The Ale Apothecary (TAA) was set up in 2011 by husband and wife Paul and Staci Arney in Bend, Oregon. In Washington University, where they studied, they had a common subject – Calculus I, and Stacie was impressed with Paul.
The happy couple got married in 2006, and both moved to Bend just a short while later because Paul got a job at Deschutes Brewery. So the passion for making flavorful beer has been with the couple for a long time now, albeit under different circumstances earlier.
In all his interviews, Paul is quick to point out that he loved working for Deschutes because he was involved in something he was passionate about – beer. After working for a few years, he decided to take a break to explore the world, and the young couple set about their world expeditions that lasted a whole year and a half.
Upon their return, Paul was back at his old position at Deschutes, and it looked like he was there for good. But about four years later, Paul decided to part ways with the organization since he was interested in dabbling in the art of making artisan beer in his own way.
The most crucial part of his decision? He opted to make beer right from scratch, using manual equipment and with ingredients fresh enough to have been a part of Mother Nature a few minutes until they entered the beer-making process.
The couple had had two kids by then. Staci and Paul have always been planners for the future. Thanks to a great deal that they got from their bank, they were able to purchase a substantial piece of real estate in the middle of forests but not far enough to be deserted.
Paul had also saved up and had quite a stacked 401k. So using the property they already had, with their savings and some money borrowed from their parents, Paul and Staci decided to embark on a new, exciting journey.
TAA at Present
After starting on a small scale with a limited number of people on payroll, but with tonnes of enthusiasm to create some world-class brews, the TAA was set-up in the couple’s garage initially, and they specialized in sour drinks filled with fresh, bottle-fermented beers with unique flavors.
The mantra that they believe in is that the traditional beer makers in years dating back to the Industrial Revolution and Prohibition had the bare minimum, such as yeast, water, and grains, to make their drinks.
But what they didn’t have in terms of modern equipment and adjuncts unlimited, they made up with a creative mind that put to use anything good found at hand to make their beers rich in flavors and with a high alcohol content.
Along the lines of traditional brewers, TAA also believes in using rather traditional methods to brew their beers. They boast some of the longest barrel aging periods and still use open and wild fermentation processes to make their brews taste so unique.
A visit to their website will give you an insight into their core values in addition to a glimpse of the drinks available on tap. The team has, of course, now grown to six people in the core team, and the usual staff that attends to customers when the taproom is open between Wednesdays and Saturdays each week.
What Sets TAA Apart
A curious note about the reviews of TAA is that most people have raved about the drinks, and those who work in the taproom, including the co-founding couple, are as popular with their customers as they are with the microorganisms that bring in the magic.
They don’t have to rely heavily on artsy interiors or eye-popping music to make a popular joint. In fact, most people marvel at the fact that a place with delicious beers, named “Spencer,” “Sahalie,” “El Cuatro,” and “Ralph,” is not packed most times. Customers get quick service, and they love the fact that the owners make it a point to personally connect with them often.
In addition to serving a variety of outstanding drinks in their taproom, TAA also delivers kegs to three places in Oregon currently – Portland, Corvallis, and of course, Bend.
They keep the actual brewery closed in deference to the community, but the taproom is often a lively place. Paul is, in fact, so close to his beers and brewery that he has named his most eclectic beer so far after his son, Spencer.
Those interested in sampling some of the more exclusive drinks offered by TAA can join their “Ale Club,” membership to which the establishment offers on a limited basis each year to a few select members.
So if you are interested in trying really great beer and don’t mind spending a little extra to taste some exceptional offerings that have been prepared using ingredients hand-picked by Paul, or even felled from the forest, then TAA is the place for you. Visit them at 30 SW Century Dr #140, Bend, Oregon, or contact them at 541-797-6265.