It’s been awhile I think since I last did a year-end roundup of beer news, so I went back through the archives for 2012 and pulled out some of the highlights for the past year. I suppose for a Bend, Oregon-based beer blog I’d naturally be biased towards Oregon and Bend in particular, but I do have to say, looking back, that this did seem to be the “year for Bend beer” when you tally it all up. Here’s the rundown:
- January saw Tonya Cornett (formerly of Bend Brewing Company) formally join 10 Barrel Brewing (also here in Bend), and the news broke that Barley Brown’s Shawn Kelso would be leaving Baker City to also join 10 Barrel (heading up their announced Boise brewpub). January was also the month that Deschutes Brewery closed their downtown Bend brewpub to be remodeled and expanded, and then re-opened by the end of the month to much fanfare. Meanwhile, in Beaverton Golden Valley Brewery opened their second location on the 23rd.
- February unfortunately saw the closing of Reno’s Buckbean Brewing (founders of Canfest) and Boulevard Brewing had issues with their Chocolate Ale for which they issued refunds. Here in Bend, however, the news was more positive: the Broken Top Bottle Shop opened (taking over the space formerly occupied by the Abbey Pub), Worthy Brewing held their official groundbreaking, The Ale Apothecary officially began brewing beer, and Sunriver Brewing company was announced.
- March heralded good news for craft beer in general with the announcement that U.S. craft beer broke 5% of the overall beer market. Amid such good news we saw Deschutes release a new year-round bottled beer to their line-up, Chainbreaker White IPA, Crux Fermentation Project was formally named, and Seaside Brewing premiered at the Pouring at the Coast Fest. Bend also saw much-coveted Pliny the Younger come to town for the second time, hitting the taps at the Platypus Pub in a sold-out standing-room-only event.
- April started off with the big news I wrote about from Baker City’s Barley Brown’s Brewpub, which we’d visited over the final week of March: their expansion plans, new brewers (in the wake of Shawn Kelso leaving to join 10 Barrel), and more—big things are afoot for them (and further validated by their impressive GABF wins in October). April also saw Three Creeks Brewing‘s fun IPApril event, and the Oregon Garden Brewfest, for which I had been invited for a first time visit (and had a great time). (Disclosure, I had a pass to the event and the Brewers Dinner as well as a night’s stay at the Oregon Garden resort.)
- May saw the inaugural Central Oregon Beer Week (largely kickstarted by myself with a lot of help) as well as the official announcement of the new Central Oregon Brewers Guild, two big boosters for local (to me) beer. Barley Brown’s got TTB approval for their new brewery expansion, and Baker City’s other brewpub, Bull Ridge Brewpub, officially began brewing their own beer. And speaking of firsts, both Worthy Brewing and GoodLife Brewing brewed up a collaboration brew, “Good and Worthy” (a Belgian rye session ale), marking it (sort of) as Worthy’s first (un)official brew. (The beer appeared on tap at the Rye Beer Fest during Portland Beer Week.)
- June was a bit less eventful (at least for the purposes of this roundup); I posted a lengthy article regarding the legal issues between Full Sail Brewing and Grey Sail Brewing, and spoke with Full Sail’s Irene Firmat on the issue. Crux Fermentation Project brewed their first batch of beer and celebrated their grand opening (surely one of the most interesting breweries in Bend, if not the state). And Deschutes celebrated their 24th anniversary with a fun back-alley barbecue at their Bend brewpub.
- July of course was Oregon Craft Beer Month and prominently featured the Oregon Brewers Festival, which we attended again this year (and had a great overall Portland beer trip as well). The #pdxbeergeeks group celebrated their first anniversary (congrats guys) with a big party. And a little closer to home, Sunriver Brewing officially opened, Brewer Zack Beckwith joined Three Creeks Brewing (departing Pints in Portland), and the Old Mill District held their first Fermentation Celebration which was a lot of fun and a great showing of Central Oregon’s local brewers.
- August saw the first-ever Vancouver (Washington) Brewfest, as well as Bend’s two premier fests: the Bend Brewfest and the Little Woody (the latter of which I missed as we were in Florida). There was also news of yet another potential Bend brewery in the works, though as of now it’s still only in the “possibility” stage.
- September was marked for me with the trip we took to Florida (which actually encompassed the very end of August as well); while it wasn’t a beer trip I did get the chance to try a number of new (regional) beers, as well as visit (and write about) Brewzzi Brewpub in West Palm Beach (a good sampling of local color). September also saw the arrival (for pre-reviewers anyway) of Deschutes Brewery’s Jubelale, in its 25th incarnation (and with a fantastic label).
- October brought Oregon breweries a nice array of awards from the Great American Beer Festival, with Barley Brown’s Brewpub being the state’s big winner with four medals. Another Central Oregon brewery was announced, Smith Rock Brewery, for Redmond, bring the city’s total to three (or four depending) and the region’s to 18. And I got to attend the Columbia Distributing Winter Trade Show for the first time, which was enlightening.
- November: I did a rundown/overview of a bunch of the new “out of the way” breweries that have opened in Oregon in the past year or so (i.e., ones that aren’t in Portland, Bend, or Eugene). And then two of those breweries, Prineville’s Solstice and Roseburg’s Two Shy, officially began brewing beer the same month. (Go Oregon beer!)
- December was largely taken over by my annual Beer Advent Calendar (always a blast to do) so had my head down a bit, but some notable local happenings included Three Creek’s vertical of Rudolph’s Imperial Red (cool event), and the first official brew from Worthy Brewing (though their grand opening is in February). I was fortunate to be present for the latter but unfortunately not the former.
And of course, there were lots of other things that happened in 2012 as well that I didn’t cover above; many Oregon breweries opened, many crazy new beers were brewed, and craft beer was and is on the rise. I expect to see all of this and more in 2013, and I think 2013 is going to be a great year!
Happy New Year all!