Bend, Oregon’s award-winning Sunriver Brewing is one of many breweries forced to alter their beer lineup due to the Coronavirus shutdown. While this is overall bad news, the silver lining can be found in more one-off small-batch limited releases from Sunriver that will now be canned up and available out in distribution and not just at their pubs.
With many wholesale distributors refusing to take on any kegs into their inventory, brewers are forced to find new ways to move their product.
“At this point in time we have ceased all draft production,” says Sunriver brewmaster Brett Thomas. “For the foreseeable future production is going to be made up almost exclusively of core canned product.”
Which means the only beers being brewed at Sunriver now are Rippin, Fuzztail, Vicious Mosquito and Cocoa Cow, but we can count on those being fresh. Happily, Sunriver has an extensive lineup of specialty beers that were already in the pipeline.
Sunriver Brewing launched a special limited release line of 16oz canned beers in early 2019, those small batch productions have been available almost exclusively at their pubs in Bend, Sunriver and Eugene. There were monthly new releases planned for the limited series but as of now those plans are on hold with 8 beers scheduled that may never see the light of day.
On the bright side, consumers will see more limited release draft and pub exclusive beers in 16oz cans, both in central Oregon and in Portland. T’ Rippin Tangerine Pale Ale and Formerly Known As Hazy IPA are canned up and headed to Maletis Beverage in Portland now.
T’Rippin – Tangerine Pale Ale Go through the looking glass and find a mirror universe version of our award winning Rippin NW Pale Ale. This brew comes to life as a hazy pale ale that has been blended with 160 pounds of tangerine puree. Hops: Citra, Mosaic, Amarillo Other Ingredients: Tangerine 6% ABV 35 IBU
Formerly Known As – Hazy IPA Open some smiles with a hazy IPA that is dripping with juicy hop flavor. We blend two of our favorite orange- citrus forward hops with a newly released variety, Lotus, to give this beer a distinct freshly squeezed orange juice character. HOPS: Lotus, Mandarina Bavaria, Comet 6.8% ABV 40 IBU
Commitments from distributors are not as strong as they once were though, it takes the public to move the product consistently for the next beers to be picked up. The Willamette Valley and central Oregon will see the following special releases in April, hopefully Portland will get them too if sales remain strong.
Cameron’s Crest – Scottish Ale Brewed to celebrate the Scottish heritage of the Cameron Family, the owners of Sunriver Brewing Company. This 90- schilling ale is light bodied and amber colored, featuring malty notes of biscuit, toffee and caramel. HOPS: Northern Brewer 4.8% ABV 20 IBU
Creative Solutions – American Pale Ale These challenging times call for Creative Solutions. Originally brewed to help fund the restoration of the famed Bend Hedge, this brew has been repurposed to give thanks to all of the medical professionals on the front lines of this pandemic. HOPS: Chinook, Mosaic, Strata 5.8% ABV 35 IBU
Resin Nation – Double IPA We’ve brought our favorite hops to this resinous party. This big beer is hopped to the max with layers of pine oil, tropical fruit, citrus and blueberries. A pale malt backbone supports hopping rates of 8 pounds per barrel. HOPS: Simcoe, Amarillo, Mosaic 8.6% ABV 80 IBU 1.076 OG 6 SRM
“We are not going to package or brew to package draft of any kind until we see that on-premise will open back up for service,” says Ryan Duley. “We realize that this will put a kink into things once on-prem does open back up, but there are too many unknowns to take any chances of wasting beer.”
Sunriver Brewing is offering take out service and beer delivery from all three of their pubs in Bend, Sunriver and Eugene, OR. Call your local or check the websites for more info.
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.