Paul Arney has largely managed to stay out of the limelight, which is surprising considering he is one of Bend’s finest and most creative brewers. It also may partly be because his cult favorite brewery, The Ale Apothecary, still has yet to open a public tasting room.
Owner and creative power behind The Apothecary, an exclusively wild fermented brewery just west of Bend, Arney has brewed and distributed out of both a storage area and an attachment to his cabin-style home. Although his beers are some of the most sought-after in the beer community–some selling for $35 retail–many have never seen his operation or met the man behind the madness.
In “three to four months,” that could all change, Arney said.
“We haven’t had much of a local presence,” he said. “We’re getting a location in an area that sees a lot of Bend residents and visitors. It’ll be huge to the brand.”
Arney is taking the Apothecary to the streets–specifically the corner of 14th and Commerce–to hopefully bring more of his beer to the people.
“The big draw to downtown is selling retail directly to the customer,” Arney said. “Getting exposure and being around people.”
The Apothecary isn’t going to bring its brewing operation out of the woods, though. With the funky, wild styles that Arney specializes in, brewing in another part of town would change the beer dramatically.
“Brewing in the woods with open fermentation is the signature of our beer,” Arney said. “When people look at our price point, we don’t want to cheat them.”
To start, Arney plans on using the space for barrel aging and ale club distribution. In time, he hopes to open up the space to the public as a tasting room, so people can try his rare beers before dropping anywhere from $20 to $40 on a 750 ml bottle.
But the tasting room will have limited exposure to start as Arney gets the operation up and running.
“We’re going to take it slow,” Arney said. “We’re not going to be on the street swinging signs.”
Arney said to keep an eye on The Ale Apothecary’s social media once the tasting room is up and running for hours and special events. He said curious passers-by might be able to poke in and chat with him if he’s around, but hours will be sporadic.
The Apothecary is also releasing a new beer line soon. Although Arney doesn’t know exactly when he is going to release the new line, he said the first batch is in the bottle and conditioning.
The line, called Carpe Diem Mañana, is going to be a wild-fermented ale with a strong hop presence. The beer should be easier to make, with a quicker fermentation and conditioning, as well as a more approachable price point.
“It’s not an IPA,” Arney said. “But it’s not not an IPA.”
The Ale Apothecary, Central Oregon’s only exclusive wild-fermented brewery, was started by Arney in 2012 out of his west Bend home. He has four beers openly distributed—Sahalie, Sahati, El Cuatro, and (TBFKA) La Tache—with special releases reserved for members of an exclusive Ale Club.
The Ale Apothecary
61517 River Road, Bend, OR 97701 (by appt. only)