Sunday, January 1, 2017

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Not about beer, but reubens

I have not been very successful about writing about beer regularly here. Mostly because I already write for a living, it's difficult to also spend my free time writing. Maybe I'll try a little harder to write here this year.

Regardless, I have committed to writing not about beer, but about reubens, in my free time. Why? This summer I met an employee at Deschutes Brewery who endeavored to eat 100 burgers in 100 days in Central Oregon. (You can check out his blog and the results here.)

This seemed like an amazing idea I wanted to try...but with less commitment and with a different sandwich. I love reubens, and they are usually amazing on the East Coast. They are hit or miss in Oregon, I have found.

So I thought I would try to eat every reuben in Central Oregon (but not one a day) and attempt to find the best one. I am going to track my progress here, since I don't really want to start another blog just about reubens.

What makes a good reuben? Glad you asked. I think the proportions of a sandwich are key. Too much or too little of any element -- bread, meat, cheese, sauerkraut or dressing -- and the whole thing can be not enjoyable. And if the corned beef is underwhelming, the sandwich is likely to follow suit.

I am rating each reuben on a 5-point scale, based on deliciousness and value for the price (dinner menu). It would probably be hard for me to give a reuben under a 2, unless it was missing some key component.

Anyway, here are the first seven I have eaten; stay tuned for more reubens later on!

Deschutes Brewery Pub

The effort from the biggest brewpub in Bend is a solid one. Everything in the sandwich tastes good; the meat is delicious, the gruyere cheese is good even though I am a swiss purist. The bread is pretty. You get a crap ton of fries, as you can see. 

But it's not a perfect reuben. The bread is a little on the dry side and kind of gets overpowered by the insides. And at nearly $14, this is more than I would rather pay for a reuben that doesn't blow me away. Still, I would eat this and be happy most days of the week.

Rating: 3
Price: $13.5

Bend Brewing Company

BBC on locals' night is a killer deal. Three bucks for a pint. That being said, I've never been a huge fan of the food; I always go for the beer.

The reuben is fine. It's not offensive in any way, but to look at it doesn't make you believe you are going to be eating an amazing reuben. Everything is there in good proportion.

But it's a bit of a riff on a reuben with pastrami instead of corned beef, and half of the meat is also turkey breast. I'd rather just have a perfectly executed reuben than other stuff in it.

But I am not grading on a curve because of that. It's still just a serviceable if not exciting reuben. And it's a bit on the small side.

Rating: 2.5
Price: $11.95

Cascade Lakes Brewing

The pub that is the last stop on the way to or from Mount Bachelor is not best known for its food.

But this is a pretty good reuben, despite the fact that is uses half pastrami and half turkey. Every bite was balanced with every element. It's a huge sandwich, but it does it without anything feeling out of whack.

The bread could have been grilled a bit better on the version I had, but it's definitely in the upper echelon of the area's reubens.

Rating: 3.5
Price: $11.95

Brother Jon's Alehouse

I know it's early. But this may be the best reuben in Central Oregon.

The picture I took doesn't really do the sandwich justice, but trust me, it's amazing. 

Brother Jon's makes great sandwiches. Mostly because they use great meat -- in this case beautifully shredded corned beef -- and bread. The ratios are perfect -- never too much bread or any of the other components. And despite there being a giant pile of meat, it doesn't overwhelm everything else.

I would give up every other reuben in Bend and be happy to eat this one exclusively. But the search will go on. It's also $11, which is an amazing value. I won't give it a five just because I think a 5 is nearly impossible to attain. But it probably deserves one.

Rating: 4.5
Price: $11

JDubs

JDubs is a newish spot in town that has not really succeeded in any iteration that proceeded it at its spot on Bond Street. But they have reasonably priced beer and a good menu.

That included a reuben (I had this more than a month ago, but it doesn't appear on the online menu) that I enjoyed. For some reason I was cutting calories and had a salad on this day, despite the pile of fat that is a reuben.

Everything here is well done. Great shredded corned beef, grilled bread just how I like it, good ratio of kraut and sauce. It still doesn't have the "it" factor that would lead me to believe that it was the best reuben I would have in Bend. But it was pretty damn good.

