Brewery owner Brian Whitehead on a "Thirst Rescue" mission
That's because Whitehead
(attorney by day and entrepreneur by night) has the uncanny knack of choosing road trips that end with a whole lot of work and a whole lot of fun.
said Thomas took the idea and ran with it, deciding to use a lager yeast and a longer fermentation period to create a lighter-bodied porter that could support the additional flavors.
"Porter can be very heavy," Whitehead
"He has a knack for making a good beer," Whitehead said of Thomas, who joined Rusty Truck from Pelican Pub & Brewery last May.
In order to accommodate Thomas' desire to create crisp, clear beers, Whitehead
invested in new equipment to allow the brews to mature in fermenters rather than in the kegs, a process that makes for less sediment.
A critical case for the Thirst Rescue crew
The brewery's latest offering is the Nelscott Reefer Smoked Hempeweizen, a German wheat beer made with not only hemp seed but also smoked malt - to give it a slightly smokey flavor that Whitehead
said is to remind people of bonfires at the beach.
In addition to seasonal offerings like the Hempeweizen
aims to bottle and distribute some of the brewery's year round favorites, including its IPA, amber and blackberry ale, the last of which is made with one of the coast's most characteristic ingredients.
"We are trying to use ingredients that are local and indigenous to the area," he
"What if not for blackberries?
They are everywhere.
You can't get rid of the damn things."
So far, the brewery has created 17 different beers and, in order to keep up with the demand for unique craft brews, Whitehead
has set aside one of the 10-barrel fermenters for "Brewer's Whim" - essentially, whatever catches Thomas' imagination.
And that brings us to Exhibit B in the case of Whitehead
madcap road trips: the Thirst Rescue vehicle.
chanced across the 1966 Suburban, a former Pedee rural fire mountain rescue vehicle with just 6,000 original miles on the clock, at the side of the road during a motorcycle ride through Kings Valley.
pulled over and started to negotiate with the owner about the $5,000 price tag only to find out that several other buyers had already offered full price and were on their way back with the cash.
A quick whip 'round among Whitehead
five biking buddies yielded $660, enough to persuade the seller to hold the truck for them.
Now restored, the truck boasts a new engine, siren and beacon, but the real action is around the side, where jockey box beer taps offer liquid refreshment to those in need on Lincoln City's beaches.
"We go down to the beach and will thirst rescue people by giving them beer," Whitehead
"Dehydration is bad for you."
The Thirst Rescue rig, which also pops up at beer festivals throughout the state, is one of a fleet of distinctive vehicles at the brewery, including a pair of flatbed trucks that double as a stage for bands, and a refrigerated 1956 Ford
with 16 beer taps along the side.
"Most guys are in love with old trucks for some reason," Whitehead
said "but they are stupid.
They get horrible gas mileage.
Now I have a good reason to have them."
is currently in the process of restoring yet another old truck to add to the fleet, a task that's sure to keep him busy - at least until the next road trip rolls around.
son Brandon's project car was a 1958 Chevy, but thanks to some City code issues, the tools used on their "project" were shovels and wheelbarrows, and the smell in the air was road paint.
When the dust finally settled, father and son had a bonding experience, a good story, and the name of their new business, the Rusty Truck Brewery.
The Chevy, which was used in parades and as a mobile stage, had the name of Brian's restaurant and blues bar, Roadhouse 101, emblazoned on the door.
When not in use the truck sat in the restaurant parking lot, highly visible to passersby on Highway 101.
And then Brian
received a letter from the City.
"The city code enforcement people told me I had to remove it because we couldn't use it as a sign," he
put some cardboard over the door.
then received a notice that he
had to remove the truck because it was "abandoned," so he
sent pictures of it being driven in a parade and up to date license and registration information.
spent a lot of money to get this place built right.