Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon. Get it!

Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon by Jon Abernathy is out today and if you have any interest in Bend and Central Oregon history and, in particular, the region’s history of brewing then you need this book.

It is currently “the definitive” book on brewing in Central Oregon, but I know even Jon wants more answers to some things. There is more he could not fit due to space constraints. Such is book authorship.

I heartily and fully recommend this book.

Cover of Bend Beer by Jon Abernathy. Photo by Gina Schauland.

Cover of Bend Beer by Jon Abernathy. Photo by Gina Schauland.

That said, and with hopefully more to come, some caveats are in order (whether required by the man or not): Jon Abernathy is my friend. I read the book ~1.5 times while it was being written and finalized. I read the first half through and then, when given the whole, read it over again from the start. Sara read the whole thing also. In fact, for part of our editing sessions I read it out loud and I made notes as either caught something.

This reading was in editing mode. Nonetheless, I saw so many (informationally) juicy bits that answer questions I’ve had and/or provide another angle into several other seriously “itchy” unanswered ones. I am really looking forward to sitting down with our copy and making notes for me instead of for the author. 😉 Jon has seriously extended my knowledge. But often better knowledge only leads to better/different questions. [Do not mistake that “juicy” for ‘the book contains “the dirt”‘ on anyone’s favorite brewery. That is not the case; Jon is not a mudslinger.] Also, our copy was given to us. OK, I think that’s all the disclosure needed.

Media and such:

The book’s website which includes author signing events.

Jon’s announcement at his beer blog, The Brew Site, which lists 8 locations in Bend to buy a physical copy, one in Portland, and several online links.

An interview with the author at #pdxbeergeeks.

If Facebook is your thing.

I hope to have more to say/review the book once I have re-read it on my own terms. Seems only fair.

The first couple of chapters give us good insight into the history of the region, including alcohol and Prohibition, and bring us up to Deschutes Brewery’s founding in 1988. There was brewing in Central Oregon well before 1988. It just wasn’t in Bend. Or for long.

I, personally, still have questions, in particular, about beer in Bend (and Central Oregon, generally) prior to Prohibition in 1916 [Even more particularly, before 1907-ish]. Jon has chased down an awful lot of history and done us great service, but I hope to infect him with my questions and perhaps we can both work at chasing down more answers and more interesting questions. 😀

Throughout these chapters we learn about the various industries that have driven Bend and its frequent, rapid growth.

In the next few chapters, we learn about Deschutes, the second wave of breweries, and the explosion of breweries and beer tourism. It truly is a heady ride.

Sara and I have only been here in Bend a bit over 2 years but the number of breweries in Central Oregon has more than doubled since we arrived; a good percentage of them in Bend.

Contents:

Foreword, by Gary Fish
Preface
Acknowledgments

1. Beer on the Frontier: Saloons, Isolation and Homesteads on the High Desert
2. Prohibition on the High Desert
3. Timber Town: The Boom Years
4. Recreation and Tourism
5. Laying Foundations: Deschutes Brewery and Other Pioneers
6. The Second Wave
7. The Brewery Explosion and the Rise of Beer Tourism
8. Beer Town, USA

Appendix. Timeline
Bibliography
Index
About the Author

The foreword is by Gary Fish, founder of Deschutes Brewery, and the gorgeous cover photo is by Gina Schauland, of Deschutes Brewery and Central Oregon Beer Angels.

I encourage you to buy a copy but the local libraries ought have copies fairly quickly. I asked our collection development librarian at COCC Barber Library to order a copy or two this morning. I also poked Deschutes Public Library via Twitter. Others should feel free to request their local libraries acquire it. In the meantime, there are lots of places to grab a copy locally and several online.

Deschutes Mirror Mirror 2014 release

Today is release day for Deschutes much-anticipated Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve barrel-aged barley wine. It has been 5 years since it was last released. This past Dec 20th I had some of the 2009 Mirror Mirror at a Solstice Barley Wine Night party we had at our place and it was quite tasty so I was definitely looking forward to this release.

Mirror Mirror 2014 Release barley wine at Deschutes Brewery barrel works

Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve barley wine at Deschutes Brewery barrel works

The same friend who brought the 2009 Mirror Mirror to our barley wine party, the ever personable Jon Abernathy, invited me as his +1 to an invitation-only media event held yesterday at Deschutes barrel works, celebrating the release of the Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve. We got to chat with founder Gary Fish and barrel master and brewer Ryan [sorry, failed to catch his last name].

