- Series: American Palate
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: The History Press; 1st edition (October 21, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 162619467X
- ISBN-13: 978-1626194670
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #844,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bend Beer:: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon (American Palate) Paperback – October 21, 2014
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About the Author
Jon Abernathy has been blogging about craft beer for over a decade, and drinking and homebrewing it for far longer. Jon grew up in central Oregon, went to school in Spokane, Washington, graduated from Eastern Washington University with a BA in French and ultimately began working in the computer industry as a web developer after returning to Bend. Blogging was a natural outlet for a web developer with a love of writing (and beer), and in 2004 Jon launched the Brew Site, a blog dedicated to all things beer and brewing.
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Perhaps the strongest aspect of “Bend Beer” is how well Abernathy explains the impact and consequences of events that have shaped U.S. and Oregon brewing history. One example I’d never considered: the role the 16th Amendment (1913, establishing a federal income tax) in opening the way for the 18th Amendment (1920, national Prohibition). Before 1913, the federal government had been much more dependent on liquor taxes for revenue.
The section of the book I most enjoyed was roughly the third quarter which begins with the early days of Bend’s craft beer scene. The pace builds as Abernathy chronicles the early struggles of Bend’s first two craft breweries, Deschutes and Bend Brewing, and continues with the next half dozen or so that followed. (The list of Central Oregon breweries on Abernathy’s website currently stands at 27)
Mr. Abernathy, go open a good craft brew and celebrate a job well done!
This book takes the reader on an historical journey through central Oregon, touching on the early days when beer was somewhat difficult to find; the challenges faced by early breweries and those who operated them; the setbacks of prohibition; and the modern era with its booming craft beer industry. Present- day Bend, with its large number of breweries, is something that took time to develop and the book devotes a good deal of time to the discussion of historic influences and the various factors that led Bend to the forefront of the craft beer world.
Much of Bend’s claim to fame as a booming beer city can be traced to the past couple of decades so it makes sense that the book devotes most of its time to the recent past. I like how the book makes mention of the lesser- known individuals who helped to build Bend’s reputation as a place for recreation and craft beer and while it is true that the foundation for central Oregon’s beer heyday was laid in the past, most of what we associate with Bend and beer can be traced to the past twenty years or so. Thus, it makes sense that the book focus more effort on the present and I enjoyed reading about these many breweries and how each has helped shape the beer culture in the region. Most everyone is familiar with Deschutes Brewing, but there are other, smaller players in the Bend craft beer game and this book touches on each of them, explaining their significance.
No book is complete without extra, supplemental material and Bend Beer includes several of these extra features to make it even more enjoyable. There is a handy timeline that highlights key beer- related events in the area as well as a full color photo section in the middle that showcases some of the important people, places, and events that define Bend and its craft beer persona. Scattered throughout are other pictures, many of them historic in nature, that help illustrate the story of Bend, Oregon and its love affair with fine brew. Residents of this region of the country will have a great time viewing these historic pictures, reminiscing about the region and its past, etc. I’m not from the area, but I found the pictures very useful and an excellent aid to understanding the region and its rich and storied past.
Bend, Oregon is a hotbed for craft beer and innovation in the modern age. The city and surrounding sections of Oregon have had their share of ups and downs economically and the region was not always a great place to produce adult beverages. These changes in attitudes, lifestyle, and law are captured and explained very well in Bend Beer. Intelligently written and well- researched, it’s an excellent introduction to the region and a great way to understand more thoroughly how Bend’s reputation for craft beer came into being, where the city and region have been, and where they are headed. It makes for great reading and it’s a book I recommend to all.