By: Rachael Rees van den Berg, Bend Chamber communications
Beer aficionados in Bend can take their relationship to a whole other level at Immersion Brewing.
Beyond delicious pints crafted by the brewers and scrumptious menu offerings like fresh ahi tuna, patrons at Immersion can literally immerse themselves in the process through the brewery’s B-I-Y, Brew it Yourself, experience.
On Sept. 14, members of the Bend Chamber staff put their beer-making skills to the test, attempting a Pumpkin Spice Ale with the guidance of B-I-Y Manager Chris Hudson.
From selecting grain and measuring ingredients like coriander and allspice, to pouring in the right type of hops and stirring the mixture of boiling liquid in a copper kettle, the Bend Chamber gals gained a new appreciation for the bubbly beverage frequently served around town and at Bend Chamber events!
“The end result is you are converting starches into sugars and sugars into alcohol with the yeast,” explained Hudson to Bend Chamber representatives. “But the one unique thing about breweries, is every brewery has their own personality. I could take the brews we make here and make them somewhere else, and they aren’t going to taste the same.”
Co-owner and brewer Sean Lampe said the ultimate vision for Immersion Brewing is to be a place that fosters creative freedom.
“The whole idea behind Brew it Yourself, is so people can learn about the brewing process,” he said. “A lot of people only have a fundamental idea of something they drink several times a week. This program gives customers hands on experience with what it actually takes to make a beer and greater appreciation for the finished products that they’re drinking.”
Lampe said Immersion opened its doors May 26. Originally he drafted the business plan for the San Francisco area, but realized Bend was the perfect fit.
“We really want people to feel immersed and connected to the beers but in a different way because they made beer here or were involved somehow in the brewing process,” Lampe said.
Most people that experiment with home brewing are usually not very happy with their first results, he said. By following an outlined recipe, Lampe said people can walk away with a delicious, drinkable product on the first try.
Lampe said he’s working on collaborations with other local companies to create unique recipes that truly reflect their different company cultures. The goal, he said, is to help other local businesses make their own unique specialty beers that they can serve to customers or guests.
When it comes to growth, Lampe said the brewery plans on doing distribution with strategic partners such as restaurants with fare that complements the brews.
“Do we want to take over the world and buy Budweiser? Maybe in a couple of years,” he said with a chuckle. “Right now, the goal is just to make really great beer and keep the quality very high and do something a little different and creative.”
On Oct. 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Immersion will host its free grand opening for locals with bouncy houses and barbecue during the day and live music starting around 4 p.m.
“The experience is dialed in and we’re ready to share that with people,” Lampe said. “We really want to connect with the local population. Come as you are, come as you please, all are welcome!”
As for the special Bend Chamber brew, the suspense is REAL. After “Chamber Spice” ferments for about three weeks, the Bend Chamber gals will return to bottle and take home a delicious one-of-a-kind beer that shows the power of team work supplemented with the expertise of the Immersion Brewing staff!