Childhood friends R.J. Mills and Arin Forrest come home to bring their dream to life in the Umpqua Valley’s growing brewery scene.
Story by Nate Hansen Photos by Thomas Boyd
The Umpqua Valley’s burgeoning craft brewery scene added another destination last November when North Forty Beer Co. opened in downtown Roseburg.
North Forty is a dream brought to life by lifelong friends R.J. Mills and Arin Forrest, who met when they were Joseph Lane Middle School students. They stayed close through college and beyond and started brewing beer a decade ago in Portland. That was the conceptual beginning of what would become North Forty.
By 2014, Forrest and Mills had moved back to Roseburg and were brewing full time, with their sights set on opening their own brewery in their hometown.
Four years later, the duo had purchased the former Northwest Outdoors storefront on Jackson Street and spent most of 2018 converting the 4,000-square-foot space to Roseburg’s largest brewpub.
The welcoming, two-story pub features soaring ceilings, a large bar and views of the large brewery tanks. When the weather allows it, the pub’s garage-door-style front “windows” can be raised to create an open-air feel. For food service, the pub teamed with Smokin’ Friday BBQ — a local favorite that opened its second Roseburg location inside North Forty.
Then, of course, there’s the beer. North Forty’s taps cover the usual craft beer spectrum with unusual quality — pale, red, IPA, stout, seasonals and others. And it’s all brewed onsite. Ciders and non-alcoholic drinks are on the menu, too.
Response to the new brewery has been enthusiastic, according to Mills, who says he is equally excited to be part of a business community that is teeming with potential.
“Roseburg is ripe for growth and opportunity,” he says. “The people here are authentic, real. Being part of the growth that is coming, and helping to provide jobs and attract tourists, all played roles in us wanting to move back and open North Forty.”
With North Forty up and running, Mills and Forrest are focused on a new mission — helping put Roseburg’s beer community on the national map. North Forty will host regular events that showcase new and limited-release beers.
“We want the community to grow, and we want to be there growing with it,” Mills says.
North Forty is at 435 S.E. Jackson St. in downtown Roseburg. To learn more, go online to northfortybeer.com or just stop by and try it.