By Dustin Gouker
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Crow’s Feet Commons
Crow’s Feet has turned into a favorite for both locals and visitors looking to grab a beer or a coffee in Bend. The funky space is an ideal spot between Bend’s downtown and the Deschutes River. Crow’s Feet is located in the Goodwillie-Allen-Rademacher house, built in 1904, and is one of the oldest structures still standing in Bend. When it’s not too cold or snowy, their back porch offers a few of the river. Inside you’ll find intimate seating — including a couch in front of a fireplace — where you and a loved one can enjoy a beer. There are 16 taps featuring an often eclectic and constantly rotating selection of beer (as well as some ciders and kombucha).
875 NW Brooks St.
Crux Fermentation Project
Given that this is a section about where to drink a Bend beer, we’d be remiss in not including at least one local brewpub. However, brewpubs, by their nature, aren’t necessarily romantic places. But Crux offers some romantic amenities that many others don’t. For one, there’s the expansive view of the Cascade Mountains that’s tough to beat. And if you brave the cold to check out the outdoor patio — snow permitting — you can enjoy a beer on a bench in front of a roaring fire. Crux is considered one of the best beer makers in town as well, so it’s got a lot going for it on the “craft beer date” front.
50 SW Division St.
There are plenty of romantic and more upscale eateries to choose from in downtown Bend. But Drake is one of the smaller, more intimate spots to enjoy a meal and/or drink with a significant other. The dim lighting looking out on the hustle and bustle of downtown Bend provides a great spot to catch one’s breath. There’s not a bad seat in the house for a romantic night out, from the cozy booths along the windows to a beautiful and intimate bar area as well as seating where you can watch the kitchen do its thing. Drake rotates six beers on tap, which usually consist of a couple of standard local offerings along with a few quirkier regional selections.
801 NW Wall St.
Elk Lake Resort
It doesn’t get much more remote than this for a romantic getaway. In the winter, you can only get there by skiing, snowmobile or the resort’s Sno-Cat. In the heart of the Cascade Mountains, it’s a beautiful place to enjoy winter activities or just the beauty of the region. Inside, the resort’s restaurant is a rustic, romantic spot for a meal or a drink after a day of snow play. There are usually nine different Central Oregon beers on tap. The resort is only open Thursday-Saturday during the winter months.
60000 Century Drive
McMenamins Old St. Francis School
Bend’s version of the McMenamins franchise has plenty of charm, and plenty of romantic nooks and crannies to sip a beer. The former Catholic schoolhouse has fire pits all over the property, and you can often find at least one you can enjoy to yourself during an evening. The best outdoor spot is probably O’Kanes, which is set apart from the rest of the property near the back. If you don’t want to brave the elements, the Fireside Bar has plenty of booths and a constantly roaring fire. And for an even more intimate setting, try to find the hidden Broom Closet bar. The full lineup of McMenamins’ standard beers is available pretty much everywhere on the property, usually along with brews that might only be found in Bend.
700 NW Bond St.
By Gail Oberst
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Gold Beach was named for the bonanza of gold found at the mouth of the Rogue River in the 1800s.
But now there’s a different source of gold in town. Arch Rock Brewing Company’s multiple gold medals have put a new sparkle in this scenic Southern Oregon coastal village. Since it opened three years ago, Arch Rock’s Gold Beach Lager has won prestigious gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival and at the North American Beer Awards, as well as gold for its State of Jefferson Porter, also at the NABA. Additionally, the brewery was featured in a Cosmopolitan magazine article titled “Best Places for a Quickie,” referring to drinks, not the other kind.
Owners of the brewery, Larry and Marjie Brennan, and their production team, Kristen and James Smith, have filled the Brennan’s former cabinet shop with three 30-barrel fermenters, a 30-barrel brite tank, and a 15-barrel brewhouse. Since the unexpected accolades two years ago, brewer Smith said production has skyrocketed.
