Paul Arney, head chemist at The Ale Apothecary, treats the local movement seriously. Very seriously.
"As far as I know, I'm the only brewer in Oregon who can truly say they only use ingredients grown in Oregon," he said over some beers at his Cellar Joint.
This is the barrel aging facility he and fellow brewers Jared Smith and Connor Currie opened near GoodLife Brewing in southwest Bend. "The hardest part of that was sourcing the sugar, but I now have a local source for honey, so I use that as my sugar for all the beers we make here."
It's that sort of innovation that has made Arney and crew synonymous with the classiest of craft beer—wild fermentation, barrel aging, and never-ending creativity. For SMaSH Beer Fest at McMenamins the following Saturday, these two events demonstrate that to the hilt.
At the Tin Pan Monday and at Crow's Feet Commons on Thursday, visitors will get to enjoy live music, the poetry of local author Emily Carr, and Minotaur, The Ale Apothecary's latest release. Minotaur, as Arney puts it, was "brewed on blackberries and love poems" and blended together from a selection of beer aged in wine and bourbon barrels. It's been in the works for a year and a half, and like all Apothecary beer, it's a delicate work of art, with the dark malts, barrel elements, and fruity undertones all working together to form a beautiful harmony of flavor. "It's the first dark beer we've made since Be Still," Arney commented, "and I'm really happy with how this turned out."
The beer will be on sale across Bend, and joining it soon thereafter is Therapy Ferret, a collaboration with Portland-based bottle shop Tin Bucket. A lighter ale, it features rhubarb and whiskey-barrel aging for "complexity beyond comprehension," as the label says. Following later on in the year is a set of three beer blends created in tandem with City Beer Store in the heart of San Francisco; those will be done in time for the Apothecary's next Ale Club distribution in the fall.