On the last business day of 2011, three men smashed through a wall of an old transmission shop with golden-painted sledgehammers, much to the delight of the gathered crowd.
"Come on, Sidor!" shouted one bystander, encouraging the craft beer maestro to swing his hammer with gusto.
The wall-breaking ceremony was meant to celebrate the start of a new brewing venture in Bend that is captained by one of the biggest names in the business, Larry Sidor, who for years has been the mastermind behind many of Deschutes' most popular beers.
Sidor is teaming up with Dave Wilson of San Francisco-based 21st Amendment brewery and Paul Evers of tbd Advertising, a local creative agency with a rich history in beer marketing. The local firm has worked with Deschutes in the past and counts 21st Amendment among its current clientele. Together, the three friends of the yet-to-be-named artisanal brewery will focus on richer, bolder beers and will include sours and other such niche brews.
"We're super excited," said Sidor after the wall came down on Friday. Though Sidor says he's penned over 1,000 recipes, he hopes to continue experimenting with regional ingredients. "Our barley and hops are the best in the world," he said.
The beers that the trio will be focusing on should fill a void in Bend's healthy brewing culture.
"We're talking about small-volumes of high-gravity, complex beers that are often aged in barrels and/or fermented with wild yeast strains to create crazy, unique aromas and flavors," Wilson said in a press release. "We want our brews available to beer enthusiasts who are seeking bigger and bolder experiences."
With a view of the Cascades out the front window, the 1,000-square-foot tasting room (the former AAMCO transmission building) will serve pints, snifters and small plates. In an effort to promote other regional brewers, and with a nod to variances in personal taste, the crew plans to also offer a few more traditional beers. Renovations to the 6,000-square-foot building are slated to begin in early January, and once up to speed, the brewery will have the potential to pump out 10,000 barrels annually, however the first year's production is estimated to be around 700 barrels. By way of contrast, Sidor's former employer pumps out more than 200,000 barrels annually.
Located on Aune Road, just off of SW Division Street, near the Bend Parkway and just south of NW Arizona (think Strictly Organic Coffee, The Horned Hand, Parkway underpass, etc.) this eastside-meets-westside-meets-Old Mill zone is looking to be an area that will only grow in popularity in the coming years. To wit, we've been told that the vacant lot between NW Colorado Avenue and NW Arizona Avenue (just east of NW Lava Rd.) has been bought by high-end grocer Market of Choice, a Eugene-based natural health-food store that has plans to build on the property immediately off the Parkway.