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.
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.
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.
Foreword, by Gary Fish
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
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.