Tuesday, February 22, 2011

First batch of homebrew complete!

The first effort to brew beer by me, with help from the rest of the BBB crew, is complete. We just made a recipe for a pale ale from The Brew Shop here in Bend.

First we had to collect enough bottles to put the beer in:

Bottling took place a few weeks ago. And, to be honest, that was a bit of a debacle. We ended up probably spilling like 4 to 5 beers on the floor using the siphon that gets the beer into the bottles. Anyway, live and learn...we'll know better next time. Here's some pics or transferring the beer to bottles, and capping:

So, three weeks later, after bottle conditioning, the beer was carbonated. And, it certainly wasn't the greatest beer I've ever made, but drinking beer you made definitely makes it taste better. The finished product:

Bottom line? Making beer was a blast, and I highly recommend it if you've thought about trying it. It's really not that hard, and it's fun to go through the process.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bend's WinterFest highlights (aka Cycle Pub debut)

If WinterFest had been this past weekend, it would have been pretty funny, considering temperatures got into the 50s and it was closer to feeling like summer than winter.

After we got dumped on today, it feels like winter again, that's for sure.

Anyway, we figured we'd pick out some highlights (for us) of WinterFest, which is Friday through Sunday in the Old Mill District. A WinterFest button to get in to the festivities is $6 in advance and $7 at the gate.

Cycle Pub debuts

The Cycle Pub has its website up and running, and the bar on wheels will make its debut at WinterFest. (Cliff notes on what Cycle Pub is: You pedal a trolley-looking thing, drink beer, and someone drives you around town.) The only question for Cycle Pub will be if the roads will be clear enough to run, since there's snow in the forecast tonight and the next two days.

No word on if any of the Bend Beer Bloggers -- or anyone else, for that matter -- won the T-Shirt slogan contest that results in a free ride for the winners.

The rail jam

Generally the coolest part of WinterFest (other than drinking beer). The WinterFest website says 50 dump truckloads of snow are hauled down from Bachelor. After today, we're guessing they'll need less.


This at least sounds cool...fire dancers? We're in. Other street performers are also included...and apparently they are just hanging out in downtown, and you don't actually need a WinterFest button to see them. The whole thing sounds kind of amorphous, random, and hopefully cool. To see the music from Larry and His Flask and Wosley Motta at Century Center, you'll need a button, though. More on WinterFringe here.

Check out the official website to learn more.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Get beer in a mason jar from Bro Jo's

In good news for beer lovers in Bend, you can now get the beer that Brother Jon's has on tap to take home for yourself.

The Galveston pub is now offering take-home beer...if you put it in a mason jar. Why in a mason jar? Apparently, it produces less wasted beer than pouring it in a growler. And since Brother Jon's isn't making its own beer, and is instead reselling it, we can see why they wouldn't want to waste much beer in the pour.

Here are the prices to fill a mason jar:
16 oz.: $3.75
32 oz.: $7.50
32 oz. with deposit: $10
64 oz: $15
64 oz. with deposit: $17.50

A standard growler is a half gallon (64 ounces).

These prices obviously aren't cheaper than anything you can get in town. But, as I mentioned, they're basically reselling beer they already bought, so they don't have the same margins that the breweries in town have when they sell growlers.

But, price aside, this does offer Bendites the opportunity to buy tap beer that is nearly impossible to get otherwise. The beer selection at Bro Jo's is constantly changing. And we're certainly not going to be buying mason jars of Deschutes, Boneyard, or Guinness. But there are cool beers that come through that would be worth getting, like offerings from Double Mountain, Great Divide, Abita, etc.

Anyway, it's definitely cool that this is an option. I go to Brother Jon's often, I'll try to let you know if I see something cool on tap. Right now I can suggest Everybody’s Local Logger Lager (Everybody's Brewing in Washington) just for no other reason than you don't see lagers on tap every day in Central Oregon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Old Mill Brew Werks to get own brewing system

Just got some great news from Teri Love, one of the co-owners of the Old Mill Brew Werks.

Old Mill Brew Werks, which started serving its own IPA at the end of January, is set to take over 10 Barrel Brewing Company's brewing facility in northeast Bend this fall when 10 Barrel moves its beer production to a larger, 50 barrel system. While the OMBW, which is located on 384 SW Upper Terrace just above the Old Mill Shopping District, has been operating as a restaurant and tap house since October, the plan was always to brew its own beer.

Right now, OMBW is renting space from Silver Moon Brewery to brew OMBW beers. (Love says OMBW is currently brewing an alt-style beer which they hope to have on tap in two to three weeks.) According to Love, in September or October, once 10 Barrel has moved, OMBW hopes to be in the brewing facility on High Desert Lane, just off Empire. That's eight breweries and counting in Bend, nine when/if Noble Brewing takes off in the Century Center.

10 Barrel bottles, in Bend

I might just be behind the curve, but I didn't know 10 Barrel was bottling at all. Apparently, it's not exactly news, but it's the first time I saw a bottle of 10 Barrel when I was at Newport Market today:

Reviews at Beer Advocate go back to March of last year, so apparently some places have been getting 10 Barrel bottles for about a year, if not longer. Read reviews of S1nist0r here at BA.

At Newport you can buy S1nist0r (black ale) and Apocalypse (IPA), Of course, you can go the pub and fill up a growler, too.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bottoms-up beer pouring

OK, this post doesn't have much to do with Bend beer, other than we saw this on KTVZ's website. But because they don't allow embeded videos, we dug this demonstration of beer being poured, from the bottom up.

We're not sure how we feel about magnets at the bottoms of the beer. And what effect this has on a head if the technique were used with a real beer (i.e. not Bud Light). But it does look cool.

We'll be waiting for one of the local breweries to figure out how to do this with non-plastic, non-crappy beers.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why Deschutes is among the very best

Deschutes makes good beer. That we all know.

What you get from Deschutes that you might not get from every other brewery everywhere? Owning up to problems and mistakes.

Most of the time, a company pretty much toots its own horn and sweeps problems/mistakes under the rug as best they can. In a review of 2010 (in a blog post you can read here), Deschutes tells us what they did well. But the majority of the post deals with the missteps in 2010 (namely Black Butte XXII and the 2009 Abyss).

I wouldn't expect most companies to even mention that stuff in a review of the past year's operations on their own blog. But they do so in detail, and make you believe that they hate making mistakes.

Anyway, cheers to Deschutes for some refreshing honesty that you see very little of in corporate America.