By Carlos Perez
Crossing over from building to brewing ia Bend’s latest craft brewery, Bridge 99.
Too much is never enough. In the case of breweries in Central Oregon, that much is apparently true. With a total of 24 (and counting) breweries, Bridge 99 Brewery tops off the list as one of Bend’s latest breweries to enter the craft beer scene along with Oblivion Brewing, River Bend Brewing, and the Platypus Pub. Who’s to say we’re stopping there? Well maybe the city, but that’s another story.
Bridge 99 Brewery’s name is born from a beautiful area north of Sisters where the fishing is plenty and the views are breathtaking. Bridge 99 is a bridge just off SW Metolious River Road between Pioneer Ford and Candle Creek Campgrounds in the Willamette National Forest. The name also holds some significance to Trever Hawman brew partner’s wife Terri, who is a USFS Hotshot and is very familiar with that area. With their combined love for the outdoors, the name Bridge 99 just fit.
Originally from Walla Walla, Trever Hawman – head brewer/partner, now calls Bend home. He moved to Bend to pursue a career in building, but in 2006 after taking a home brewing class organized by the Central Oregon Home Brewers Organization (COHO) he was hooked like so many of us are. However the difference with Trever is that, as he puts it, he has a bit of an “obsessive” personality, but in a good way. So what started out as a hobby quickly became a passion project in which Trever would spend countless hours learning about the subtleties of the brewing process and in-turn build a brewing system that he knew could produce beers to his standards.
But the thought of making the leap to a small production brewery didn’t actually happen until about 2011. After several years of fine-tuning his brewing process, tinkering, modifying, and perfecting numerous recipes, Trever with the help of his brew partner Rod, and other home brewers from COHO, namely Tom Brohamer (think The Brew Shop, Platypus Pub), had created more than a home brew set-up. Currently housed within a 400 square-foot space not too far from his home, Trever has a totally customized 1-1/2 barrel system, fermentation room, and special refrigerated area specifically for Lagers. Yep, that’s right, Lagers.
From talking with Trever, it’s clear that no matter what he’s working on at any given moment he’s undoubtedly going to give whatever it is his undivided attention. But he currently has a bit of a juggling act and making the transition from builder to brewer is like having two full time jobs. If all goes as planned, a full transition into brewing should happen sooner than later.
Here’s what’s on tap: Bull Trout Stout (my pick), Candle Creek Pale, Green Ridge Lager, Wizard Falls IPA, and Camp Sherman ISA (my wife’s pick). All good beers named after great locations surrounding Bridge 99. Currently you can find all of Bridge 99 Brewery’s goodness at Wubba’s BBQ Shack, on the North East side of Bend. It’s actually really close to Boneyard Beers new “RPM Factory” – but more about that in next months OBG.
Why Wubba’s BBQ Shack? Well Trever had a part in the build-out of the restaurant space, and in the process cultivated a relationship with the owner who just so happens to like BBQ almost as much as a good pint of beer. And if things work out for the best, there may be a larger dedicated brewery space for Bridge 99 in the not so distant future right up the road. If so, Trever will be in good company with Boneyard and 10 Barrel. How’d ya like to live in that neighborhood?
Your second best bet for a Bridge 99 brew is The Platypus Pub right below The Brew Shop. They occasionally have a Bridge 99 brew on tap, but you have to time it just right – because once it’s on, it’s quickly gone.
So if you plan on cruising to Bend this month I advise a quick stop to Wubba’s BBQ Shack if not just for the beer. It’s a quick stop just off the Parkway. Word is that for the month of December Bridge 99 will be adding two new brews (currently unnamed) to their line-up, a Vanilla Stout and a Red. That sounds good to me!
Cheers and Hoppy Holidays!
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.