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Raising the bar in Sunriver

• Open just over a year, the spacious brewpub in Sunriver is a ‘go-to’ destination  By John Gottberg Anderson / For The Bulletin

Sunriver Brewing Co.

Location: 57100 Beaver Drive, The Village at Sunriver
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day
Price range: Starters $5 to $12, salads $7 to $11, sandwiches $10 to $16, entrees $13 to $20
Credit cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Kids’ menu: Yes
Vegetarian menu: Choices include portobello fries and a spicy Earth wrap
Alcoholic beverages: Full bar
Outdoor seating: Two expansive patios
Reservations: No, but large groups are advised to give advance notice
Contact: www.sunriverbrewingcompany.com or 541-593-3007

Scorecard

OVERALL: A
Food: A-. Salads and entrees were perfectly prepared; only the fries and slaw need work.
Service: A. Prompt, attentive, professional and friendly — in other words, very well trained.
Atmosphere: A. Modern, lodge-like building has a rustic ambience and two spacious patios.
Value: A. The price point is moderate and the portions generous.

Next week: Wubba’s BBQ Shack

Visit www.bendbulletin.com/restaurants for readers’ ratings of more than 150 Central Oregon restaurants.

At 5:30 on a non-holiday, event-free Monday evening, diners were already facing a 30-minute wait for tables at the Sunriver Brewing Co.

Spying a pair of vacant barstools, my companion and I jumped the line by bellying up to the long wooden bar, ordering a couple of Central Oregon drafts and half-watching whatever sporting event was on TV at the time.

We were rewarded with a full menu and service that was every bit as professional and friendly, as prompt and attentive, as offered at dinner tables, whether indoors or on a pair of spacious patios.

While it is true that Sunriver restaurant options are limited to perhaps a half-dozen choices — barely enough to serve resort visitors during the summer vacation period — that alone doesn’t explain the size of the patronage at the expansive pub in the heart of the Village at Sunriver. In fact, the food here is so good, with generous portions at reasonable prices, that I can recommend it as my “go-to” dining destination in Sunriver.

My introduction to Sunriver Brewing was an unassuming midday meal: fish and chips with a brewhouse salad and a pint of the brewery’s own Chalk Rock Amber Ale.

By the time I left, I wondered why I hadn’t discovered this brewpub sooner.

The salad was much more than its base blend of fresh green and red leaf lettuces, tossed with blue-cheese vinaigrette and crumbles. Other ingredients — including bits of applewood-smoked bacon, pickled onions and candied walnuts — added a mix of flavors and textures. But none of those inspired my taste buds like dried cranberries that had been soaked in beer to rehydrate.

The English-style Alaskan cod, lightly battered in the brewery’s Singlehook IPA, was cooked just to flaky, as good fried fish should be. I thought it was a little bit greasy, though not enough to upset me, especially when dipped in house-made lemongrass remoulade similar to tartar sauce.

I was disappointed only by the accompanying fries and coleslaw. The potatoes were long, skinny shoestring potatoes; I believe that a traditional fish and chips meal deserves thick-cut, wedge-like, skin-on potatoes. And the slaw, described as “tangy” on the menu, was without any real character; the cabbage was too dry, and neither sweet nor sour.

When my dining companion and I returned for dinner, we found every dish completely to our liking. And they were well beyond what one might consider normal pub fare. This was gourmet cuisine for very modest prices.

I started with the soup of the day, a roasted red-pepper blend that was like a thin bisque. It was so tasty in itself, it required no additional seasoning, not even a sprinkle of salt.

My companion began with a baby spinach salad that she immediately labeled “lovely.” Mixed with pistachio nuts, crumbled goat cheese and a salsa of grilled peaches, the salad was drizzled with an unusual vinaigrette dressing of passion fruit and habanero peppers that were surprisingly mild. I have not seen anything like this in area restaurants.

Her main course was grilled Columbia River steelhead, perfectly cooked and served with half of a roasted lemon and two wedges of pistachio-herb polenta. Six long asparagus spears accompanied. Lemon-basil butter and pico de gallo finished the dish. This was the most expensive item on the everyday menu at $20.

Modest prices

For $16.50, I had a full rack of house-smoked baby back ribs. Dry-rubbed for a smoky flavor, the pork was finished with a delicious barbecue sauce made from the brewery’s own Stargazer Black Ale.

I noted no difference between the “chips” that had come with my fish, and the “garlic herb fries” that accompanied my ribs. To me, they were the same shoestring potatoes. The coleslaw this time, however, was substantially sweeter and more flavorful than on my previous visit.

