Brewmaster John Harris of Ecliptic Brewing

Brewmaster John Harris of Ecliptic

Oregon has more craft breweries per capita than any other place in the country, and John Harris has been a part of the Portland brewing community for over 30 years.

After beginning as a brewer at McMenamins’ breweries, he moved to Deschutes where he created the recipes for Mirror Pond, Black Butte Porter, Jubelale and Obsidian Stout.  He spent the next 20 years of his career as a Brewmaster at Full Sail in charge of creating the Brewmaster Reserve line of beers.  The creation of Ecliptic Brewing was the next chapter in John’s illustrious career.

The name Ecliptic Brewing unites John’s two passions:  brewing and astronomy.  The ecliptic is earth’s yearly path around the sun.  The centerpiece of the pub is a massive light fixture in the shape of the Analemma, represents the path through the seasons. They celebrate this journey with beer and food menus in constant change and rotation throughout the year.  Their seasonal menu rotates every 6 weeks on the old world calendar:  Samhain, Winter Solstice, Brighid, Spring Equinox, Beltaine, Summer Solstice, Lammas and the Autumnal Equinox.

I met John when I brewed with him during my brewing internship at Full Sail. I can’t thank him enough for showing me around both the brewery and the Oregon Brewers Festival, pulling beers out of his hidden brewmaster’s reserve cooler for me, as well as the opportunity to hang out with him again at the Great American Beer Festival.   He was a tremendously nice guy and obviously had a lot of knowledge about brewing. It wasn’t until I met others in the Portland/Oregon brewing community that I learned how well respected John was and that he won the Brewers Association Russell Schehrer Award for innovation in 2001. Many of the recipes he developed are still in production, even years later, at McMenamin’s and Deschutes.

Some little know facts about John include his side t-shirt business – www.bondsthatplease.com – as well as his love of my hometown’s Beer Nuts, which I’ve shipped him several times as a thank you for showing me around Portland and GABF.  Oh, and his birthday is always right around the same time as the Oregon Brewers Festival (end of July).