Sunday, June 19

More Beer In Bend? No Way!?

A couple friends of mine grew up in Bend, OR. BMX biking, Snowboarding, Hiking, other forms of biking and athletics dominate the great hills and mountains. Skateboarding is huge. Working on your muscle car or rat rod is big. Bend is a robust little city booming with life. It is a city I have not yet been to. Kind of sad really.

Chad Kennedy, the latest Brewmaster of Laurelwood Brewing, is leaving. This was kind of surprising to me. I mean, I was recently at their Battleground, WA location, and talked about Chad brewing small batches right there in the pub. What previously was more shocking to me, was that Laurelwood closed their Northwest Portland House location. I really thought that place was doing quite well. I can see why the original pizza joint closed. Also Oregon can be a tough cookie to run a business upon. I wonder if the owners, and the management had a lot to do with his leave. It's a tough world for so many that brew good beer to work under someone who owns the brewery and pub. It was but a few years back that Laurelwood took over the old Sylvia's Italian Fine dining in Northeast Portland just stumbling distance from the house I grew up in. I remember the big day of dropping in their tanks. Kind of shocking really. Laurelwood grew to be one of my favorite brewpubs in the area. Their Workhorse IPA sure had a lot to do with that too. I thought their limited Framboise release was stellar as well (lucky enough to find one?). I still have a wax dipped litre bottle of their Auld Battle Axe Scottish Imperial as well. It is great with some time on it. What is to happen to Laurelwood? I am very curious. Only time will tell I guess.

I certainly wish Chad Kennedy the very best on his move to Bend. I hope his start up production brewery goes as planned, and I hope to soon find some of his great beers up here in Portland, and Vancouver. I hope to see a lot of beer geeks raving about them too. I also hope that he experiments a little more, which I am sure Laurelwood didn't give so much room for.

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Deschutes Brewmaster Larry Sidor has left Deschutes as well. He's not retiring, he is opening 856 Brewing company with the help of some big influential business partners. That is just the business end of it so far, so we will see what transpires from here on out. Perhaps and most likely a more solid brewery name will come of it. It wouldn't shock me either to see Chad brewing for them. Or perhaps that is just my own brain working on a craft beer conspiracy.

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There are some other big names such as Bend Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing, and my favorite of them all over there, Boneyard Brewing to contend with. Competition is getting deep.

Will be fun to see what transpires from here on out!

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