The Brew Shop is upstairs, meeting all your home brewing equipment and supplies needs in addition to offering over 500 bottled beers organized by state and country of origin. A side entrance with an awning leads you down a set of stairs into the Platypus Pub where you will find a carefully chosen selection of 15 beers on tap along with standard pub fare.
A group of friends and I eagerly visited the Platypus on their opening day last Monday. The pub is nice and cavernous, but with a somewhat stale feel; maybe it's the antiseptic green color of the walls, bare, with sparsely placed framed beer posters. The bar itself is slight, but the room offers ample seating for groups and pairs, a couple of dart boards at one end and the seemingly mandatory flat screen TV with a black leather couch at the other end. At this pub, the selection of beer trumps atmosphere.
That said, let's cut them a break, they have only been open for a few days and on both visits, the room was quite full, abuzz with beer enthusiasts. This is not a place you go to for the mere thrill of inebriation or for the food alone, though no one would blame you for getting a healthy buzz with some options reaching 10.5 percent ABV and you can never go wrong with a basket of tots ($2.50). It is a place to try some amazing beers on tap that you would be challenged to find available at any other local pubs. So, let's talk beer.
Among four of us, we were able to try all the brews available that day. The tap list will change as thirsty Bendites drain each keg, with a current stock of more than 60 others waiting to go up to bat. The tap list on both visits exhibited a nice diversity, from that signature Northwest hop explosion to sour ales, lagers, red ales, stouts, porters and cider.
Though the tart, acidic taste of sour beer might not be for everyone, it seems to be gaining in popularity as of late. Sour beer is thought to be one of the earliest beer styles as it relies upon spontaneous fermentation in wooden barrels with wild yeast and bacteria. Of the two sour ales on tap, New Belgium's Vrienden (8.5 percent) and Russian River's Supplication (7 percent), I much preferred the Supplication for being the more tart of the two, with a light body.
When a friend ordered Stone's Imperial Russian Stout (10.5 percent), the server responded with a bombastic, "You want a fork and knife with that?" This stout is more of a meal in itself than a beer to have along with a burger and fries; Stone touts their stout as "massive." Of the darker beer offerings, I preferred Oakshire's Axe of Perun Porter (7.4 percent), slightly less "massive" with more varied tasting notes. Another favorite was Ayinger's Oktoberfest-Marzen (5.8 percent).
The beer ranges in price from $4 to $6 with $0.75 off during Happy Hour (4-6:30 p.m. daily). In time, the Platypus will offer flights of beer samples, but for now, they are very amenable to offering complimentary tasters for those interested. Bottled beer purchased in the Brew Shop upstairs may also be enjoyed in the shop or the pub with an additional corkage fee.
Touting the largest beer selection in Central Oregon and with brews you won't find on tap anywhere else in town, The Brew Shop and Platypus Pub are sure to become local favorites and landmarks in the beer mecca Bend has become.
The Bend Brew Shop and Platypus Pub
1203 NE 3rd Street, Bend