selection of customer favorites from ‘The Campus’ and ‘The Woods.’ The space also includes an extensive outdoor patio and a covered stage to host live music.
The future looks especially bright for Gilgamesh Brewing, as they continue to grow and establish their place in Oregon’s craft beer scene. We hope you enjoy two of their favorite offerings - we carry them in our craft beer of the month club. Cheers!
Map of the area
1. What is ‘Krausening?’
Krausening is a conditioning method in which fermenting wort is added to the finished beer. The active yeast will restart fermentation in the finished beer, and thus introduce fresh carbon dioxide. The conditioning tank is then sealed so the carbon dioxide is dissolved into the beer, producing a lively ‘condition’ or level of carbonation. The Krausening method may also be used to condition bottled beer.
2. What is a ‘Hopback?’
A hopback is a traditional additional chamber that acts as a sieve or filter by using whole hops to clear debris from the unfermented wort, as the whirlpool does, and also to increase hop aroma in the finished beer. The hopback has, for the most part, been substituted in modern breweries by the whirlpool, which uses centrifugal force for its filtering effect.