APR/MAY 2005 | REGIONAL | PACIFIC
By Lisa Morrison
Bend Hits 10
Bend Brewing Company (one of the "other" breweries
thriving in the shadow of Deschutes Brewing in this central
Oregon community) quietly has been brewing up many a local's
favorite beer for a decade — as of February 26. That's
quite an accomplishment for this tiny nine-barrel system and
for Tonya Cornett, the brewer for the past three years, who
says she brewed "to capacity" at 922 barrels of
beer last year.
"It's like brewing in a hallway," Tonya laughs.
Still, Tonya found enough space and time to create four new
brews during the brewery's "birthday month" —
releasing a new one each week in FeBREWary to keep the festivities
The first of the month saw Axe Head Red, a hoppy Northwest
red ale that was a tribute to the Bend Fire Department, which
celebrated 100 years of service the same month Bend Brewing
was turning 10.
Next up was Outback X, "an imperial version of our Outback
Ale, an old ale," Tonya says.
Hop Head, a popular seasonal, was re-released for the third
week in February. "I am going to start brewing that one
a bit more often," Tonya says. "It's so popular;
people keep asking for it." But don't look for Hop Head
to be a regular on tap. "I want it to stay special,"
Finally, on the last Saturday of the month and Bend's official
birthday, Tonya released Black Jack Porter, which had been
aged in a Jack Daniel barrel for nine months.
"It was a big success," Tonya says of both the
Black Jack Porter and the birthday bash. "It was standing
room only all day long at the pub, with a two-hour wait when
the music started. We just don't see that here. For us, that's
And so is 10 years of beer and cheers. Here's to sipping
into the next decade with Bend Brewing Company.
New Brewpub Takes "Roots"
Longtime Oregon brewer Craig Nicholls has a new boss: himself.
After brewing for Alameda Brewing in Portland, Big Horse
Brewing in Hood River and the now-defunct Port Halling brewpub
in Gresham, and then contract brewing for Cool Runnings restaurant
in Portland, Nicholls has opened his own place.
Roots Brewing Company is situated between Hawthorne Boulevard
and Division Street on Southeast 7th Avenue, right in the
heart of Southeast Portland, one of the most craft beer–friendly
areas in the state.
Nicholls and partner Jason McAdam, a former McMenamin's brewer,
are going completely organic — making Roots the first
certified organic brewpub in Oregon.
"Even the food is organic," Nicholls says.
In addition to being certified organic, the brews, according
to Nicholls, will feature some unusual ingredients, along
with some familiar favorites. Look for Nicholls to once again
brew his popular heather ale, and don't be surprised if he
sneaks some other tasty herbs or flowers into upcoming seasonals.
Nicholls has long been a supporter of sustainable agriculture
and brewing. He was a big part of an organic brewing symposium
a few years back and also launched the Organic Ale Festival
while he was working at Port Halling. Nicholls says that festival
will come back as soon as Roots, well, takes root.
Trying to Reason With Festival Season
This is the time of year when I really wish my friend Scott
Fox would make good on his promise and invent the LiverPak
— instead of just dreaming about it. In Scott's mind,
the LiverPak would somehow quick-connect to your body (that's
the tricky part) and be worn like a small backpack. The LiverPak
would assume your liver functions while you are beer tasting,
thereby sparing your own precious organ. The way I see it,
the LiverPak could easily replace tie-dyed T-shirts as the
most popular beer-fest gear.
Having just come off Eugene's KLCC beer festival, the Spring
Beer & Wine Festival in Portland and a brand-new St. Patrick's
Day beer festival in Pioneer Courthouse Square, I know the
LiverPak could come in quite handy. There's an ever-so brief
lull before the big summer festing season kicks in.
Always held the Saturday after Memorial Day (this year, it's
June 4), the Sasquatch Brew Fest in Eugene is quickly becoming
the "opening act" for the summer beer-fest season
Only in its third year, the fest is a fund-raiser for the
Glen Hay Falconer Scholarship Foundation, a nonprofit organization
set up to honor Falconer, who was the head brewer at the now-defunct
Wild Duck brewery before he died in an accident in 2002. The
foundation plans this year to award two full-tuition scholarships
to Pacific Northwest brewers to attend the World Brewing Academy
Concise Course in Brewing Technology at the Siebel Institute
in Chicago. Visit sasquatchbrewfest.org
for more details on the fest and the foundation.
Next up is the Portland International Beer Festival, July
15–17, once again in the shady North Park Blocks in
downtown Portland. Touting "the greatest beers in the
world you've never heard of," the PIB features world-class
brews from about 15 different countries — and even a
few from right around the block. More info is available at
You get about a week to tune up that LiverPak before it's
time for the 18th annual Oregon Brewers Festival and the growing
number of events surrounding it. This year, the OBF, always
the last full weekend in July, has been extended an extra
day. Festivities will start at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, July
28, and end at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, giving "festers"
several more hours for tasting the wares of the 72 breweries
on hand for the event.
Portland's perennial publican, Don Younger, will bring back
the On the Edge Tour during the OBF this year. Designed to
showcase Oregon's smaller, lesser-known breweries, the tour
last year was held at the Horse Brass Pub, the New Old Lompoc
brewpub and its tied house, Hedge House. Younger wants to
expand that this year — and with him working behind
the scenes, you never know what might happen. Check this column
next time for more details.
Another event that's in the works is the first-ever "Brew
Am" — a beer-and-golf tourney at the McMenamin's
Edgefield golf course. The Brew Am (very loosely patterned
after a "Pro-Am" tournament) will partner beer fans
with their favorite brewers for a round of golf, several rounds
of beer and a host of fun the morning before the OBF starts
(that would be Thursday, July 28, for those who are calendar-challenged).
Proceeds go to the Falconer Scholarship Foundation mentioned
earlier in this column. Details on this one are fermenting
as I type, so write firstname.lastname@example.org for updates and information
on how to sign up.
Beer Biz Bits
BridgePort might have closed its doors for a huge remodel,
but the brewery is busier than ever. Around mid-April, BridgePort
will expand sales to Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota,
Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The
expansion puts BridgePort's award-winning ales in a total
of 18 states.
One-hundred-ninety-five-million bottles of beer on the wall:
It's not quite as easy to sing as the old classic tune, but
it sure has a nice ring to it when you discover that it is
the approximate number of bottles brewed by Oregon's 69 breweries
last year. The Oregon Brewers Guild reported recently that
beer production increased in the state by more than 50,000
barrels, up to 591,000 barrels (or 195 million bottles).
That's great news for beer lovers, brewers and brewery owners
for sure, but it's also great news for the state's economy.
Oregon's breweries offer family-wage jobs, are a lure for
tourism, and support other related industries, such as agriculture,
wholesalers, distributors and retailers. The OBG reported
that the state’s beer industry has an economic impact
of $2.24 billion annually.
So, the next time you hoist your favorite Oregon brew, remember
that you also are contributing to a healthy economy. Now that's
something to toast!
Portland-based beer writer Lisa Morrison
contributes to the local economy one pint at a time. You can
"talk beer" with her at email@example.com.