One rule of thumb for all beer fans: A craft brewery where everyone knows your name is truly a comforting, gratifying experience. A McDonald's where everyone knows your name, meanwhile, might be an indication that you need to adjust your eating habits.
Sisters resident Don McKay, along those lines, is particularly blessed. For the past five springs in a row, Three Creeks Brewing in Sisters has been kind enough to release McKay's Scottish Ale, a pub exclusive that features a dark, smoky flavor that's easy on the hops but long on the flavor. (Don is the guy with the bushy white beard and the top hat. He's fairly unmissable. If you see him at the pub, tell him the Source said hi.)
McKay's Scottish Ale's release is a well-established annual event over at Three Creeks by now, but the rest of the year is shaping up to be one full of changes—and expansion, of course. The outfit's new production brewery (originally announced back last fall) is now up and running over in north Sisters, just over a mile from the original brewpub, which serves as your first town landmark when driving in from Bend. It's capable of producing up to 20,000 barrels per year, and the crew's now putting it to fine use, brewing up the Knotty Blonde, Hoodoo Voodoo IPA, and FivePine Chocolate Porter that it now distributes statewide in cans.
This leaves the brewpub system free for more one-off projects like McKay's, and the brewery already has three new beers set to debut at the bar in early April. If you live close to downtown Bend and the concept of actually driving to a brewery strikes you as alien, now might be a good time to visit Sisters and check out the bar space—the beer is pouring fine, the décor is attractively Western (not the Texas Roadhouse sort of Western), and the burgers, entrees, and pizza are all enticing. You could always procrastinate a little longer if you like, too—Three Creeks is planning a big grand-opening party at its production brewery during Central Oregon Beer Week in May.