“People started taking us seriously,” Smith said. “Medals sure help to get your name out. The brewery is self-distributed for the most part in Southern Oregon, but also at a few bars and bottle shops in Portland. For the Cosmo-style “Quickie” experience, visit the brewery a mile or so off Highway 101, at 28779 Hunter Creek Loop, Gold Beach. In a small alcove with a window to the brewery, visitors can taste what’s on tap. Growlers are also filled onsite.
For those who want to sip Arch Rock suds in the comfort of a country bar, Hunter Creek Bar & Grill next door carries Arch Rock’s lineup.
How did this wilderness shop become an award-winning brewery so quickly? Smith claims it is luck, but three-peats prove it is his talent.
Raised in a relatively liberal Utah Mormon family, James started homebrewing in 1999. He joined the ranks of Uinta Brewing’s crew and eventually began brewing for them. Everything changed in 2009, the year James met and fell in love with Kristen, a Grand Teton Brewing Company employee, at the Great American Beer Festival. He followed her to Idaho’s Grand Teton Brewing, taking a job as a cellarman there. Within a few years, they started scouting out a small-town brewery they could run together.
At the same time, Larry and Marjie Brennan were looking for a better use of their cabinet shop space and had settled on a brewery. Together, the two couples hit gold -- medals, that is — within a year of opening.
“We’re both used to remote areas,” said Smith. “We wanted to be in a small town. This is perfect for us.” Kristen was born and raised in Michigan.
Today, the two couples run the business with help from a delivery driver. In 2014, Arch Rock sold 845 barrels. Last year, capacity expanded to 1,800 barrels.
Visitors to the brewery are welcome 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, visit their web page, archrockbrewingcompany.com or call 541-247-0555.
Josh and Annie Pfriem are preparing to expand their family brewery to the rest of the 20,000-square-foot Halyard Building in Hood River. The move brings extra stress and long hours, but finding time for themselves, along with a foundation of friendship, helps keep their relationship strong. Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
By Kirby Neumann-Rea
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Few beer names are worth a battle royal for trademark infringement, but you couldn’t blame Josh and Annie Pfriem for going to court if they really wanted to dub a beer “Headlamp.” It’s a name used by at least three American breweries. But there likely won’t be any legal battles anytime soon — the owners of pFriem Family Brewers in Hood River gravitate toward more traditional names rather than relying on puns, places or physical objects.
But if they did go another route, “Headlamp” should be theirs by any romantic right.
Their love started with beer and a headlamp-lit glacier and it continued to grow while helping develop two breweries. Now with a family and a business — a brewery of their own that focuses on Belgian-style beers and brings home numerous awards — life is more complex, perhaps. But it’s also more rewarding. However, their relationship didn’t start out on such strong footing.
The two worked together as ski guides in British Columbia, Canada and when they met, “We really clashed,” said Josh, now 35. “I was arrogant and young and she was loud and emotional.”
Annie confirmed the description and added, “We were really young and I had broken up with my college boyfriend, and I was like, ‘I don’t need you.’”
The guide work was “a couple-year commitment, and it was a tight-knit group of like-minded folks,” Josh explained. “And we were friends for the first couple of years we knew each other, but at the start we actually didn’t like each other.”
A mutual dislike gave way after a beer recommendation.
“That first summer, we kept away from each other. But when we came back to the U.S. we hit Boundary Bay in Bellingham,” said Josh.
“His hometown brewery, you know?” Annie interjected while elbowing Josh.
“And Annie and I happen to sit next to each other and she was having trouble deciding what to drink, and I said, ‘Do you need a beer recommendation?’”
"'Even though I drink craft beer," Annie said.
“But she was stuck,” Josh said.
So Josh recommended a Blonde ale. She liked it, and that led to talking about skiing, and coming out that winter to snowboard at Mount Baker.
"And that's when our friendship took off and it led to a relationship," Josh said.
Shortly after they started dating, the first mountain they summited together was Sahale Mountain in northern Washington. But as they descended in the dark, that’s when the headlamp entered the picture: Annie’s broke, requiring her to follow behind Josh.