Opened on July 4, 2012, by owners Marc, Karol and Brian Cameron, the Sunriver Brewing Co. can turn around as many as 1,500 meals a day on a busy day. A big kitchen and a wealth of well-trained staff help to make that happen.

The lodge-like room is at once modern but simple and rustic, seating 200 guests indoors and out. And families are welcome here — there is even a designated children’s play area in one section of the restaurant.

— Reporter: janderson@ bendbulletin.com

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Raising the bar in Sunriver  (PDF)

Trip Advisor, #1 Restaurant!

Trip Advisor #1

 

Brewing Up a Sunriver Success

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by LINDEN GROSS, One Stop Writing Shop
sunriver

“Doing research. Checking out the menu,” my friend texted me after I had confirmed that we’d be heading to the Sunriver Brewing Company’s Brewhouse. “They have a few steelhead specialties. Nom. Nom. Um Portobello fries? I am so there.”
Yes, we were off to a promising start. As we entered the Sunriver Brewing Company’s Brewhouse on a chilly fall evening, the staff’s warm, friendly greeting and the pub’s neighborhood vibe helped to immediately warm up one under-dressed reviewer and her three friends.
No sooner had we settled in than the great beer debate began. To be fair to my beer-loving friends, the Brewhouse offers seven local beers on tap in addition to the four brewed in-house.
So many beers, so little time. We started with a flight of Sunriver Brewing beers, followed by a flight of IPAs before finally settling on our individual beers selections. Luckily, we hadn’t waited to choose our appetizers. They arrived while we were still in mid-flight. “This takes pub food to a whole new level. Look how beautiful,” exclaimed my texting friend.
She was right. The appetizers were lovely to look at and I’m here to tell you that the monster Portobello Fries are as lovely to eat as they are to look at. “This is ridiculously good,” the texter announced as she swiped her fried mushroom wedge through the balsamic reduction drizzle before dipping it in the accompanying horseradish cream sauce.
We also tore into the soft pretzel and the accompanying SBC Ale Fondue. Literally. The warm dip managed to be cheesy without being heavy, and the beer imparted a nice hint of toasty sweetness. Then we figured out that we could dip the Portobello Fries into the cheese. Need I say more?
It was time to explore the steelhead options. We all preferred the flavorful, grilled steelhead sandwich, with its toasted sesame cream cheese and fresh lemony lemongrass remoulade, to the steelhead fritter appetizer. No texture problems on the sandwich—the fish was fresh and tender. We also liked the super chunky steelhead chowder, which instead of being heavy was broth-based with just a touch of cream.
We continued on the fish vein with the fish street tacos. Despite flour (rather than more traditional corn) tortillas that were a little tough, the dish worked thanks to the pan-seared cod dusted with a Latin spice rub and served with chipotle aioli and a salsa fresca.
After so much fish, I was looking forward to trying a burger. The Lava Butte Burger had good spice and the certified natural Angus beef was deemed tasty if not downright fantastic by the group. The fact that it was garnished with homemade stout barbecue sauce, pepper jack cheese, beer-battered onion rings, sautéed peppers, smoked jalapeno and chipotle mayonnaise didn’t hurt a bit.
“Save room for dessert,” our terrific server Sarah Knight advised. Are you kidding? In addition to all the food I’ve already talked about, we had all had our way with the fries (regular and sweet potato), both of which were sinfully good. Still, a girl (or four) has to do what a girl has to do. So we just said yes to the pumpkin chocolate cheesecake with its walnut graham-cracker crust that had me envisioning Thanksgiving dinner in a whole new way. We also said yes to the semi-deconstructed, buttery spiced-rum bread pudding with a caramel soul and a vanilla-bourbon topping, served with a shot of whiskey on the side. As I mournfully watched the desserts and the whiskey disappear, two of my friends asked the exact same question at the exact same time.
“Is this heaven?”
The answer when it comes to the desserts, which are homemade, is a resounding yes.
And here’s the real kicker. Not only can you drink terrific locally brewed beer (or cocktails since they have a full bar) and eat food that ranges from good to sublime, there’s a young children’s play area. This place may not know your name (yet), but they certainly know the name of this game!

 

Sunriver Brewhouse
Located off Beaver Drive in the Village at Sunriver next to the Country Store
541-593-3007
sunriverbrewingcompany.com
Owner: Marc, Karol and Brian Cameron

 




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