My next review takes us east of the Cascade Mountains, to the town of Sisters, Oregon and Three Creeks Brewing Company. Right at the transition from the mountains to the high desert of central Oregon, Three Creeks Brewing has been around for about 10 years, becoming a major player in the local beer scene and one of the main attractions in the town of about 2,000 people. Grab a Five Pine porter from the fridge and sit back as I take you to one of my favorite areas of the country and a brewery I have been wanting to visit for a while now (one caveat, this review is for their brew pub, not the tap room located a few blocks away).
- Beer – I may have already given it away, but their Five Pine chocolate porter is one of my favorite beers and I was really looking forward to trying it from the source. Looking over their tap list can really put you in a quandary: so many options, so little time. Their year-round list is sprinkled with well know beers that I’ve tried before so I decided to go with a flight of their special release and throwback beers. It is not hyperbolic to say they offer quite the variety of options (aside from the ubiquitous IPAs), ranging from a Scottish ale to barrel aged versions of their classic beers. Everything I tried was crafted with skill and lived up to my expectations. They encompass all the things I like to see in a brewery: wide variety, solid fundamentals, and experimentation with flavors and additives. Score: 4/5
- Brewery – Much more of a restaurant than brewery, though they did have an expansive bar to sit at if you want more of the taproom feel. The brewpub is big with high ceilings making it feel even larger, with lots of seating indoors at tables and the aforementioned bar. The outdoor seating gives you expansive views of the porter’s namesake pine trees surrounding the brewpub, and when the weather is nice the sunlight dappling the ground through the boughs is downright gorgeous. I would coin the décor as “hunting lodge chic” with lots of wood accents and outdoor mountain inspiration throughout. While they do not do a lot of the brewing here, you still get the feel of a working brewery, with the bonus of food! Their menu is very much pub food although they do utilize their own brews in the recipes, adding a bit of personalized nuance to their fare. The prices are comparable to the rest of Oregon, and a pint will run you about $5-6. Score: 4/5
- Ambiance – Walking in the door you really get the restaurant feel, from the hostess waiting to seat you, to the weaving between the tables of families eating lunch or dinner. However, they had a few neat things that I saw to help create more of that brewery atmosphere I love. From multiple televisions broadcasting sporting events to a pool table and other pub-style entertainment in one corner, they have something for almost everyone. While I did not see a lot of advertisement for events at the brewery, their 10-year anniversary party is coming up on July 21st, an extravaganza that I would love to go to. Score: 3.5/5
- Location – I love this area of Oregon and Sisters is one of the neatest little towns I’ve visited. They have an expansive parking area around the brewery and downtown Sisters is just a short walk away, should you want to venture out to do some shopping or get dessert after drinks and dinner. Everything is within walking distance, and I highly recommend taking a stroll around town at some point while you are there. Score: 4/5
- Customer Service – The customer service was the only aspect of my visit that I was not thrilled with, though I certainly would not call it bad. They were moderately busy and the service was perfunctory at best. This was probably due to only having one bar keep taking care of the bar and orders from the rest of the room, which could be easily solved with more staff. Overall, I still was not that put out as everyone was quite friendly and helpful, and watching the room showed that it was the standard here to provide good customer service despite how busy it was. Score: 3/5
Total Score: 18.5/25
Final Thoughts: They say you should never meet your heroes, or visit the home of your favorite porter. Clearly, I don’t listen to conventional wisdom, and I’m glad I didn’t. My visit to Three Creeks was wonderful, and I was thrilled to try some of their other offerings that I haven’t seen in stores. I would certainly recommend stopping anytime you are passing through Sisters, or at least grabbing a six pack of their beer if you see it in stores.