“It was an epic day and we learned later that both of us thought later on, ‘If we ever have a little girl, Sahale would be a pretty awesome name,’” said Josh.
Their first child, daughter Sahale, is now 10. The couple also have 6-year-old son Watou, named for a beer center in Belgium. Their other child, the brewery, was conceived at least 10 years ago when Annie and Josh realized their mutual fondness for the craft.
“I'd get home from brewing, and fire up the homebrewing, trying recipes,” Josh said. “pFriem Brewery was the plan all along, and Annie’s been part of the process from day one; together we're talking, visiting places — including Belgium -- building a vision of what we wanted to have happen.”
Today, “our employees love to see us working together,” Josh said. As they sit next to each other in the brewery’s cozy upper room, decorated by Annie and termed “The Library,” something sparkles as clear as a pFriem pilsner — their mutual willingness to tease and be teased, and that they can seamlessly finish each other’s thoughts.
“When we're here in the office and Annie gets too loud and I tell her to ‘Be quiet, it’s very not corporate,’” he said. “We go to beer events together and people see us as a couple, it shows more and more of what we're trying to do here at pFriem.
“I’m soft at heart but pretty go-go-go during my day to get things done, and Annie's pretty good at letting people know the softer side — when they need the Mama when Papa's a little too gruff.”
In fact, in the early part of their marriage, Josh took to calling Annie “Brew Mama.” It’s a nickname she puts on her business card and illustrates some of her chief brewery roles — ensuring “the touch and feel” of place, making sure the customers are comfortable and the atmosphere is family-like. She’s also in charge of donations and community outreach while assisting with the business’ social media presence. “But touch and feel is the little things you see around pFriem that you don’t necessarily see in restaurants or, more specifically, breweries.”
Of course, with success comes new challenges. This year, pFriem is planning to take over the rest of the 20,000-square-foot Halyard Building, which is owned by the Port of Hood River. That will provide more space for storage, fermenting, bottling and the office. While stress and long hours accompany any expansion, creating something together has its rewards as well.
Josh adds, “It’s really romantic that we're building something together. It’s like raising children, there's a romance to that."
How are beer and romance connected? “It gives an opportunity for love and joy,” Josh answered.
Annie was more to the point: “Beer is sexy,” she laughed.
As busy as they are with running a burgeoning business, they manage to find time for themselves and family.
“We have little breaks, and our kids have grown up in the mountains — between skiing and biking and camping and nowadays we mountain bike quite a bit,” Josh said. “That’s another way we connect outside the brewery. We try to get out on mountain bike dates, rather than going out to dinner. Since we do so much for events, we try to do non-beer things. But there's usually a beer at the end.”
Referring back to the origin of their relationship, Josh said that “we were definitely just friends for a long time, which has helped these times — some of them hard when you have the brewery and this business and the children,” he said. “We have this cement foundation of friendship.”
By Michael Kew
For the Oregon Beer Growler
You might call it destiny.
Before they first met, both made ale in their home kitchens. Both longed for a brewery in Coos Bay. Both spent months crafting crude sculptures in a ceramics class at Southwestern Oregon Community College.
“He doesn't remember me from that," Annie Pollard told me amid light January rain outside her brewpub. “I was never gutsy enough to talk to him. I was afraid I'd get rejected."
Apparently, he didn't date much.
The year was 2003. Managing a Dutch Bros. Coffee shop, Carmen Matthews worked the grind — literally. Self-defined as “very picky," he’d been single for a while.
"I didn't know Annie was in that class because she was hidden from me," he said with a smirk. "She was a wallflower, and I was schmoozing with all the older ladies.”
By 2007, Pollard was a grad student, studying marine biology at the University of Oregon campus in Charleston, where Matthews lived, nine miles west of downtown Coos Bay.
"We'd cross paths, but he still didn't know who I was. I kept seeing him because he was in a band and he worked at Dutch Bros. and he volunteered everywhere. Finally, I told my friends that I had a crush."
A mutual friend threw a bash.
