What’s Old is New, McMinnville, Oregon

BY MATT WASTRADOWSKI 

When the husband-and-wife team of Jeff and Kelly Glodt were looking to expand their Willamette Valley restaurant business a few years back, they liked the community they found in Grain Station Brew  Works—just three years old at the time— housed in a former timber barn near downtown McMinnville, Oregon. 

They liked the spacious layout of the brewpub, appreciated its sprawling patio space, and enjoyed the plentiful parking—all laid-back contrasts to McMinnville’s more crowded Third Street corridor less than a half-mile away. They also admired the character of the pub’s surroundings: old grain elevators, silos, warehouses and other industrial spaces that collectively had been a hub for regional agriculture as far back as the early 20th century—and which had been converted to stores and tasting rooms in recent years. 

To Jeff, the seven-block-long neighborhood—also known as the Granary District—harkened back to McMinnville’s industrial past and offered a glimpse at its resourceful future. 

“The McMinnville area has some true industry,” Jeff says. “And that’s the backbone of that area.” 

The Glodts purchased Grain Station Brew Works in 2016 and, in the years since, have established the pub as a place where visitors can connect—with each other, with the area’s history and with the entrepreneurs who call the area home. 

Today, the repurposed Granary District bustles with the optimistic energy of a neighborhood still figuring itself out—but which is on its way to becoming a top destination around town. The district’s slate of brewpubs, wineries and even a creative coffee shop providing the perfect pour graces a quarter-mile stretch of McMinnville’s Alpine Avenue. And, in a neat twist for McMinnville, it doesn’t necessarily begin with wine. Grain Station Brew Works sits at the southwest corner of the district, close to downtown, and is one of two breweries in the neighborhood. (The other is Heater Allen Brewing, acclaimed for its German- and Czech-style lagers; check the brewery’s website to see if its taproom, closed since 2020, has reopened.) Grain Station brews dialed in takes on classic styles—such as hefeweizens, pilsners, IPAs and stouts—and sources most of its hops from a grower in nearby St. Paul. 

Sharing a building with Grain Station is Flag & Wire—which has been the neighborhood’s lone coffee roaster since 2013; today, Flag & Wire’s cozy shop pours a wide variety of curated coffee drinks, dishes out pastries from a local baker and boasts plenty of natural light, thanks to a pair of garage doors that roll up whenever Mother Nature cooperates. On those sunny afternoons, the shop’s patio makes a fun place to people-watch while sipping an artisan espresso. 

Of course, this is McMinnville—so, naturally, a half-dozen or so wineries and tasting rooms dot the district. You can’t go wrong, wherever you wind up, but a few stand out: Brittan Vineyards’ chic tasting room promises a relaxed environment where visitors can try the winery’s estate-grown chardonnay and single-block pinot noir. The Goodfellow Family Cellars tasting room, meanwhile, spotlights wines crafted from non-irrigated, sustainably farmed grapes grown in long-running vineyards around town. And for an up-close look at how it’s all done, oenophiles can make an appointment at Westrey Wine Company, which pours its varietals in space shared with a production winery. 

At the far northeastern corner of the neighborhood sits Mac Market, an innovative gathering space that hosts local chefs, vendors, and a friendly bar that boasts eight beer taps, six wine taps, a full cocktail menu and an on-site bottle shop. Because, after sipping your way through the enterprising neighborhood, chances are good you’ll want to bring a taste of the Granary District home. 

Learn more about McMinnville’s Granary District at granarydistrict.com. Plan your visit to McMinnville at visitmcminnville.com.