After operating in East Bayside for four years, lager-style craft brewer Bunker Brewing Co. is opening the doors to its new tap house in Libbytown. Since signing a lease in December, owners Chresten Sorenson and restaurateur Jay Villani have transformed the raw space with soaring ceilings into Portland’s newest beer destination.
Inside the former warehouse, a network of shiny new tanks, pressed tin ceiling tiles, crushed oil barrels and a salvaged wooden bar anchor Bunker’s new brewery and tasting room. In this clean industrial space, lager lovers can try up to 10 beers, like Bunker’s Machine Czech Pilz, Salad Daze and the sour Peach for the Stars. Bissell Brothers, which opened on Thompson’s Point last spring, is a short walk away.
“This makes my head hurt less,” said head brewer Sorenson, on a tour of the sprawling space Monday.
The move allows Bunker, whose beer is available in cans, to triple its production and reach more regions in the state, expand into New York and eventually Massachusetts. With 9,000 square feet (a big jump from its 800-square-foot original space), the craft brewer is able to brew more kinds of beer. “We can do one-off seasonals and kookie stuff,” said Sorenson, who welcomes a Brooklyn brewery this week for a collaboration and will increase partnerships with restaurants like Eventide Oyster Co for custom brewing. “We have a lot of freedom now.”
Going from a former scrapyard to another former scrapyard, the company could do for Libbytown what it did for East Bayside. When it opened on Anderson Street, Tandem Coffee Roasters had not yet arrived and Rising Tide Brewing Company was in its infancy. Now Lone Pine Brewery and One Eye Open have settled in, Rising Tide has expanded and Coffee By Design opened its headquarters in this now-bustling hood.
Speaking of coffee, Bunker’s tasting room has a nitro tap which will dispense cold brew from Tandem during the warm months. Though Villani is owner of Salvage BBQ up the street, Local 188 and Sonny’s Restaurant, food will not be served. A fleet of food trucks will surely make their rounds, Sorensen confirmed.
The tasting room will be open Wednesday through Sunday, with extended hours (10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays). Opening is Friday at 12 noon.
Bunker Brewing Co., 17 Westfield St., Portland.