A Belgian grisette, a Polish wheat beer, a Germanic gose and a Baltic porter are all available to slake your thirst without so much as a passport. Of course, if your thirst preferences lie closer to home, there's also no shortage of tasty American IPAs at Spider City Brewing.
The name of the brewery may have been inspired by a placard found at the shared home of co-owners Melanie and Michele Betti (identical twins) and friend Tammy Treat, but the beers are inspired by their world travels. Spider City launched in Bend in 2018 and promptly earned the People's Choice award at Bend Brewfest the following year (back in the days when said event could safely be held). It now has two spots to check into on the revamped Bend Ale Trail. The downtown tasting room is located inside The Wine Shop (which Melanie Betti, who's both a Certified Sommelier and Cicerone-Certified Beer Server, founded in 2006). But it's at the brewery's eastside taproom off Reed Market, in a territory the Ale Trail dubbed The Badlands, where nearly two dozen of Spider City's beers are available for sampling.
- Brian Yaeger
- There's a slew of interesting brews pouring at Spider City.
There's never a shortage of IPAs—both hazy and clear—on tap (including a version of Grazing Goat West Coast IPA featuring pineapple and serrano chilies dubbed Spicy Goat). But Betti (pronounced like Betty but with a hard T because she's Italian) designs her beers to embellish food, because she's Italian. She also doesn't overcomplicate beer recipes, because she's Italian. She subscribes to the philosophy that you don't need more than five ingredients— and that applies to her malt bills and hop bills.
In fact, Spider City beers allow a single hop varietal to do all the talking in several beers, including Stache SMaSH Pilsner (SMaSH stands for Single Malt and Single Hop) that uses a German hop as most do, but not an Old World noble varietal like Saaz. Instead, Betti employs a 21st century cultivar called Hallertau Blanc that imbues notes of white wine and white berries. It makes for an elegant lager. Another SMaSH pilsner uses Enigma hops, one of the newer varietals from Australia, and in contrast to Hallertau Blanc, Enigma boasts red wine and red berry traits.
And while many great IPAs have been built on Mosaic hops that throw tropical and stone fruit flavors, she uses it in the Grisette, a light, tart farmhouse ale that benefits from Mosaic's guava characteristics.
- Brian Yaeger
A personal favorite of mine is the Cherrywood Smoked Ale. Smoke beers in the vein of German Rauchbiers typically use beechwood-smoked malts, or sometimes alderwood, and the results typically clobber you with bacon and/or ashtray notes. In a good way! The cherrywood smoked malts interestingly deliver more of a hickory smell and flavor, making it an ideal complement to barbecued or grilled meats. As a shout out to another Source beer writer, Heidi Howard, her favorite beer, called out in her profile on Spider City over two and a half years ago, is Soleil Rubis, which is still a taproom staple. It's a gose, which is to say a light, refreshing German-style wheat beer soured with lactobacillus, that gets its hue and kick from pureed berries (black, blue, rasp).
While Betti brews on a 15-barrel system, she doesn't ignore her homebrewing roots and in fact, her original system from the co-owners' garage remains perched adjacent to the bar, so there are always new experiments. Just like Spicy Goat originated from the pilot system that makes about one keg at a time, there are test batches of whiskey barrel-aged stouts and porters napping in the tasting room. There's also a hard cherry seltzer in one of the casks—because if you're gonna do a seltzer, you gotta do it interestingly. I bet it'll go great with tiramisu or a bowl of stracciatella.
Spider City Brewing Taproom/Downtown Tasting Room
1177 SE 9th St./55 NW Minnesota Ave., Bend