With the astounding growth of the number of craft breweries this year, chances are there’s a new one in development, or has just started out in your area. My challenge to you is to seek out a new brewery and think about ways in which they could be welcomed into the existing beer community. How does their beer compare to the craft beer scene in your area? Are they doing anything in a new/exciting way? What advice, as a beer consumer, would you give to these new breweries?
Take this opportunity to say hello to the new neighbors in your area. Maybe its a nanobrewery that came to a festival for the first time that you vowed to “check out” later. Maybe it’s a new local beer on a shelf on the corner store that you hadn’t seen before. Dig deeper and tell us a story about the “new kids on the block.” I look forward to welcoming them to the neighborhood!
Of course Bend, Oregon has one of these “new kids” that just started up this year: Boneyard Beer. Central Oregon’s eighth brewery, Boneyard has been welcomed easily and with open arms into the beer community. But hey—this is Oregon; frankly, anything less here is almost unheard of. They have already amassed something of a cult-like following, and are active and available at all the local festivals.
Of the two beers I’ve tried so far, the Black 13 and the Girl Beer (a Porterlike Brown Ale, and a Cherry Wheat, respectively), are competently-brewed ales but I’d be hard-pressed to say they’re doing anything new or outstanding with them. (Although this weekend’s Little Woody barrel-aged beer festival in Bend is featuring these two beers aged on wood which could be something really nice.)
I haven’t yet had a chance to visit their brewhouse in person, but I will sometime soon. In the meantime, the only advice I could think to give would be to brew the best beers they possibly can—the way to stand out in Oregon is to have great beer.
I’ve had beer from very young breweries that went in the wrong direction; so far, Boneyard is doing it right, and I suspect they’ll be a fixture in Bend for the longer term. And they’ll only be the “new kids” until the next brewery comes along…