Worthy Brewing, located deep in Bend’s Eastside, was opened February of this year in a city that prides itself in a good IPA and earning your position in the social ladder. Worthy decided they didn’t have time for that nonsense and skipped that step hopping straight into craft brew dominance when they built a MASSIVE, 21,000 square foot brew campus containing everything from a fresh hop garden to bag-toss court (seriously, ask the bartenders for bean bags…you wont regret playing the classic lawn game with an IPA in your hand).
I’ve been to the brewery a couple of times with friends and family. If you’re coming into town, it’s a must stop spot, even if it is a little out of the way. Take a second to go and look at the hop greenhouse, where they are growing the bitterness for the IPA you’re going to have inside.
Speaking of, this trip I had their shiny, bran-spankin-new Triple Fresh IPA: a blast of citrus, almost orange aroma greeting you to a very full-bodied, full-hopped IPA with a strange and earthy finish. If it weren’t for the finish, this thing would be pretty good. Talking with the bartender, I found out the brewmaster — legendary Portland-native Chad Kennedy, if I”m not mistaken — put in 11 different hop varieties from the brewery’s literal back yard to build this monster. If nothing else, you have to appreciate Worthy’s ambition and creativity. They for sure aren’t afraid to stand hoppy in an increasingly experimental Oregon craft beer market. It’s worth a taster for sure. I also had their vanilla-infused Stout, which the are putting in cans now. More on that at a later date.
But, if you’re going with an IPA here there’s only one way to go: Worthy IPA. Bend is home to a couple of amazing IPA, there is no doubt about it. Between Boneyard’s RPM IPA, 10 Barrel’s Apocalypse IPA, and Deschutes’ Inversion there is a hell of a lot of competition. But, after tasting Worthy’s IPA for the first, then second, then third, then fifteenth time (just to be sure…) I’m making a bold claim:
Worthy Brewing Company makes the best IPA in Oregon, and therefore the world.
Before you roll your eyes, I need you to do three thing:
1) Don’t be a jerk — rolling your eyes is rude.
2) Taste the damn beer.
3) Hear me out.
The head on this beer is a rich and blasts a light citrus, mostly hoppy nose. Initial taste is crisp, but amazingly balanced with citrus (think a little orange and a touch of lemon) and very light malt presence rounded out with the perfect amount of bitterness. Seriously, if you’re mouth isn’t watering at the moment, go to another industry — this one isn’t for you.
So you might be asking right now, “But Beer Detective, if the beer is that good, why haven’t I heard of it already?” Well, fellow craft beer lover, I theorize it’s for a couple of reasons. For one, they are pretty dang new. Second, Bend is a bit of an isolated bubble for new breweries. But, in my opinion, the number one problem is their reputation.
Worthy was bankrolled by Roger Worthington, a well-known California lawyer and Indie-hop co-founder. He helped put down the money to purchase the land where Worthy currently sits, put money down so that the brand-new brewery could put out up to 70,000 barrels (140,000 kegs, to give perspective) of their delicious brew a year.
Why is this a problem? Let the man finish.
Bend has a certain swagger about it; residents like their hard work and they like to reward themselves after it’s done. Most Bend residents I’ve met have worked hard to be where they are today, and they are proud of that. Because of that, the successful local breweries are mostly guys who started brewing in their garage, got a nice apprenticeship somewhere, and came back to their home city to bring their hard work and give it to the people. 10 Barrel is packed near every night (founded by two brothers who owned another downtown Bend restaurant before opening 10 Barrel in 2006), Boneyard doesn’t even serve pints at their tap room, but yet is one of the most popular breweries in the state—try getting a keg of RPM…not going to happen. I’ve tried (Also, they are in a super kitchy spot on the west side co-founded by Bend resident Tony Lawrence with scrap parts).
So, imagine you’re looking to support these guys, who worked their way up and absolutely make a great product, only to see some big cat with money waltz in a fancy-schmancy new facility that towers way over the city in all of it’s metal-glass-wood glory. Not appealing, right?
Well, I’m calling for a revolution. Don’t judge the book by their cover: they’ve got an awesome team over at Worthy and someone, who has given the craft brew industry quite a lot (look forward to the piece pending about Roger Worthington), believed in them.
Don’t strip yourself of great brew because you don’t think they’ve earned your time.