Brewing up a good time

By Nancy Tannler

The sleepy little Montavilla neighborhood has blossomed in the past few years and one of the new businesses that has become an anchor for the burgeoning hub is Montavilla Brew Works, 7805 SE Stark St.

In July, owners Michael and Melissa Kora will celebrate their one year anniversary with special festivities the weekend of July 15, – 17 and everyone 21 and older is invited.

The Koras moved to the Montavilla neighborhood from Michigan. Like many young people, they were looking for a change and wanted to do something in an environment where entrepreneurs had opportunity.

Michael worked as a professional drummer in Detroit before moving to Oregon where he started working for the Ponzi Vineyards. His interest in the production and business of the alcohol trade was piqued and he got a gig at Bridgeport where he began learning more about it.

Making home brew was a hobby until he began studying beer-making in earnest. He read everything he could on the subject, learned more from his job and the connections he made in the industry but his successes came from trial and error. He is mostly self-taught with a long apprenticeship.

Putting together the Montavilla Brew Works took time but a drummer knows the importance of timing. The Koras wrote their five year business plan in 2012.

Michael had been watching a building for years on his way to work. It was built in 1922 and a man named bob Dougherty owned it until he sold it to Dave Beets.

Over the years it was used as a car garage with the house adjacent to it a residence. When Beets decided to have the Koras as tenants, people were interested in the space, but he thought the community would be best served with this new business.

The couple put a lot of energy and care into painting, remodeling, building, decorating and constructing the brewery to make it what it is today: a very welcoming place for people to enjoy fine handcrafted beer, get to know the people in their neighborhood, city and the world of Montavilla.

From years working as a musician, Michael knew the bar scene and made decisions about how he wanted Montavilla Brew Works to operate that would encourage a different kind of experience.

There are no big screen tv’s to distract people from real life; no hard alcohol is served so business hours don’t effect the neighbors and there’s no smoking, not even on the patio.

Michael and Melissa Kora
Michael and Melissa Kora

The Koras also decided not to have a kitchen. Customers are welcome to bring in their own food or purchase the snacks they carry at the bar.

These are unique features of the business, but what makes Montavilla Brew Works special are the handcrafted beers.

“After serving my brews for a year I gauged the neighborhood’s favorites,” Michael said. “They’ve become our main flagship beers and I always have those on tap.”

Stick and Frame is a blonde ale that gives a nod to all the construction work that took place inside the brewery. Red Krush is a red ale.

Flam Tap was awarded one of the top ten IPA’s in Portland. The name refers to  a drum beat that’s the 22nd rudiment, when the drummer is ready to start reading music.

Coincidentally it was Montavilla Brew Works 22nd brew in the new system.

The Lil’ Righteous is an ISA India Session Ale that contains about one half the alcohol as others, but retains the flavor.

Montavilla Brew Works has 13 beers on tap, they sell kegs and growlers to go and will grow the distribution over time.

The business has brought a bright, new energy to this corner of Montavilla and the owners look forward to meeting and serving you.

Montavilla Brew Works is at 7805 SE Stark St. Phone is 503.954.3440. They are closed Monday and their hours vary. See for more. 

Brewing up a good time

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