Walking into The Cellar in downtown Bend always brings a nostalgia for winter. The cozy basement location is an English-style pub that literally feels like putting on a cozy sweater when you walk inside to escape the blistering cold after a long ski day. Maybe it’s because I’m longing for winter after having five weeks of above 90-degree heat, or maybe subconsciously I knew a cave-like setting also acts as an escape from the heat, but either way winding up back there this weekend reminded me to add it to my list of spots for summer and wintertime beers.
- Chris Williams
For those who haven’t been, The Cellar is owned by Redmond-based brewery Porter Brewing Co. Porter has carved out its niche in the Central Oregon craft brewing scene by dedicating itself to cask style ales. Cask style ales are different in that they have a second fermentation process in which fermentation happens naturally in casks. Yeast consumes sugars, making its own carbon dioxide versus having CO2 added artificially. To get the bubbles, the ales rely on being dispensed from hand-pump devices. Cask ales are served cellar temperature to bring out complex flavors that coldness and over carbonation can kill. Some complain that cask beers are warm, but it was cold enough to be a refreshing drink on a scorching hot day.
Although I usually opt for Porter’s hearty stout in the winter to warm my bones, this time I went for the Extra Special Bitter for a more summer feel. ESBs are more light-bodied than IPAs and provide more refreshment on a hot day. The Cellar has eight pumps (taps) available with rotating seasonal beers making special appearances. For me this is the perfect number to have enough variety in choice but not overwhelm someone in a paralyzing quantity of selection.