"We were all hanging out in a room," Matthews said. "Suddenly, everyone evacuated -- except Annie and I."
Pollard: "Our friends shut the doors on purpose and leaned on them so we couldn't get out."
"They were all in on the plan to get us together!" Matthews said, laughing. "Just lock 'em in a room ... But it worked! By the end of the party, we were on the couch, awkwardly making out like teenagers."
Within a year, they’d domesticated in Charleston. Next came the 7 Devils genesis and many odd jobs, including seasonal gigs in Alaska and Antarctica, where Pollard researched penguins — and from where, in February 2012, she flew to meet Matthews for their Kauai beach wedding.
They hadn't seen each other for 90 days.
"I'd fallen on ice and broken a tooth," Pollard said, chuckling at the memory. "I had Carmen bring me the dress and the jewelry. He planned the whole wedding — I just showed up! It was awesome."
Matthew's dad performed the ceremony, which was followed by barbecue and a classic Hawaiian sunset.
"It was super romantic," Matthews said, winking.
But today, four years on … how's the love going, guys?
"We have two relationships," Pollard said. "We're business partners, and we're life partners. If you let it, the business side will dominate — you've got to make sure that doesn't happen. In the first couple of years, the business side [of 7 Devils] was so all-consuming for us, and it was hard. But now that things are in place, our personal life is flourishing again. It's nice."
We three were chatting two days after the two brewers had returned from a well-deserved stint on the Big Island, where, mentally, 7 Devils did not exist.
"I barely knew that I owned a brewery," Matthews said. "We're good about 'turning it off' when we’re out of town.”
What about while in town?
“We'll be at home having dinner, or sitting next to the fire, and we end up talking about work,” he admitted. “That can be a little bit of a cloud over the evening. We don't want to talk about work all the time, so we have to be really conscientious about focusing on each other and our relationship and our hopes and dreams beyond the brewery."
They balance each other out, he assured.
“I'm a spender, Annie's a saver — you would think that would cause a lot of clashes, but we've met in the middle. And when Annie is stressed out, I know exactly why, and vice versa. It's easier to be sympathetic. There's more understanding because you know where your mate is coming from.”
“Not all business partners are good business partners," Pollard said, "but because we were excellent life partners, we had a good chance of being good business partners. If we can work with money together, travel together and sleep in a van together, we can run a brewery together."
"But the brewery isn’t our only baby," Matthews said, grinning.
The couple is due to birth a girl in July — 7 Devils' busiest month.
"I'm a little terrified about the timing," Pollard said. "And I won't get to take maternity leave."
"It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out," Matthews said. "We're really excited."
"Yeah," Pollard laughed. “We're gonna need a bassinet in the brewhouse."
7 Devils Brewing Co.
(a) 247 S. Second St., Coos Bay
By Erica Tiffany-Brown
Of the Oregon Beer Growler
I am secure enough in myself to admit I used to watch this show on Bravo called “The Millionaire Matchmaker.” In said show, the matchmaker, Patti Stanger, tells the couples they need to follow a two-drink maximum rule on their dates. While that’s probably a good idea in theory, I believe rules were made to be broken. I also believe there are far too many delicious Oregon beers out there to limit yourself to only sharing two with your significant other.
But before we get into what beer you’ll be drinking on your date, there is one important question to answer: Do you go out or do you stay in? Fortunately for you, I’ve provided options for both!
— If you’re feeling extra indulgent, pamper yourselves with a romantic trip to Bend’s Anjou Spa. For over a year now, Anjou has collaborated with GoodLife Brewing for a special “Spa Hoppiness” menu of services. It turns out the ingredients in beer are actually really beneficial for your skin. Your taste buds will take pleasure in the experience as well with some complimentary draft beer. Treat yourselves to the Ale-ing Foot Remedy, Brew & Renew Body Polish or the Stout Scalp Treatment. Or spoil yourselves to all three treatments and you’ll receive a beer-infused natural LeCol soap to keep the fun going back at home. Good luck keeping your hands off one another!
