Atlas Cider Co.'s tasting room along Industrial has been open since last July, and by all accounts it's still a beaut of a place, wide-open and airy and all but demanding a visit. The cider remains excellent, from the sessionable apple released as far south as Nevada to the cinnamon-pair blend that's wowing people at the company's booth in the Portland Saturday Market.
Fewer business locations around town better exemplify the dizzying rise and fall of real estate in Bend than the Old Mill Marketplace, where Atlas is located. The complex, just north of the lumber mill that defines the Old Mill District townscape, was first purchased for over $18 million in March 2007 by a Portland development group. Another development firm, Killian Pacific, then bought the 4.3-acre facility in July 2013 for $6.4 million, just about one-third of the price. (Timing really is everything with real estate, isn't it?) Now, of course, Bend's right back where it used to be—and the Marketplace is shaping up to be yet another destination for craft libations.
In a few months, Atlas will have not one, but two beer-centric neighbors. After a long construction phase, Immersion Brewing—a couple of doors down from Atlas—is planning a May 2016 open, and it's starting pretty big by microbrew standards. The starting lineup of five beers (including the usual pales, IPAs and saisons) will be created in-house on a 10-barrel system by Josh Cosci, fresh from stints at Worthy and Three Creeks, and food will be on offer as well. What makes Immersion unique, though, is its "brew-it-yourself" program, allowing would-be brewmasters to design recipes and create their own batches of beer on pro-grade equipment. That's a first for Bend, the idea being to make it easier for folks to craft decent beer without spending a mint on gear—all while having an actual brewer help out along the way.
Also joining the Marketplace soon is another old favorite: The Brown Owl, which used to rock it at The Lot off Galveston in food-cart form. It's making the upgrade to a full-on pub and restaurant, and so far it's looking great, with a spanking-new polished bar and lots of artisanal wood on the walls. Beer's going to be a factor there, of course, as well as the massive chicken-and-egg sandwiches and double-fried French fries that still make the place so memorable over a year after its Lot closure.