Though it’s served beer for more than two years, Crooked River Brewing (420 N Main St., Prineville, 541-362-5583, crbrewing.com) has yet to make a batch of its own. That’s a particularly long time to operate without tap handles bearing your brand, but it doesn’t seem to bother locals, whose patience will be rewarded following the arrival of a 6-barrel system in late March. Why bother to visit a brewery that isn’t even in production yet? It helps that the sprawling former auto shop has a whole lot of character. Stuffed with eye-catching antiques, including two classic Corvettes, a vintage Bengal Gasoline pump, and a coin-operated horse that dares passersby to “Ride the Champion,” Crooked River is also the only brewery I’ve found outside the McMenamins chain with a theater, which can be rented out for parties and video game tournaments. It’s as if a mechanic got bored with the job, decided to call it quits and just hold a permanent hangout in this garage-turned-rec room. As long as his hiatus lasts, I’m happy to join the party.
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