What was once the preserve of the esoteric and the hipster is now a fully blown, nationwide phenomenon here in the UK. Yep, craft beer has gone from bathtub brewed to on the lips of the average household in just a few boozy years. With tart ‘sours’, ‘coffee porters’ and just about everything else in between, craft beer is now estimated to make up 6.5% of all beer sales in the UK. But who do we have to thank for this revolution? Why the USA, of course, who have been leading the way in microbrewing and craft beer for some time now. And arguably, it’s Oregon where it all began.
If you want to gain even more focus, like a satellite zooming in on Google Earth with ever greater precision, then it’s in the city of Bend, with more breweries per capita than any other (one for every 4500 people), that you should be heading; cheap flights can be found at Faremart.com or check the United Airlines official site to book a flight. Once there, the Bend Ale Trail will give you have you going as long as you can stand, with souvenirs and tasters all along the way. Sound good? It does to us, too. To get you inspired, here are 8 IDEAL breweries to explore in Bend, Oregon.
It’s probably the most recognizable brand in town, one which began as a small brewpub way back in 1988, making them one of the oldest around too. Deschutes provides you with an insight into brewing facilities, live tasting rooms, plus a couple of brewhouses if you fancy furthering your hangover the following day.
Particularly popular is Mirror Pond, which references a famous body of water in Bend. Traditional Beaver State pub grub is available here, too. Look out for poutine and Central Oregon beef burgers; bliss with a beer.
Sunriver Brewing is in Sunriver itself and is one of the main reasons visitors flock here. The brand has a handful of award-winning beers with their seasonal offerings especially intriguing. If you’re visiting in September or October (arguably the finest time to visit the state) then their Amarillo Fresh Hop IPA (d’Bomb – their words, not ours) is a winner. Equally enjoyable is the Rippin, a Northwest pale ale, that goes well with a beer pretzel with cheese. Double beer and cheese? Sign us up.
Crux Brewery, also known as the Crux Fermentation project, uses some innovative brewing methods and techniques to produce its ever unique and one of its kind beers.
The process here involves open fermentation, decoction mashing and barrel aging which produces a uniquely flavoured beer which you won’t find anywhere else in Bend. The venue itself is a modern pub house and great place to spend an afternoon. Should you be settling in for the evening, be warned; the tasty beers here are deceptively strong. Line your stomach with their El Sancho tacos if they’re on the special’s.
Worthy Brewing is certainly worth a visit. Located on the east side of Bend, the place has already become an institution though only established in 2012. The brewery is focused around a beautiful garden and greenhouse, where they grow hops, experiment and test them to make arguably the best beer in town. Here they also grow herbs used in their food. Interestingly, and inspired by the owner’s keen interest in astronomy, there’s an observatory on site.
BEND BREWING COMPANY
The BBC (not to be confused with Auntie) made its advent in the brewing industry in 1995, occupying a prime location on the river Mirror Pond (not to be confused with the beer of the same name…aaaah), and has a distinct system to process their brews, using fire kettles to create assertive, unique flavours for their brews. The sours on offer are particularly good.
The Silver Moon Brewing has been trading since 1952 and has seen many renovations and changes of owners during that time. The one consistent? Their commitment to quality. Silver Moon can be found all over town, but to get a true feel for the soul behind the beer, it’s worth heading to the brewery where it all began. With the view of Bend’s downtown, and weekly live music, this is a sublime spot for suppin’. It’s a social hotspot, with regular events like Bingo for the Cure (supporting American Cancer Society), board game and trivia nights and much more.
An interesting story behind the name of this one….
The owner of Boneyard first started out in an old auto shop, where he began collecting old, hand-me-down brewery equipment from other breweries, and ultimately, created his own little Boneyard. Time’s changed, and so has the fortune of the brewery, which today stands proudly as its very own operation. Old fermenters got replaced, new brewing methods brought in, but a nod to their heritage remains; they didn’t replace their old 20 barrel system and it’s still in use to this day.
The company was the first in Bend to can their beer; now the most popular storage method for craft beers. The inside area is quite small and waits are long. They do, however, have a huge lawn out back with a bar and lawn games. The GoodLife Brewing Company has a huge brewing system, where it uses a 30 barrel, 4 vessel system that has been customised to creative their complex, hoppy offerings. A final stop on a boozy tour of Bend. We know you’ll be back.