|7/29/2008 12:52:00 PM|
Brew pub opens in Sisters
By Pete Rathbun
|Wade Underwood has launched a brew pub in Sisters. It opened “quietly,” and has been busy since. photo by Pete Rathbun
Last Monday - two or three weeks early - the much-anticipated Three Creeks Brewing Company opened for business at FivePine Lodge & Conference Center in Sisters.
"We originally planned to open sometime in August," owner Wade Underwood said, "but we were ready, so we (quietly) opened up last week, and we've been slammed ever since."
With only one or two patrons in the pub at 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning, "This is the slowest it's been, by far," the bartender told The Nugget.
Underwood has been planning this venture since moving to the Sisters area a couple of years ago from Phoenix, where he and his wife had spent the previous eight years. Wade was a key part of an e-commerce business that grew, and eventually sold, there.
A native Oregonian, he wanted to get back to his home state.
"Either Southern or Central," he says. "We (he and his wife, who grew up in California) met in the Valley (Beaverton), and I grew up in the Valley ... we didn't want to go back to that much rain."
They knew some Sisters-area people, and liked the town, so came here to rent. A year later they built their own home here. This pub has been on Wade's mind since then.
Underwood frankly states that he likes "the start-up end of things." He was looking for work when he came to Sisters, and met with a lot of business owners, managers and head-hunters, trying to find a good fit.
"I just couldn't find a job that I was suited for," he said, "so I started writing business plans, and this is the one that kept coming around; the one I liked the most; the one that fit the community most.
"I'm a finance-operations guy by background," he said, "and I've been fixing parts of other people's companies for 10 years... I won't say I've got a crystal ball... it's still a gamble, but we've put a lot of thought into the size of the place, the location, the look and feel."
The house brew master, Dave Fleming, has a dozen years' experience in the business, including the well-known (at least, to this correspondent) "Lucky Lab" in Portland and McMenamin's St. Francis School location in Bend.
"He's a heck of a brewer ... when it gets down to recipe creation, he's as good as any brewer I've found," Underwood said. And, the owner says, "he's great with the clientele."
Currently there are three house brews on tap: "Knotty Blonde;" "Old Prospector Ale;" and Fleming's own creation, "India Black Ale." Underwood promises more varieties once the dust settles. The ales that are on tap now take seven to 10 days to produce, but lagers take around 21.
"When you need beer," he said, "you don't make lager. Right now we've got a red, a rye and another Knotty Blonde in the tank; the rye should actually be hitting about the time (The Nugget hits the street) on Wednesday."
The head chef, Aron Ferera, cooks up a tasty menu, from a cheese and crawfish dip appetizer, to burgers, to a grilled salmon with raspberry chipotle butter, all at very reasonable prices.
The brew pub has also brought much-needed jobs to town; Three Creeks currently employs about 35 staff. Many, of course, will be seasonal, and go back to school or to the slopes as the summer season winds down. A good number, though, will stay on through the winter.
The atmosphere at Three Creeks is spot-on Sisters Country: a blend of folksy-rustic and fine craftsmanship, and this correspondent found the staff upbeat, friendly and attentive.
In addition to the bar, the pub features a large public (kid-friendly) dining area, two pool tables and room for live entertainment. The entire establishment is smoke-free.
Three Creeks Brewing Company is located at 721 Desperado Court, right across from Sisters Movie House. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. For information call 549-1963. Their Web site, www.threecreeksbrewing.com, is currently under construction.
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