On a whim, Bradley and I recently had a little date night. It was 5:30 on a Thursday evening and we only had about an hour and a half before we had to get the kids. We first drove to 10 Barrel, where you can probably imagine that there was a nice long wait list. So then we headed to Crux Fermentation Project, but again there wasn’t an empty seat to be found. So we tried Old Mill Brew Werks for the first time; we were not disappointed.
Old Mill Brew Werks is located slightly to the north of the Old Mill district with an amazing view of the river. The summer patio is sure to be hot spot in the upcoming months. The indoor space is smaller than many of the other breweries, but it’s beautifully arranged with lots of light and open space. We chose a spot at the end of the bar, closest to the river view. It was a great place for an impromptu date night; the bartender was friendly and funny, but was able to find a nice balance between there and not-there. Mumford and Sons was playing in the background; it was a great atmosphere to walk into.
The appetizer menu offers everything for $5 during happy hour and we were lucky enough to order while it still available. We were both pretty hungry so we numbly headed for the most caloric dishes that we could find. We placed an order for French fries, onion rings and fondue. (I know! And I had a stomach ache to prove the naughtiness of this decision for the rest of the night!) But not because of the food itself, because the food was good. I am not a major fan of French fries, but according to Bradley, who seeks the crispy delights at nearly every restaurant, they were tasty hand-cut fried potatoes with flecked sea salt to top them off. The onion rings were huge and probably properly eaten with a fork, but they were tasty. Sadly, they were a little bit greasy, and since they were so huge, the grease was plentiful in each bite. There was a slight taste of spice; I think chipotle, which was an interesting difference from the average ring.
The fondue was the first thing I noticed on the menu, I love fondue. What is there not to love about melted cheese? It came with a few slices of (sourdough?) bread and sliced vegetables. The fondue itself had a nice flavor but was somewhat grainy. It wasn’t what I was hoping for, but it did serve as a good dipping sauce for the fries and rings.
The beer menu is smaller than most of the breweries that we frequent, but in some ways it is nice not to get lost in a novel of microbrews. They didn’t have any cask (my favorite) or nitro (my second choice) so I went with the Schizophrenic Stout. It was deep, dark and quite tasty. Bradley had a Rabble Rouser Red.
Overall Old Mill Brew Werks was an intriguing spot to happen upon. With such a great location, and with the many other menu items that I eyed, we will certainly return to give it another go. Summertime will probably be a good time to visit when we can sit out on the deck and take in the happenings in the Old Mill District while we share a bite and a brew.
Old Mill Brew Werks http://oldmillbrewwerks.com/
803 SW Industrial Way Bend Oregon 97702 Happy Hour Monday-Friday 3-6pm (check for current hours)