It's only just barely 2016. The grocery stores still haven't closed out all their Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer DVDs. But already the beer scene's abuzz with activity around Bend and beyond. For example:
Oblivion shuts down its brewpub.
The tap house and restaurant that replaced Westside Café & Bakery along NW Galveston has now itself closed after seven months. Not due to lack of business, given how hard it often was to seat four there on a Saturday night, but—according to the Bulletin—a mutual agreement between the three-person partnership that ran the brewpub. It all seems sudden, given that there's still an outdoor patio area under construction behind the building. This doesn't affect Oblivion Brewing itself at all, however, and offerings like Backside IPA and Road Ryder Red—the beer that developed into their flagship during the pub's short career—will still be available across Central Oregon. (And maybe beyond, too, as brewers Darin and Meghann Butschy focus more on distribution.)
What's replacing the tasting room on Galveston, though? The building owners aren't saying, but multiple industry folks told the Source that Sunriver Brewing Co. plans to open a Bend taproom in the spot. That'd be the best of both worlds—Sunriver can get more exposure for its (quite good) beer lineup, and lazy Bendites don't have to drive all the way down to the brewery to try them out.
Kobold Brewing debuts.
Central Oregon's 29th brewery (depending on how you count them) is Kobold, owned and operated by veteran homebrewer Steve Anderson. He's built a 600-square-foot brewhouse on his property in northwest Bend, housing a two-barrel system he's using to produce ales and lagers. On tap at Platypus Pub a bit ago was Lawful Evil, a bourbon barrel-aged stout that surprised many who tried it—full-flavored and woody without hitting you over the head with booze. Barrel aging is one of Anderson's main focuses with Kobold, and it'll be fun to see what else he comes up with as the year unfolds.
Ancestry Brewing's roadshow.
One of the most ambitious Oregon brewery openings this year is undoubtedly Ancestry, which has a 10-barrel brew system set up in Tualatin and plans for a separate taproom in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland. Bend's on their radar, though, and founder Jeremy Turner (who worked for Kulshan Brewing in Bellingham, Washington, before this) brought his beers around Platypus earlier for a meet-and-greet before Ancestry's official opening. The offerings—including a Citra-infused session IPA and roasty oatmeal stout on nitro—were all solid, although it may take more than that to stand out in a scene as crowded as Portland's. Keep an eye out for official distribution when it begins in early '16.