Today, Thursday November 20th, 2014 Lompoc Brewing is re-opening their newly renovated Sidebar Barrel Room Tavern to the public. Sidebar has been a terrific destination for rarer Lompoc brews of the barrel-aged and experimental variety but it’s been sort of a hidden gem without a real sign or windows on the up and coming N. Williams corridor. Now with large roll-up glass doors, new booths, more seating and an upgrade from 6 taps to a dozen the refreshed Sidebar should become less of a hidden gem and more of a destination.
“We really wanted to open up the space to let people see what we do in here,” said Lompoc owner Jerry Fechter. “Sidebar has always been a showcase for our beers, but not everyone knew what happened behind the mural. The new space has a friendly, approachable feel that perfectly complements our North Portland neighborhood.”
Having spent some good times at the Sidebar in the past, it’s best feature other than the beer of course is the coziness and rustic character coming from the barrels full of beer against the wall and the fireplace that keeps the space warmly lit and inviting. Both of these features are still happily intact with somewhat less barrels to allow for brand new wood booths.
I was a little afraid that Sidebars strength was also a weakness, without any real windows it’s hard to find and nearly impossible to stumble upon but that gave it a bit of it’s coziness. Luckily the glass roll-up doors don’t take away from that and with the addition of the new booths, constructed by owner Jerry Fechter himself, it’s even more welcoming. Better yet, when the nice weather comes back around they can roll-up the doors and even put some outside seating in front.
While the brand new booths might be my favorite new feature, the expanded taplist is just as welcome. Just in time for Lompoc’s Holiday Beer Extravaganza on December 2nd when they will tap 8 new holiday special releases: Blitzen, a spiced golden ale; Jolly Bock Lager; C-sons Greetings Imperial IPA; Old Tavern Rat Barleywine; Brewdolph Belgian-style Red; 2013 Bourbon Barrel Aged Holiday Cheer, a vanilla porter aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels; Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Cheval de Trait Belge, a dark Belgian strong ale aged in Maryhill Winery Pinot noir barrels; and the triumphant return of 8 Malty Nights, a chocolate rye beer brewed in honor of Hanukkah. One of the 12 new taps will be dedicated to a local Cider, right now that’s Cider Riot and in the future it will switch between Bushwhacker, Reverend Nat’s and back to Cider Riot.