Tag Archives: History

Frontier Brewing: the Woods Brewery at Tetherow Crossing

During my research for the book I uncovered hints toward a frontier-era brewery being located at Tetherow Crossing, a fording point of the Deschutes River about five miles west of present-day Redmond. Andrew Tetherow filed a claim for the land in 1877, and by 1879 he had built a cable ferry across the river, which eventually was upgraded to a bridge. The Crossing became a way point, with a stage area and a store for travelers coming over the Cascade Mountains bound for the Crooked River valley.

Tetherow Crossing location
Map view of historic Tetherow Crossing location

One of the first clues about the brewery that existed there was found in old photographs indexed by the Deschutes Historical Society; there are a number of them of the Tetherow Crossing buildings and bridge circa 1900, and tantalizingly, someone had written “Brewery in background” below one of them—unfortunately, the building it referred to in the background was indistinct. Other clues I found on the web on sites like this one mention “a store, farm, ranch, orchard, garden, dairy, blacksmith and brewery,” but I couldn’t find cited sources.

Author and historian Phil Brogan, writing for the Bulletin in 1980 on the history of Tetherow Crossing, made no mention of a brewery—instead, he mentions a still, on the west side of the river.

So I didn’t have enough to go on for the book, and within my deadline I really did not have a chance to dig deeper on this Tetherow brewery at the time. But you know, research is really an ongoing project, and just recently I discovered much more detail about the brewery—found in the book Central Oregon Place Names, Volume III: Deschutes County, by Steve Lent and just published within the past year!

Lent references the brewery as Woods Brewery, and he wrote:

This early brewery was located at Tetherow Crossing on the Deschutes River west of Redmond. It was west of the Tetherow stage stop and on the west side of the river. Lynn Woods from Prineville built the brewery at the site in 1890. He preferred the clean water of the Deschutes River for his brewing. He built a frame building about 35 by 50 feet in which his brewing activity took place. The brewery operated until 1898.

He sources the Bend Bulletin and the 1880 Wasco County Census (I will try to find specific date/issue of the Bulletin for this info).

I’m glad to see this confirmed, and this means early Central Oregon had three frontier breweries: the Ochoco Brewery in Prineville from 1882 to 1890; the Woods Brewery; and the Prineville Brewery from 1893 to 1906.

Now to figure out just what they brewed there…

“Bend Beer,” one year later

One year ago today, October 21st, was the official publish date of Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon! Over the course of the past year there have been many events and signings where I have been able to talk about the book, beer, and Bend’s history, and the book itself has been successful and sold very well. A big “Thank You!” to all of the folks who have bought the book, attended an event, and/or have supported Bend Beer along the way!

Of course the Central Oregon beer scene has not been static over this past year, so I thought it would be interesting to review the various changes that have occurred over the past year from where the book leaves off (which was “current” as of about June, 2014).

10 Barrel Brewing sold to Anheuser-Busch. The news broke on this the week after Bend Beer came out—talk about timing! The owners of 10 Barrel had quietly been in talks with ABInBev for about seven months prior to the announcement of the sale, the terms of which have not been disclosed. There was a temporary backlash in the community but 10 Barrel bounced back and is currently in the process of expansion.

Monkless Belgian Ales becomes the region’s 26th brewery. This tiny one-barrel nanobrewery wasn’t even on my radar prior to the book release, but became official shortly thereafter. They exclusively brew Belgian-styled ales and are currently only on tap at Humm Kombucha.

Old Mill Brew Works closes its doors. The OMBW pub closed down—but in its place, Craft Kitchen and Brewery opened up in the same location. Interestingly enough, Brew Werks Brewing, which had been a separate entity from OMBW at that point, did not close, and instead rebranded as Fresh Tracks Brewing.

Bridge 99 Brewery opened up its tasting room and new brewery space. Located behind Wubba’s BBQ Shack on Bend’s north side, the larger space will ultimately house the seven-barrel brewing system that are in Bridge 99’s plans.

Immersion Brewing announced. The people behind Immersion Brewing, to be located in the Old Mill District down the road from Crux Fermentation Project, plan to offer a “U-Brew” model for customers to brew up their own batches of beer from a pre-determined selection of recipes, as well as having their own in-house 10-barrel brewhouse and brewpub.

Prineville’s Solstice Brewing renamed to Ochoco Brewing. In a nod to the city’s history, Solstice, which was the first brewery in Prineville since 1906, renamed itself after the region’s first-ever brewery, Ochoco, which operated from 1882 to 1890.

Deschutes Brewery is searching out an East Coast location. From humble origins in downtown Bend in 1988 to one of the largest craft breweries today, Deschutes will be opening a brewery on the East Coast by 2019. Currently the final location is yet to be determined, though it sounds like it’s between Asheville, North Carolina, and Roanoke, Virginia. Definitely an exciting chapter for the region’s oldest brewery!