Details on RiverBend Brewing, opening soon in Bend

RiverBend Brewing logo2013 is seeing the same flurry of new breweries and announcements in Central Oregon that we saw a few years ago when the last wave (GoodLife, Brew Werks, Below Grade, Phat Matt’s) was established. This time around it’s been Rate Hole (early on), Oblivion Brewing, North Rim, Juniper, Bridge 99, and the subject of this post, RiverBend Brewing. Today’s edition of the Bend Bulletin has an article about the upcoming RiverBend (behind their paywall currently) and I’d received a press release recently about it as well.

The restaurant and sports bar now known as Rivals in Bend (located at 2650 NE Division Street, ironically just a block or two north of where the Brew Shop was located for years and Silver Moon Brewing got its start) will be changing its name to “RiverBend Brewing and Sport Pub” to reflect its new status as Bend’s 22nd (or 23rd, depending) brewery. The brewhouse itself is installed in a separate building on the properly, a 10-barrel system, and the brewmaster is Daniel Olsen, from which I got this detail from the press release that was sent out:

Daniel’s brewing career began in 1994 in the rocky mountains of the U.S. brewing capital in Colorado. Daniel was an apprentice at Silver Plume Brewing Co. He came back to his Bend roots and family to work for Deschutes Brewery for over 9 years as one of their lead pub brewers. He then moved to “Wildfire Brewing Co” which is now known as 10 Barrel Brewing for the last 4 years as their Head Brewer.

The Bulletin’s article says he’s been “brewing since 1993 and has worked for Deschutes Brewery, 10 Barrel Brewing Co. and Lagunitas Brewing Co.” (Tomato, toh-mah-toh.)

Some additional details from the Bulletin:

RiverBend brewmaster Daniel Olsen said he hopes the 10-barrel system will be operating by the end of next week. He needs one more permit before production can start.
Once brewing begins, Olsen said, the beer will be flowing from the pub’s taps within a month.

“Ideally, it’s our goal to introduce the beers on the day that we introduce the (pub’s) new identity,” he said. That’s expected to be sometime in October.

Olsen plans to brew about 1,500 barrels to start, with a goal of expanding the system in six months. And while traditional brews will be produced first, he plans to experiment with herbs, fruits and spices.

If they get beer brewing and pouring before the end of September, I’ll officially count RiverBend as the 22nd Central Oregon brewery, right after Oblivion Brewing at #21. However, since the Platypus Pub is slated to re-open October 1st (or thereabouts, I know how renovations can go!) and should be pouring their own in-house beer, it could be a race to see who will take the 22nd and 23rd slots between the two.

Either way, there’s soon to be even more locally-brewed beer available in Bend, and that’s a win for beer drinkers any way you look at it.