Rating: 4
Price: $11

Sunriver Brewing

Let's start here: This is not a reuben. It does have most of the elements of a reuben, but it's served as a mini-calzone, with a Thousand Island dipping sauce.

As a thing just to eat, it's nearly a 5. I would eat just the pretzel in the sauce all day and be happy. As a reuben, it's a little weird. There is way more pretzel than there is "inside stuff." Meaning not enough meat and cheese to offset all the dough.

In the exercise of grading reubens, I have to ding it for that. And it's not really a reuben. But it's still delicious.

(Note: This is from the pub in Sunriver. But they have it in their Bend pub too.)

Rating: 4
Price: $14

The Pumphouse

Don't go to Terrebonne just for the reuben.

This is not a great reuben, with sliced pastrami instead of corned beef, and just doesn't have enough "meat," both literally and figuratively.

Of course, in the middle of ranch territory, getting something other than a burger or a steak is probably sacrilege.

It gets a bonus just for being a sandwich under $10, which is nearly impossible to find at a Bend restaurant.

Rating: 2
Price: $9.95


Friday, March 6, 2015

Nearly a third of all Oregon beer comes from Central Oregon


In what might shock no one, Central Oregon makes a lot of beer.

What's up, beer world? I am giving this blog thing another go, after going on hiatus twice in the past. What better excuse to start up again than a look at last year's beer numbers which the OLCC released in  February.

Luckily, BBB alum/possible future contributor Beau Eastes already did the math for us.







My (uneducated) predictions for brewers that will move up in 2015:

Crux (No. 25)

Crux is working on getting a production facility up and running in a huge space on the east side of Bend right now (not far from where 10 Barrel is). If they aren't in the top 10 by the end of this year, I bet they will be within the next couple of years.

Baker City (No. 28)

In terms of quality, Barley Brown's might be No. 1 in Oregon right now. Every time I have one of their beers, it's memorable, and I think it's one of the best I have had for that style.

Pfriem (No. 24)

Much like Barley Brown's, Pfriem is making great beer in Hood River. They also have a cool little pub near the river. Check it out if you haven't been. In fact, spend a beer weekend in Hood River, if you haven't done that already.

Gilgamesh (No. 34)

The wife and I fell in love with this place during a trip to the coast last year....it's tucked away near the airport in Salem (still a neat spot, though). They are making lots of cool, funky beers and styles that you might find nowhere else. In the land of IPAs, that's a refreshing change.




Saturday, February 23, 2013

Another fill station: Growler Phil's on the west side

Out for my morning run today and saw this sign on Galveston:


The "Galveston corridor" (someone  actually called it that on a real estate marketing piece in my mail) is getting a fill station called "Growler Phil's" in mid-March, according to its Facebook page.
It's going to be located inside the Primal Cuts butcher shop. The fill station revolution is in full swing, as fill stations are popping up around Bend faster than brewpubs. The Brewsite has a rundown of all the Central Oregon fill stations here.

Besides the obvious play on words, Growler Phil's also near Brother Jon's. So, we like the effort put into the name.

On a sidenote, it's worth noting that Galveston is continuing to do well in supporting local businesses. My wife and I bought a house in the neighborhood four years ago. New businesses since we arrived include is a casual restaurant/pub (the aforementioned Bro Jo's) a brewpub (10 Barrel), a donut shop, a cupcake shop, a yarn shop (people must shop there, 'cause it's still open), a furniture store, and a butcher. Spork made its home on Galveston for some time, as well. And the produce stand that used to be on 14th in front of Century Center is now moving in next door to Primal Cuts this summer, as evidenced by the temporary wooden building going up now. All Galveston needs is a coffee shop...so someone please put one in at 1303 where Sugar used to be, and I'll be there every day.

Monday, February 11, 2013

New content: Central Oregon tap list


So, in case you didn't know, there's a lot of beer brewed in Bend. And until you try to list all of the types, it really is an amazing amount of beer.

