It's a time of change in Central Oregon's brew scene. Boneyard Beer is about to close its little tasting room and open up a shiny new brewpub—something the neighbors down on Lake Place might breathe a sigh of relief about, were it not for the marijuana dispensary and smoker-friendly vacation rental spot slated to open right next door. Worthy Taps & Tacos, on the edge of downtown facing Drake Park, is running soft-opening hours this week in the lead-up to the official weekend launch. And a couple new local companies are in the works, including Braveheart Brewing (run by Greg Wales, who owned a brewpub in Arizona).
With all this activity, it can be easy to overlook some of the old guard around this beer scene—places such as Three Creeks Brewing, on the verge of its 10th anniversary.
The year 2008 likely wasn't the greatest time to start a new business in Central Oregon, unless that business involved cleaning up foreclosed houses. This didn't stop Wade Underwood, who purchased a plot of land on the eastern edge of Sisters in early 2008. If he and his partners had waited any longer, they might not have been able to fund the purchase at all—but they did, and Three Creeks kicked off in July of that year.
The place started with a 10-barrel system in its brewpub, cranking out beers including Fivepine Chocolate Porter, Stonefly Session Pale and Knotty Blonde to an eager audience of locals and visitors passing by on U.S. 20. After seven years, supply no longer kept up with demand—so up came a 30-barrel brewhouse a mile or so to the south, filling up cans of top sellers while leaving the original brewpub system free for fun experiments including the bourbon barrel-aged Tenpine porter. Growth hasn't stopped there, either—just a few months ago, Three Creeks took delivery on two new uni-tank beer fermenters, which will ultimately increase production by up to 40 percent.
This production facility has a small tasting room open Fridays and Saturdays during the summer season. On July 21, though, there will be an even greater reason to check out the site at 265 E. Barclay Drive. That's when the big 10-year anniversary event is taking place, with live music, tons of food, bounce houses for the kids and more beer than even the thirstiest visitor could finish up. Plus: A special 10 Year IPA making its debut for the event.
So cheers to 10 years for the place that put Sisters on the map for beer. It's a reminder that being new is always fun, but surviving in the beer scene for years takes real talent.