06 Nov Brooks Street Tap Room
New places to drink beer seem to pop up every other day in Bend, but it’s not every day that one of the city’s first breweries reinvents its space. For over two decades, locals in search of award-winning craft beer have found it on Brooks Street at Bend Brewing Company (BBC), the second oldest brewery in Bend (after Deschutes Brewery). The brewpub has stood much unchanged until this past summer, when new owners completely reformed the front room of the restaurant into the Brooks Street Tap Room. At this new venue, visitors can sip brews while enjoying the view through a large open window to the streetscape outside.
Since it was founded in 1995, BBC has generated a loyal following due to a family-like feeling from staff and guests. Many locals even have a personal story to tell about BBC—like the first beer they tried in Bend or the first job they had waitressing. BBC grew to eventually win the Champion Brewery Small Brew-Pub Category from the Brewers Association World Beer Cup, but maintained their locals-favorite status through events like Tuesdays’ longstanding Local’s Night and Saturdays’ free music. Beers like HopHead Imperial IPA, Ching Ching American Sour and Outback Old Ale have won many awards over the years, and guests have long enjoyed sitting at the expansive bar in the back of the restaurant for a taste of these brews along with a view of the river.
Now patrons have a reason to pause before heading to the back of the pub. The Brooks Street Tap Room is the result of the redesign of a room traditionally used for overflow and large group seating. It now boasts a bar with four beer taps serving BBC craft brews. The focal point of the remodeled area is the twelve- by six-foot hydraulic window, which opens like a garage door on Brooks Street, creating a light and airy feel while drawing in passersby.
“We wanted to move some energy in from off the street,” says co-owner and day-to-day operations manager Packy Deenihan. The room’s twenty-foot ceilings combined with high windows facing the street, along with windows providing a view of the brewery and its stainless steel beer tanks, top off the taproom’s atmosphere. Guests can drink brews from the four taps in this room or from the ten taps in the front room, as well as order from the expansive pub menu. The new hangout space also accommodates private parties and larger groups.
New husband and wife owners Packy and Leslie Deenihan officially grabbed the reins of BBC January 1; however, Packy worked alongside previous owner Wendi Day for two months prior to get acquainted with the brewery and the locals who frequent it. From the beginning, the Deenihans have been interested in helping BBC reach its full potential—in both distribution opportunities and pub expansion—all while maintaining the brewery’s small-town feel.
While some changes are still afoot, fans of BBC’s beer will be happy to know that brewmaster Ian Larkin and his assistant Josh Harned remain at the helm of the brewery. They take personal care in maintaining beer quality, including handpicking salmonberries for their gold medal-winning Salmonberry Sour.
The Deenihans also recently purchased the property directly to the south of the brewery, with plans to expand outdoor dining options with views of one of Bend’s iconic landmarks, Mirror Pond. Stay tuned for more changes on Brooks Street, and more great places in Bend to drink craft beer.