We tried to put together a master list of everything you can get in the brewpubs/breweries. You can check it out here. We listed the beers, and also included links to the parts of the breweries' websites where the beers are described. Hopefully, this is a cool resource that someone will get some use out of. We'll do our best to update the list, although the links will always be there.
The taps at 10 Barrel

The final tally? So far, we're up to 130. That counts McMenamins, which doesn't actually brew all their beer here. And it doesn't include some seasonals we're still tracking down.

Regardless, that's ridiculous. You could drink one Bend beer a day for more than four months and not hit a repeat. And, in truth, you could do more than that, since seasonal taps are constantly rotating. It would be a great project to see if you could drink one unique Bend beer once a day for an entire year. Someone do that, and get back to us if it can be done.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Zwickelmania hits Bend next weekend


Zwickelmania has gotten pretty big in Oregon, and Central Oregon is no exception. The fifth annual statewide event -- in which breweries offer tours, samples, and a chance to meet brewers -- takes place this Saturday, Feb. 16 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Just about every Central Oregon brewery is taking part. Below is a rundown of C.O. happenings, with information provided by the Oregon Brewers' Guild website. I'll try to keep this updated if anybody posts any updates or more info via social media.

The coolest part is a possible shuttle bus that is theoretically supposed to hit all the Bend breweries listed below, although there aren't many details available. So you may or may not want to count on that to get around.

In case you never googled it before, a zwickel is a "sample valve" in beer/brewing terms.



10 Barrel
62970 NE 18th St
Bend OR 97701
541-585-1007
11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Full Tours, Tastings, BBQ

Bend Brewing
1019 NW Brooks St
Bend
541-383-1599
Sample the brews while getting a tour of our brewery.

Boneyard Beer
37 NW Lake Pl – Suite B
Bend OR 97701
541-323-2325
11-4pm
Details to come

Cascade Lakes Brewing Co.-7th Street Brewhouse
855 SW 7th St.
Redmond OR 97756
541-923-1795
11-4pm
Details to come

Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. The Lodge
1441 SW Chandler Ave Suite 100
Bend
541-388-4998
11-4pm
Details to come

Crux Fermentation Project
50 SW Division St
Bend OR 97701
11-4pm
Get up close and personal with samples pulled straight from the zwickel on tours given by the founders and brewers. We’ll also be featuring tastings of our soon-to-be released Imperial Stout from the very barrel it’s aging in.

Deschutes Brewery
901 SW Simpson Ave
Bend
541-385-8606
11-4pm
Brewery Open House staffed with Tour Guides throughout the facility to explain the inner workings. Brewers in the brew house chatting about recipe development and offering samples of in-process product. Zwickel tasting on the fermentation cellar floor.

GoodLife Brewing Company
70 Sw Century Drive 100-464
Bend, OR 97702
541-728-0749
11am-4pm
Head Brewer will be on-site to give one-on-one tours of one of the newest breweries in Bend. Plus free group rides on the Cycle-Pub around town.

McMenamins Old St. Francis School Brewery
700 NW Bond St
Bend
541-382-5174
11-4pm
Beers: Hammerhead (Aged with Three Rocks Rum soaked Oak spirals), Dry hopped IPA and Castle Rock Old Ale (Pouring from a Firkin) Food: House made Thai & BBQ seasoned potato chips & Cheesy popcorn

Silver Moon Brewing Co.
24 NW Greenwood Ave
Bend, OR 97701
541-388-8331
11-4pm
Brewery open house and tours, tastings of some special brews, brewers will be on hand to chat

Three Creeks Brewing
721 Desperado Ct
Sisters OR 97759
541-549-1963
11:30-4pm
Details to come

Friday, February 8, 2013

More good press about beer in Bend

As soon as I complain about a lack of respect for the craft beer scene in Bend, and I start seeing the city getting kudos from seemingly everywhere.

First, Bend gets a mention from away.com, as one of the top "beer towns" in the United States, along with San Francisco and Asheville, N.C.


The Bend Ale Trail even gets a shoutout. Check it out below:


Deschutes Brewery is also mentioned in a CNN Money piece on craft breweries here.