Yet another brewery for Bend

I’ve written before—and maintain still—that Bend, Oregon, is developing into quite the Beer Mecca, but even I would have thought that we had reached a "brewery saturation point."

Apparently not.

Our local newspaper reports on yet another microbrewery that plans to open up by spring ’09: Brewtal Brewing.

The Brewtal Brewing Co., formed by Bend resident Tony Lawrence, will be the region’s eighth brewing company. Lawrence began moving into a small warehouse near downtown Bend on Tuesday and will begin building the brewery he hopes will fill its first keg this spring.

“I’ll be brewing ales, like most craft breweries do, IPAs, pale ales,” Lawrence said. “Some guys are over the top heavy-handed with hops, but that’s not my school. I’m a more traditional, balanced brewer.”

He initially plans on brewing about 10 to 15 barrels per month. For reference, 1 barrel at 31 gallons per barrel is about 13 cases of beer. (120 to 180 BBL per year is probably something I’d call a nano- or picobrewery rather than micro, but still.) Lawrence is also an alum of Deschutes Brewery, so he’s got the experience.

Lawrence said his small-batch brewery — to be built himself with brewing equipment he’s collected over the years as a builder and consultant — will initially focus on selling its beer to restaurants. Bottling lines are expensive, he said, so there are no immediate plans to sell bottled beer in retail locations.

There will be a tasting room at the brewery, located at 37 N.W. Lake Place, but Lawrence said his permit will not allow him to sell beer on-site. Lawrence said he may eventually build a brewpub if he feels there’s demand.

So that makes eight breweries for the immediate region; as the article notes, that’s about 1 for every 19,000 residents of the area (Deschutes County); Portland has about 1 for every 18,000.

You know, I’m honestly not sure what to think. If the market can support it, then more power to him. But I’d almost rather see a brewery open that’s doing something substantially different than the others—focus on lagers, say, or Belgian-style ales. Get funky.

Nothing to do but wait and see.