When Steve Anderson retired from his career with the Federal Aviation Administration, he knew what he was looking to do next. "I worked for 26 years in air traffic," he said, "looking at a radar scope. When I left, I figured I'd run my own business of some sort. I wanted to follow a passion, and I got passionate about brewing. It was a good way to fulfill my soul."
That passion eventually led to Kobold Brewing, a production brewery run entirely by Steve (his wife Heather handles business operations) in a facility he built up from his garage on Bend's west side. Prior to that, he was active with the Central Oregon Homebrewers Organization for several years, winning the Best of Show award at its 2015 Spring Fling competition with the beer that now goes by the name Kobalos CDA.
Since its official debut last December, Kobold has shown up in a dozen or so places in Bend and Redmond, including White Water Taphouse, The Lot, the two Growler Guys locations, and Baldy's BBQ, where Kobold's offerings include a special house red. That's just one of the 14 beers Anderson has released from his two-barrel production facility, purchased from Stout Tanks in Portland. Other highlights include Kobalos, the Oathbreaker Baltic porter that offers just a bit of chocolate and coffee in the background, and the fresh-hop IPA that's still available at a few locations.
One thing that turns Anderson on about brewing compared to the FAA: Real industry fraternity. "People in the brewing industry are amazing supporters," he said. "I get excellent support from places like Bend Brewing and Bridge 99; they'll come here, try new beers, and chat with me about recipes. People are really open in this business, and that's something I've seen the whole time I've been doing this."
Of course, it's the fate of any successful nano-brewery that if it's that successful, it won't stay nano for too long. Look at Monkless Belgian Ales, another outfit that began in a basement in northwest Bend and launched its new 10-barrel brewing facility a week and a half ago. "When my wife and I first opened this place, we figured we'd wait about a year and then decide what Phase 2 is," Anderson commented. "Right now, we're actively searching for a place to build a tasting room. That will be coming in the spring or summer of 2017, and that's the logical next step for a place like us, to go up to the next level in scale."