Independently handcrafted in Bend Oregon. In the heart of the always evolving Northwest beer scene, we are doing our part to recreate the brewing wheel. So we’re going to keep rolling our own way, brewing what we love, and selling you everything we don’t drink ourselves. - 10 Barrel Brewing Company
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Previous to my trip to Oregon, I had emailed 10–15 breweries in which I planned on visiting to let them know I would be there and would love a few minutes to chat. The only two I heard from was (review coming soon) and 10 Barrel. For this reason, I made it a point to get to the brewery since they took the time to contact me back. Looking back, I am ecstatic that I made that decision because I felt welcomed with open arms and a full pint glass.
Location, Location, Location!
10 Barrel Brewing Company is located in an epic location for beer, Bend, OR. That brings a lot of pressure to an up and coming brewery in an already thriving area for craft beer. If you are unfamiliar with the layout of Bend, 10 Barrel is located about a mile east of Highway 97. Big picture, you are looking at a beautiful, scenic drive of about 3 hours from Portland to get to Bend.
As far as the getting to the brewery, we walked from a different brewery, and it was very easy to find. If you are driving, it is pretty much on one of the major streets and would be hard to miss.
Another advantage I learned (unfortunately it was at the end of my time in Bend) is that there is a company called Bend Ale Trail that actually put a map together of Bend and all the breweries in the area. Having the map will help you find the brewery very easily and on top of that, if you make it to all the breweries listed on the map, you get a very cool prize showing you completed the trail.
We arrived on a Saturday night and expected to see somewhat of a crowd. As we approached, we noticed the brewery is in an extremely nice building. It had a different feel to it than any of the other breweries that I had been to in Bend, and for that matter, all of Oregon. The feeling was that of an established brew pub, not one that has been around for only a few years.
As we walked in, we noticed the place was absolutely packed. The crowd inside was as diverse as I have seen in a brewery with both the younger and older generations represented there. It was busy enough that we had to get our names on the waiting list. Since we had to wait, we approached the bar to start sampling the beer. As we waited, we began chatting with a few people around us about their thoughts of
the brewery. Each person told us how fantastic the place was. We were told they don’t only make great beer, but they have a welcoming ambiance that seems to draw people in and keep them there. One lady actually pointed me in the direction of one of the partners, who was sitting out at one of the tables, and asked if I would like her to introduce him to me. Of course, I said yes, but I thought about how cool it was that a patron felt comfortable enough with the owner to introduce me to him. That was pretty awesome. I will get more into that in a minute.
Finally, our table was ready. Beers in tow, we sat down and ordered a pizza for all of us to share. The pizza we chose was the Hippy Pie. As you can see in the picture, it was a very creative style of pizza. All of us enjoyed the pizza immensely and recommend this style if you enjoy artichokes and olives. Unfortunately, that was all we had the appetite for since we had been eating all day at other pubs, however, everything we saw coming out of the kitchen looked wonderful.
The beer at the brewery was hands down the best beer I had tasted in Oregon. Sure, there were some sours I had in Portland that were fantastic; however, the beer I enjoyed at 10 Barrel was balanced and each had solid characteristics in them that stood out above the rest in “Beervana”. My one disappointment was that the S1nist0r Black Ale, their award winning brew, was sold out! A few notes on some of the brews I had:
- “Mike Saw A Sasquatch” Session Ale– A refreshing golden ale, with a honey like sweetness and balanced with a slight earthy hoppiness.
- ISA– Probably my favorite of my entire trip. This brew was very easy to drink with the significant hop flavors I love in IPA’s. Lots of citrus, grapefruit and sweet ripe oranges, on the nose and palate. This is a beer I wish I could get regularly in Arizona, especially in the summertime. A fantastic warm weather ale.
- Northwest Red– Although I am not a huge follower of malty reds, I enjoyed this beer more than I thought. It still had a significant malty backbone, what really came through was the hops the pacific northwest is known for.
- Apocalypse IPA– Another award winning beer. Darker than most IPA’s, I was slightly expecting less of the hop profile to reveal itself. I was dead wrong. The hop profile was built perfectly, allowing the bitterness to balance with the great caramel and roasted characteristics of the grain bill.
After going through my flight, I settled on the ISA because I knew I would not have access to it in AZ and I wanted to guzzle as many as I could.
My opinion on the brewery was extremely positive. As I mentioned above, one of the partners, Garrett, knew his customers and spent time chatting with them. Furthering my excellent experience, Garrett sat down with me for a good 20 minutes to chat with me about the brewery and the beer. There is nothing better in the community of craft beer than hearing from someone that has done it right. I hope to run into their beers in the future, and if you are ever in the Pacific Northwest, 10 Barrel is one place that is not to be missed. Prost!