A couple of weekends ago my wife and I headed down to Sunriver to take in a little potential shopping and to check out and have lunch at Sunriver Brewing Company, the one-and-only brewpub in Sunriver that opened back in the first part of July. The shopping turned out to be a bit of a bust but the lunch was good and I was happy to finally see what they’re up to.
You’ll often see references to Sunriver as if it’s a town but in fact it is an unincorporated resort community about 17 miles south of Bend just off Highway 97, anchored by Sunriver Resort. With golf courses, leisurely river access, horse stables, many trails, a nature center, shopping and more, it’s a popular summertime destination in Central Oregon, and I have no doubt a brewpub would do well there—at least during the peak season. This first year will be one to watch, but why someone hasn’t tried opening something up there before is beyond me. (Winter is a different story which could be the deciding factor in that regard.)
In the meantime, we found Sunriver Brewing to have a good central location in the Village Mall, and they’ve done a good job with the “Brewhouse” space, making an open floorplan comfortable in a cross between the “northwest brewpub” style and what I think of as the “casual resort” style: concrete floor, open ceilings, exposed-wood beams and trim, plenty of windows. A patio for outdoor seating graces one side of the building though it won’t see much use going into the colder months.
They also have a “kids corner” which I think is a really great feature for a family-friendly brewpub (in the same vein as Portland’s Laurelwood and Hopworks which are both very family-friendly).
And then of course, there’s the beer: the main reason for any (first) visit! (Of course with “Brewing Company” in the name there are always those expectations.)
Right now, all of Sunriver’s beer is being contract brewed by Phat Matt’s in Redmond. Ultimately they will move brewing production in-house, but there isn’t a timeframe on that yet (or at least, the waitress didn’t know what that would be). You can see in one of the pictures above there are tanks visible behind a half-wall—presumably this will be the brewing space, but right now there are only those tanks “parked” and extra kegs are being stored. By the looks of it, I’d guess they’ll have space to work with a one-barrel system but we’ll see.
The house beers are a fairly standard line-up: Pale Ale, IPA, Amber, and Stout.
They were all decent beers, but frankly in the “average” category. The IPA is in the English style (as is Phat Matt’s own IPA) and lacks the flourish of American hops which is what a lot of people will expect (particularly in Oregon). The Stout is dry and roasty and on the thin side.
They also have a number of beers on well-stocked guest taps, so there are plenty of choices once if you want to branch out from the house beers. And I’m looking forward to when they build out their own brewing space and can start crafting their beers in-house.
The food was great, exceeding expectations (i.e., a notch in quality above what you would find at a typical brewpub). My fish and chips were perfectly cooked, with the breading on the fish crunchy and just right without any excess oiliness at all, and the fish inside was flaky and moist. My wife equally enjoyed her meal and we agreed that it was well worth the visit.
Solid food, decent taplist, nice central location to Sunriver: Sunriver Brewing Company is a good visit and well worth your time if you’re in the area.
Sunriver Brewing Company
57100 Beaver Drive, Building 4, Sunriver Village
Sunriver, Oregon 97707