Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seismic shift in Bend brewpub scene?

Things just got really interesting in Bend with a couple of moves by area brewers.

We'll credit The Brew Site, since we read it there first. Story here about how 10 Barrel has snagged a couple of brewers -- one from Bend Brewing, the other from Deschutes. The Brew Site was citing this article from The Source Weekly. According to The Source, 10 Barrel has hired Tonya Cornett, brewmaster at BBC, and Jimmy Seifert, who amounts to the No. 2 brewer at Deschutes.

Seifert is already on board as the brewmaster, while Cornett is set to join 10 Barrel this summer.

Another juicy nugget for Bendites who love beer (cut+paste from TSW):

At the moment the brewery is still negotiating the purchase of a property that would allow 10 Barrel to increase its commercial production from the current ten-barrel system to a 50-barrel system, Wales said. In the meantime, Cornett will continue to brew for BBC, he said.
Random thoughts/observations/questions on all this news (just thinking out loud):
--What happens to the people that 10 Barrel brought in in 2009, when the brewpub launched? Bulletin story here (cut+paste). "Soon thereafter, the 10 Barrel team hired Thom Tash, previously head brewer at Kona Brewing in Hawaii, as its brewmaster to work with head brewer Dan Olson, who had previously been with Deschutes Brewery." Is everyone still in the mix since they're making more beer?
--Personally, I've felt 10 Barrel's beer has lagged behind much of the rest of the Bend beer scene. I think Boneyard passed them up in quality of beer almost from the day they launched (no, I don't get paid to say nice things about Boneyard, I just happen to think their beer rocks). I didn't really care for the beers they produced pre-brewpub, and although the quality has gotten better since the brewpub, I still don't love it. I enjoy the S1NIST0R Black Ale ( I am pretty sure this predates the brewpub?), especially on nitro, and the Pray for Snow Strong Ale. And my wife likes the Summer Ale (even in winter). And that's about it (and I think I've tried most of their beers). I go to 10 Barrel, when I go, for the food, not for the beer. Or for the atmosphere...it's definitely a fun place to hang out, especially in the summer. I live near Brother Jon's and 10 Barrel, and I go to Bro Jo's all the time, 10 Barrel only on occasion. Anyway, I've rambled. While the moves are apparently tied to the expansion, I have to imagine the moves are meant to address the beer, and get it up to a level where it can compete with the rest of the town. Because right now I don't think too many people would rank the quality of 10 Barrel's beer among the best in Bend. Just my opinion, I could be wrong.
--Is 10 Barrel going to change its name to 50 Barrel? I kid.
--How does this affect BBC? It's doubtful Deschutes is hurt by one person leaving, as important as he might be. But Deschutes is a giant, and we're guessing there's someone who's ready to fill his shoes. How will BBC cope with losing its brewmaster?

Anyway, if you have any answers to my questions, or just want to agree or disagree with our thoughts, write us, comment on the blog, etc. Regardless, we're excited to see what the new-look 10 Barrel starts producing this year.

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