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Which breweries should we visit in Bend?

Bend, Oregon–let’s see, I think if I recall correctly, they have a brewery there. Kidding. Bend has gone insane. There are currently have, depending on how you count, around 18 breweries in Central Oregon, and ten or so in Bend proper. The difficulty is not finding breweries, it’s choosing which ones to go to.

The first thing I’d recommend is getting the Bend Ale Trail app if you have a smart phone. It has listings of all the breweries and a map that helps you navigate around. Then you have the hard choices. Deschutes is definitely a must–it’s one of the best breweries in the US, and a bit of a pilgrimage to see the original downtown brewpub. If you want to stay downtown, Bend Brewing is another venerable favorite and just around the corner.

I’d recommend three other places. Definitely try Crux Fermentation Project, which just opened last year. It’s Larry Sidor’s new brewery–he was the master brewer at Deschutes for ten years prior to starting Crux. (Inversion, Green Lakes, the Abyss, Hop Henge, etc etc–all his.) It’s in a bit of a no-man’s land, but the pub is gorgeous and fun. Next, you might try to stop in at Boneyard, which is on the walkable outskirts of downtown. Boneyard is an IPA house, which I know is not your sweet spot. But it’s also the “it” brewery in Oregon right now–they have the most popular IPA from Bend to Portland, which is really saying something. A funky little place named after the brewer’s efforts to cobble together his brewery by picking the “bones” of other breweries. (They only have a tasting room with limited hours, so plan ahead.) Finally, Worthy Brewing is brand-new, and a place I haven’t yet visited. But it’s a big project helmed by Chad Kennedy, who was formerly the longtime brewer at Laurelwood in Portland. He’s a really fantastic brewer.

Those are my best bets, but Silver Moon and 10 Barrel are really good, too. Bend is a great town for beer, and you can’t go wrong–it’s easy as Sunday Morning. Best of luck, and cheers.

Answered by Jeff Alworth, Ask Oregon Beer Expert on July 3rd, 2013 - Post Your Answer

Heading from Canada to Crater Lake and Florence. Could you recommend bars in those areas with unique local beers? Many thanks from a thirsty wanderer!

In Florence, your best bets are the Beachcomber Pub (20 taps, with some nice southern Willamette Valley picks) or Wakonda Brewing Co.  I actually haven’t been to Wakonda yet, but the reviews are impressive.

Crater Lake isn’t ringed with pubs, so take some beer with you.  Oh, and if you’re taking OR 58 from Eugene down to Crater Lake, you must stop in Oakridge at the Brewers Union Local 180.  It’s a tiny brewpub run by one of the country’s leading advocates of cask ale.  Ask for him if you want to spend an hour in lovely conversation.  His name’s Ted and you can tell him I sent you.

Answered by Jeff Alworth, Ask Oregon Beer Expert on July 26th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

My friend and I are planning a motorcycle ride over to the Oregon Coast from Northern Idaho near the end of July. Any roads or towns you would recommend hitting? We would like to spend some time near the ocean and find some good local brews.

There’s a coveted motorcycle route through the Wallowas on the 39 road (Hell’s Canyon Scenic Byway) from Joseph to Halfway—if you have the time. To get to the Wallowas from North Idaho, you’d come through Moscow and Lewiston over highway 82—another epic two-lane roadway—to Enterprise. That’s where you’ll find Terminal Gravity brewpub, one of the first small crafters in the state and home of a great IPA. (I am a huge fan of  their single hop variety double IPAs only available at the brewpub.) If you take the 39 road, you’ll end up on Highway 84 in Baker City, where you’ll find Barley Browns Brewpub. I also recommend a stop in Pendleton at Prodigal Son Brewery. From there you can continue on I-84 and swing through Hood River and the Double Mountain Brewery before high tailing it to the coast.

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Can you offer a couple of Oregon IPA’s I must try? – Kevin J.

These kinds of questions are always rough to answer, but I’ll give it a shot. The trouble is, IPAs are so variable that opinions invariably vary. But you didn’t ask me to waffle, so here goes.

I personally have three favorites, for different reasons:

  • India Pelican Ale from Pelican. As an all-arounder, it’s hard to beat. Lots of sticky, resinous hopping, but it’s bright and not overly heavy. The hoppy aromas and flavors are intense but not overwhelming.
  • Double Mountain Vaporizer. A recent phenomenon in Oregon has been the “Summer IPA”–an all-pilsner malt, light-bodied IPA that has all kinds of zesty, refreshing hops. Vaporizer is single-hopped with US Challengers, and it is ideal on a hot day. (Draft only.)
  • Fort George Vortex. Sometimes you are looking to be overwhelmed, to have your eyelids pasted back in your skull as a green flame of hop intensity screams down your throat. Vortex is my go-to in those situations.
  • Ninkasi does two nice beers, as well. Total Domination is their lively regular IPA and Maiden the Shade is their summer IPA. Terminal Gravity’s venerable IPA is still amazing. And, if you’re looking to go imperial, I’d suggest Hopworks Ace of Spades or Hair of the Dog Blue Dot.

Sound good?
Jeff

Answered by Jeff Alworth, Ask Oregon Beer Expert on March 12th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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