Welcome to another installment of the Oregon Brewery Running Series PodcastInspiring Oregonians to Get Active, Have Fun, and Give Back. We host family-friendly, 5K fun runs that start and end at some of Oregon’s best breweries.


Today on the podcast, we’re talking all about the brewing and community philosophy at 54-40 Brewing in Washougal Washington with the owner and head brewer, Bolt Minister. We’ll discuss how his history degree turned into a love for craft beer, and how that combined with his love of family and community morphed into his desire to own and operate a brewery and tap room.

Bolt shares the origin of the name 54-40, as well as his technique for making and naming beer. We’ll also look towards the future at some new stuff the brewery is cooking up, and hear a little bit about Bolt’s vision for the southwest Washington beer scene.

We’re running there on October 13 of 2018, and if you want to join us, listen carefully to today’s episode. I share a few promo codes that will be good for free and discounted entries! So keep listening and get your registration clicking fingers ready.

Who is Bolt Minister?

Bolt was born and raised in Vancouver, Washington. After high school, he took a job with the family business, as a land surveyor because, he didn’t know what else to do. After his wife finished her nursing degree, it was time for him to go to college and get his degree. He thought he was going to be a history teacher, but found himself writing all of his papers on the history of German immigrants and the beer they brewed.

Bolt Minister and Nathan Freeburg

Bolt has worked at Rock Bottom Brewery in Portland, Walking Man Brewing, Portland Brewing, but what put him on the map was his time at Old Town Brewing. There, he won a couple of prestigious awards, and this cemented this idea of someday maybe opening his place.

About 54-40 Brewing and Their Beer

In 2015, Bolt and a business partner opened 54-40 brewing in Washougal, WA. Washougal is a beautiful 30-minute drive from my house in inner south-east Portland. It’s not far from the heart of the Portland Beer scene.

There’s an interesting bit of American history wrapped up in the name. It came from a campaign slogan of James K Polk when he was running for president in the 1840’s. Bolt told me,

…one of the points in his platform was, he was going to take the Oregon territory and they were going to take the entirety of the Oregon territory. That meant everything up to the 54-40 line. So the slogan was “54-40 or fight.”

They ended up settling on the 49th parallel, which is our current border with Canada.

I sampled four different beers with Bolt while we chatted. You’ll have to listen to the full interview to get the descriptions straight from the brewer (start around the 16-minute mark)!

54-40 Brewing Beer Cans

  • Tropical Jucy Pop
  • The Hoppit
  • To Bavaria with Love
  • Berry-Nice

About Us

The Oregon Brewery Running Series is about inspiring Oregonians to Get Active, Have Fun, and Give Back. We host family-friendly, 5K fun runs that start and end at some of Oregon’s best breweries. Register for our next run here! Use promo code ‘5450Five,’ and you’ll save $5 off your entry. Our theme music, the Oregon Song, is written and performed by James Hoffman.