This time of year always reminds me of my early years and the first day of elementary school. It was always exciting to discover who was in my class, what my new teacher was like, and to see friends I did not hangout with over the last three months. Most of the time our teacher would ask us to write an essay about what we did over our summer vacation (the easy part), and then read it out loud to the class (the intimidating part). Stories usually described camping trips, camps of all kinds, beach and mountain trips, and finally just goofing off around the neighborhood. We would either play it “cool” and not say much, or we would overdo it with numerous exaggerations in an attempt to impress our friends (or a girl).
Living in Bend I can say that some things never change. Each fall this same exercise repeats itself as we reconvene from our summer blitz to tell stories of our exploits and adventures. At the end of my first May in Bend, as the mountain was closing, one of my friends said something along the lines of, “What a great winter! Have fun this summer and see you in September!” I was like, “Whatever. I’ll see you next week.” It took about one month to understand what she meant. During the summer in Central Oregon there is so much to do, and not enough time. Nonetheless, we still try to do it all, racing from bike rides, trail runs, hikes, and kayaking to rounds of golf, time at the lakes, floating the river, and fishing, while at the same time trying to sleep under the stars at every opportunity. We don’t see everyone because we’re too busy having fun!
This summer was a little different for me. My activities were fewer and my involvement in Oblivion Brewing was greater. Since our inception in 2012, Darin has brewed on a half-barrel nanosystem, five and sometimes six days a week. That all changed when our new 10-barrel brewing system became operational in early July, and like all summers here, it was a whirlwind. Originally the target was the end of April, but shipping delays, city inspections, and system engineering pushed us back to late June. The first brew on the new system was July 5th, which was also the company’s 100th brew. Getting to that point included many long days of activity, and sometimes, just practicing patience. Oh, and I was still working my restaurant job downtown. All told, I made it through with just a few bumps and bruises.
So, school is back in session, and much like those early school years, it’s a time of hooking up with old friends (please, buy our beer!) and making new ones (please, buy our beer!). After completing the Web Based Concise Course in Brewing Technology from the World Brewing Academy at the Siebel Institute of Technology last winter, I am eager to learn from my new teachers, Darin and “The Ace.” Following tradition, what would the first day of school be without one good story from the summer? During the Saturday session of the Bend Brewfest, I bumped into some of the local distributors, and each shared the same information. As you might know, beer starts to run out Saturday afternoon at this event. Organizers were scrambling to replace popular choices for the evening and were texting these guys to bring more beer. Included on each text was a request for more of the Oblivion Backside IPA. We distribute our beers, so these guys were unable to fulfill that request, but nonetheless, it was still pretty cool to be on everyone’s radar. As the year progresses, I’ll share more, but for now, thank you. Keep drinking our beer and we’ll keep making it!