Deschutes founder, Gary Fish, and barrel master/brewer Ryan, talking to us about the Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve barley wine

Deschutes founder, Gary Fish, and barrel master/brewer Ryan, talking to us about the Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve barley wine

They talked about Mirror Mirror, the Reserve Series, the new Pub Reserve Series, the barrel works, upcoming plans for beers, and answered questions while we sampled the new 2014 Mirror Mirror. Next we tried some of the first Pub Reserve Series beer Big Red. And finally we got to try some future Not the Stoic right out of the rye barrel it is aging in. It was a grand time, the beers were all world class, and I learned a lot. Thanks, Deschutes and Jon!

Deschutes Brewery barrel works, cold side

Deschutes Brewery barrel works, cold side

Deschutes Brewery barrel works, warm side for sours and those beauties needing warmer temps of 70 degrees

Deschutes Brewery barrel works, warm side for sours and those beauties needing warmer temps of 70 degrees

Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve Barley Wine was the first of the Deschutes Reserve Series and was previously released in 2005 & 2009. It was “born of a double batch of Mirror Pond Pale Ale, [and] is an inspired barley wine ale layered with intriguing nuances. Explore the latest incarnation and enjoy its delicious complexity in every sip.” It is 11/2% ABV and has 53 IBUs. It is brewed with English malts and Cascade and Millennium hops. Fifty percent was aged for 10 months in oak barrels that once held Oregon Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, and Malbec wines. [All info from the one-sheet they provided.]

Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve barley wine

Mirror Mirror 2014 Reserve barley wine

I hope to get about 5-6 bottles of this and sit on them for 6-months, 1 year, 2 years through to 4-5 years. I expect quite delicious things to develop. I suggest you get to one of the pubs and try this fresh on draft and then put aside a bottle or two for at least 6 months. Keep in mind that even Deschutes recommends waiting a year as the bottles have a “Best After” 24 February 2015 date on them. I’m willing to “sacrifice” a bottle at 6-months to see how it is developing but my main interest in this vintage is in the 1 to 5-year-old range.

The Pub Reserve Series was quietly released at the end of last year. These bottles are only available at both of the pubs and the breweries’ tasting room. “It’s no secret that our brewers love to experiment in the pub brewhouses, and this new series celebrates that passion with some never-seen-before, single-batch brews. First up is Big Red, a double Cinder Cone Red, aged in Cabernet and Syrah barrels. The next pub Reserve beer will be Planète Rouge, a blended sour red ale – releasing March 24, 2014.” [All info from the one-sheet they provided.]

The Big Red, an Imperial Red Ale, is shaping up quite nicely already. We had a sample at the Deschutes Pub on 31 December when it was released and picked up a bottle for some light aging. It has a “best by” 1 Dec 2014 date and based on how it has already matured I think I’ll give it another 3-4 months. If you are interested in this you had best grab it soon at either of Deschutes pubs in Bend or Portland or at the tasting room at the brewery.

After they discussed the Pub Reserve Series, I asked Gary and Ryan if the Portland Pub beers would be available at the tasting room. They clarified that these beers are brewed in both pubs, in this case barrel-aged, and then shipped to the brewery where they are blended and then bottled for sale. So they truly are a collaboration between the two pub brewers. I know I need to learn more about the Portland pub brewer but we adore Veronica Vega and her Bend pub beers!

The Not the Stoic will be a barrel-aged, Belgian-style quad, due in April if I remember correctly. It is aging in several different barrels and we got ours straight out of a rye barrel. I hope once it’s blended some of those rye notes remain, along with whatever other intriguing notes they get from the other barrels.

Not the Stoic straight out of the rye barrel

Not the Stoic straight out of the rye barrel

Again, thanks so much Deschutes Brewery and Jon for including me.

Oh yeah. We each got to bring a bottle home.

And as final photo teasers here are some true beauties to salivate over in your dreams while we wait for some future release:

The Abyss Imperial Stout. But is this 2014 or 2015?

The Abyss Imperial Stout. But is this 2014 or 2015?

 

Pub Imperial Bitter sitting in a spanish sherry cask. OMG! Please let me find this at the Bend pub whenever it is released.

Pub Imperial Bitter sitting in a spanish sherry cask. OMG! Please let me find this at the Bend pub whenever it is released.