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Rare beers displayed, offered at Birch & Barley

Restaurant hosted event for local beer enthusiasts, patrons

Jesse+Rohr%2C+bartender+at+Birch+%26+Barley%2C+displays+some+of+their+rare+beers.+%0AThe+event+included+beer+from+Sierra+Nevada+and+Deschutes+breweries.
Jesse Rohr, bartender at Birch & Barley, displays some of their rare beers. 
The event included beer from Sierra Nevada and Deschutes breweries.

Jesse Rohr, bartender at Birch & Barley, displays some of their rare beers. The event included beer from Sierra Nevada and Deschutes breweries.

MICHAEL LINDER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

MICHAEL LINDER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Jesse Rohr, bartender at Birch & Barley, displays some of their rare beers. The event included beer from Sierra Nevada and Deschutes breweries.

STEPHEN COX, Evergreen reporter

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Birch & Barley celebrated rare beers last Saturday, furnished by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Deschutes Brewery.

Co-owner and General Manager Jill Bielenberg said Birch & Barley garnered a reputation among local beer enthusiasts for hosting a variety of distinct brews from around the Pacific Northwest, and the rare beers event was intended to support that enthusiastic crowd.

Guests paid $40 for entry to the event, which took place alongside Birch & Barley’s usual Saturday night business.

Once inside guests had eight rare beers to sample — four from Sierra Nevada and four from Deschutes — as well as an assortment of appetizers and a raffle giveaway.

“We want to offer something that [is] different this time,” Bielenberg said at the event. “So for the smaller population of guests and following that really likes microbrews, this hones into a smaller kind of elite group that really has an appreciation for those rare beers that are harder to come by.”

Bielenberg said brewers give a special level of attention to the ingredients in microbrews. They have a higher alcohol content, and more specialized brewing process.

For the rare beers event, Birch & Barley strayed from the more formal wine dinners and beer pairings they’ve held in the past.

“We set this up so that it is more social,” Bielenberg said, “so that you are not just sitting with a group of six people that bought tickets.”

While the patrons were enjoying themselves Saturday night, Chef Michael Jones revealed he began prepping for the event about a week and a half ago.

Jones stressed his reliance on his sous chef and team to keep the kitchen running smoothly while he focused on the event.

To accompany the beers, he prepared a variety of heavy appetizers exclusively for event patrons. The fare was inspired by the flavor profiles of the beers, Jones said. The Asian-themed starters were paired with “big beers, so [there would be] big flavors.”

Jones said the starters would not become menu regulars, but were there for customers to enjoy and test out new food products.

He said these events are less about making Birch & Barley an immediate profit and more about ensuring guests want to come back later.

“We’re not looking to make money on events like this,” Jones said. “We make a little bit of money, but this is more about bringing the community together, [showing] them what we can do, [keeping] them coming back for more.”

On hand for the event were representatives from Deschutes and Sierra Nevada, to field questions about the beers and socialize with the guests. Andy Tweit, Deschutes craft beer manager, spoke briefly about the event.

“This one is a bit of a unique one,” said Tweit, who added he attends 40 to 50 of these events annually. “A lot of them are about hats and T-shirts and stuff, but this one is about true beer lovers.”

He said he thought the night was “a huge success,” and he was happy to see people excited about beer.

As the event ended at 9 p.m., co-owners Josh Clark and Bielenberg raffled off the last prize for the evening, and Clark asked if the audience would like to see “more events like this.” Their raucous applause seemed to indicate the guests’ approval.

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Rare beers displayed, offered at Birch & Barley