One of Central Oregon’s family-owned breweries has launched its long-awaited second location. Porter Brewing Co. opened The Cellar in Bend on the corner of Oregon Ave and Wall St in an underground, 100-year-old historic building.
In September of 2018, the Roberts started Porter Brewing Co., opening their first craft brewery and tasting in Redmond. Avara and Deven Roberts aimed to create Central Oregon’s first all-cask brewery, which specializes in cask-conditioned ales.
Now, the Roberts are thrilled to bring their cask ales to downtown Bend. In a speakeasy-like setting, The Cellar features in-house brews, including Irish Red-mond Ale, Jackpine IPA, and Best Bitter. You can also look forward to a few site-specific beers made for the Redmond and Bend locations, respectively.
Bend Brewpub on the Horizon
One year after opening Porter Brewing Co., the Roberts were presented with an opportunity to open a second pub in Bend. They knew the underground building would be the perfect location. After months of preparation, they signed a lease for a historic and unique space—in February of 2020.
“Unfortunately, COVID derailed the original opening date, and everything got pushed out,” Avara recollected.
“Things seemed to move much slower during [the pandemic], especially the first half of the year. It took longer to get permits, for paperwork to process, to book contractors, even the cost of building materials skyrocketed. We never really talked about stopping the project. In our minds, we had already made the decision to persevere through the unknown of 2020 and move forward with the taproom.”
The couple never gave up on their dream to open The Cellar; they knew that the location and setting were unparalleled. “We were confident that once The Cellar opened, we would be able to offer a deliciously unique product, and a comfortable space for the community to enjoy,” she said. “And I think folks in Bend are ready for that, especially after such a long period of solitude.”
The Cellar Preserves History for Beer, Bend, and Family
Some breweries force-carbonate their beer using carbon dioxide. Cask conditioning uses a different method that allows the carbonation to occur naturally during its secondary fermentation process. Beer is transferred to the casks, where yeast consumes its sugars and thus producing carbon dioxide. It’s also during this time that unique flavors are developed.
“You’ll find this was the traditional method of serving beer in the pubs in Britain, and it dates back to hundreds of years ago.”
Similarly, The Cellar features eight beer engines and hand pumps imported from the UK. With its centuries-long history, hand pumps pay homage to the preservation of cask conditioning. Also, they look very cool. Another reason The Cellar feels like it was made for serving cask ales.
“When we started demo[lition], we pulled the drywall down off the walls and ceiling and uncovered two really cool lava rock walls and some beautiful wooden beams in the ceiling. That was definitely something we wanted to highlight. All the quirks in the building add to the history and charm of the space, which we love,” Avara shared.
The Cellar features many family heirlooms throughout the brewpub, which pay homage to Deven’s English heritage. You’ll find a few unique pieces showcasing the building’s historic roots. In one corner of the brewpub, you can enjoy a frosty ale in The Snug.
“Back when it was frowned upon for women to be seen in bars and pubs, they could enjoy a drink in this private room called a snug,” Avara shared. Additionally, a small nook at the brewpub’s forefront features antique chairs, a gas fireplace, and old board games.
English Pub Fare
The Cellar will provide a food menu, which consists of savory pies, soft pretzels with beer cheese, and sausage bites. “And really, what pairs better with a Scottish meat pie or a chicken curry pie, than a cask-conditioned ale,” Avara cheerfully exclaimed. Vi’s Pies are a tribute to their daughter, Violet, while Porter Brewing gets its namesake from their son, Porter.
Both Porter Brewing Co. and The Cellar have been a labor of love, especially over the past 13 months. Avara and Deven actively participate in business operations, but having two elementary school-aged children home for distance learning has made this journey exceptionally challenging. Still, they continued forward.
“Our kids are seeing first hand what hard work looks like, and my hope is that we’re teaching them that if you put in the time and energy, you can achieve your goals. We are also fortunate to have an incredibly supportive family who has been a tremendous help through the entire process. It really does take a village.”