Walk into Block 15's brand-spanking-new production facility on the far south side of Corvallis, and you'll think they are a much larger brewery than they actually are.
Originally opened in early 2008, Block 15's brewpub in downtown Corvallis has been pumping out brews of exceptional quality for thirsty OSU students and other mid-Willamette Valley dwellers. Their beer, ranging from top-class IPAs, like Alpha and Sticky Hands, to delicate, understated, Belgian-style farmhouse ales, can be hard to find outside of town. Bottles and kegs from them used to be a relatively common sight in Bend, but heavy demand and a fully maxed-out brew system (they produce only 1200 barrels per year) meant that Block 15 was essentially a Corvallis-only brewery, with the occasional Portland bottle release that'd sell out immediately.
That won't be the case going forward. The new brewery and tap room—located on Deschutes Avenue, amusingly enough—is in a 7500-square-foot warehouse with a 20-barrel production system, an airy restaurant and bar, and the capacity to crank out 12,000 barrels a year. The first farmhouse ale produced on this new equipment is out now, available at both the downtown Block 15 pub and at Les Caves, the Euro-style "beer taverne" just around the corner. It's a beaut—a well-balanced dry saison with just a bit of funk to it. Want to take it back to Bend? No problem: The taproom's got a crowler canning machine ready for you.
The story of Corvallis' beer scene doesn't begin and end with Block 15, though. Flat Tail Brewing is just down the street, a full-on, Beaver-college bar that offers some surprisingly good old ales and stouts alongside their top-selling kolsch. A couple miles away, you'll find Mazama Brewing, whose similarly-delicate and Belgo-centric lineup is now a regular at Bend beer shops. And back downtown, a visit to Sky High Brewing is a must for the view alone—it's got a fourth-floor rooftop bar that lets you take in the OSU campus and the lazy Willamette River while sampling their 13 beers on tap.