By Nate Brocious, tasting room manager at Deschutes Brewery
It’s been a few months since we first announced that Roanoke, Virginia, would be home to Deschutes Brewery’s first east coast tasting room and brewing facility.
Our public house and brewery were born nearly 30 years ago in Bend, Oregon’s rugged high desert country, along the banks of the Deschutes River. At the time, few had heard of craft beer, fewer cared, and our English-style Black Butte Porter stood in dark contrast to the lighter lagers of the big breweries.
Our founders persevered none-the-less with a vision to make unique beer that pairs amazingly well with outdoor lifestyles, served in a comfortable gathering spot. Over the years, we introduced new flagships like Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Obsidian Stout. One drinker at a time, we built a devoted fan base of people who like top quality brew and the amazing experiences we strive to provide. From the very beginning, we’ve also believed in helping to build strong communities wherever we live and work.
We’re proud of that legacy. So, when looking to expand to the right side of the country, we needed just the right place to embed those values. We found it in Virginia’s lush and rolling Blue Ridge Mountains.
Here is a kindred community of craft beer lovers dedicated to each other and to the outdoors! Here is a place where renowned southern hospitality will complement our culture of offering outstanding experiences. Here we can continue helping to build healthy communities and putting people first.
Since we first began to look at Roanoke back in 2015, we have received the warmest of welcomes from local breweries, beer drinkers, business leaders and elected officials, all eager to see us put down roots and bring our passion to the community’s growing craft beer scene.
Roanoke got an early glimpse of us during two Street Pub events; the first in the summer of 2016 and the most recent in 2017. Both years, our 400-foot pop-up pub came and went in 24 hours, drawing about 20,000 to Elmwood Park. Locals got to sample our beer and say hello to friends, and we raised some $140,000 for area non-profits in just two years.
We’ve loved the area so much that in the past two years we’ve rallied our teams to clean up Tinker Creek twice.
We must have made a lot of new friends. On Aug. 28, 2017, hours before we officially opened our tasting room to the public, we were surprised and humbled to see a line had formed around the block on Market Street. Since then, we continue to welcome guests inside with friendly, knowledgeable staff and something always fresh on tap.
Our tasting room was the start of a permanent footprint that will culminate to a fully operating brewery and east coast distribution center in 2021. Just like our original pub in Bend, we want our new tasting room to be a community gathering spot with a real sense of place.
Here customers can come and experience a part of Oregon in our new east coast home. This will be something unique to Roanoke – inspired by the fantastic history and culture of Virginia. Our plan is to contribute to the growing vibrancy of the region as a craft beer and outdoor recreation destination.
This summer, for example, we were excited to sponsor Roanoke Outside’s 2017 GO Cross Cyclocross Race; two full days of biking, leaping and slogging on the trail and of course, plenty of delicious beer. Our kind of fun!
We may be one of the oldest breweries in the country, but in Roanoke, we’re energized and excited to say, we’re just getting started. Come by and check out our brand of craft beer culture.
Get all the details about our Roanoke Tasting Room here.