— For a fun night out, OMSI After Dark’s 21-and-over monthly event lets adults channel their nerdy side. This month, the museum will feature two events — OMSI After Dark: Gaming on Feb. 24 and OMSI After Dark: Sex & Love on Feb. 13. Formal wear is encouraged at the latter event, so it’s a good excuse to get dressed up. According to OMSI, be prepared to “get down and dirty as we explore the science of attraction.” Rumor has it Rogue will be on hand selling their beers.
Pro Tip: Stop at nearby Hair of the Dog Brewing before the event to get a little warmed up for all the dirty talk.
A night in can be very underrated when it comes to dating. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you have to be boring — get creative! But if you’re not the imaginative type, don’t worry; I’ve done the hard work for you. First, let’s focus on what beer you should have on hand. This is one third wheel you’ll actually want tagging along with you!
Depending on your current relationship status, there’s an Oregon beer for that.
My recommendations are as follows:
— Crux Tough Love [Banished] 2015 (11.5% ABV, 70 IBUs): a barrel-aged imperial stout that has been “banished” for nine months in Kentucky bourbon barrels. According to Crux, “Tough Love is big, but smooth with tender strokes of vanilla.”
— Alameda Love Squirts (6% ABV): a chocolate strawberry stout. Too lazy to make your own chocolate-covered strawberries from scratch? Never fear, beer is here! And a hilariously named one at that. They say laughter is carbonated love, right?
— Ex Novo Friends With Benefits (10% ABV, 23 IBUs): a peated scotch ale aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. If you consider yourselves a little more than just FWB, try the brewery’s Dynamic Duo IIPA (8% ABV, 70 IBUs) instead. Or, if you’re happy to be flying solo this year, you’ll get a kick out of their Psycho Ex Triple IPA (10.5% ABV, 92 IBUs).
Runners-Up: Upright Brewing Oyster Stout (6.25% ABV) a British-style stout brewed with both oyster liquor and whole oysters (an aphrodisiac!), Mazama White Wedding IPA (5.2% ABV, 55 IBUs) a marriage of Belgian wit and Northwest IPA — proof that opposites can attract — and Southern Oregon Brewing Black Heart (8.5% ABV) an imperial stout with chocolaty malt aromas, “Black Heart is full of body and not for the faint of heart.”
Now that we have the most important part of the evening figured out, let’s move on to the actual date ideas to go along with the drinks!
— When two people love each other very much, they get together and make … a beer! Even if you two have never brewed a batch before, Rogue makes it a little bit easier by allowing you to produce clones of their popular beers with homebrew kits you can buy online — just add yeast. I recommend the Shakespeare Stout, and not just because of the writer’s inspiring romantic poetry — his plays are also full of allusions to his love of ale.
— Cook with beer. You can even put it in the food! Collaborate together and make a unique beer-themed meal. Check out our Brew Bites column online for inspiration, like a beer-brined rack of lamb with mint pesto for dinner and some Ninkasi Vanilla Oatis Stout ding dongs for dessert. Or, considering you were too lazy to even make the aforementioned chocolate-covered strawberries, you could get extra cheesy and order a heart-shaped pie from Pizza Hut (see what I did there?).
— If you prefer to compete rather than collaborate, this idea is for you. After ordering a pizza, crack open your bottles and battle one another in a board game made for beer lovers. Beer Smarts Game 2.0 is an “intoxicating question and answer game for beer lovers everywhere.” The game includes a scorepad so you can make sure the loser does whatever the winner desires. Another fun game is Brew-opoly, which is very similar to Monopoly, although you purchase brews and taphouses instead of houses and hotels. There are fun twists, where you might have to put on beer goggles and kiss your neighbor or stand and sing “99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall.” The game even features some beloved Oregon breweries like Full Sail and Deschutes.
Whether you go out or stay in this Valentine’s Day, there’s no excuse to not invite Oregon beer along for your date. But beware of imbibing too far beyond the two-beer maximum, as it was in Macbeth that Shakespeare wrote, “It provokes the desire but takes away the performance.”
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