The Bend Ale Trail….
Crux Fermentation Project in Bend, OR
I once saw Loco Moco on a menu when we were in Maui. It seemed risky at best for a breakfast item, at least by vanilla good old fashioned American food standards. Fortunately, I was with my cousin who was a long time Hawaii resident. He asked me these simple questions – You like rice, don’t you? You like hamburger, right? Eggs? I know you like gravy, right….
Well Bend is also a hodgepodge of so many things that we love: Breweries – more than you can visit in a month, Outdoors – hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, Golf – plentiful beautiful golf courses to your heart’s content, Food – tons of great choices, Dog Friendly – our dogs challenge you to find a city that is friendlier, Climate – that’s pretty damn good too. In a nutshell, there is no shortage of things to do.
During our last visit, we just couldn’t fit in everything in the single month that we originally planned so we extended our stay. After that ….we extended our stay. After that … well, winter was coming so we had to bid farewell, for now.
The absolute highlight was simply floating the Deschutes River. Kath on her kayak and me on my paddleboard, the pure relaxation was unbeatable. Now, we did float a couple of times in the sometimes hectic area near downtown Bend which was enjoyable but the real experience comes when you head south to Sunriver for a more secluded float. The six-mile float seems to go by in minutes while you take in the beauty and tranquility of the river, the forest, and the wildlife. We are fortunate enough to have a close friend who was able to give us access to the private Sunriver boat launch but the public marina is also right next door. They also offer a shuttle service to bring you back to your car at the end of your adventure. For a longer float, you can head upriver a little further to launch from the bridge which will add a few, highly recommended, extra miles to your trip.
Now, as amazing and relaxing as this trip is, it certainly doesn’t hurt to pack a cooler, including maybe a growler or 6 pack from your favorite brewery in Bend. Not sure this activity is Chamber of Commerce endorsed, but what isn’t really better with a beer or two, right. …just sayin’
Speaking of beer, did I mention there are some decent breweries? I believe officially, based on the Bend Oregon Ale Trail program, there are now 15 in the area. We really wanted to try all of them but 15 is an s*&t ton of breweries, right? So we had to try to pick the best ones and here are the ones we got in:
Crux Fermentation Project – a personal favorite. The Banished beers are amazing but not for the budget conscious. The perfect complement to any amazing beer on the menu is their Project Board meat and cheese board – as good as you can get anywhere. Can you say bacon jam? Mmmmm. Huge outdoor area with live music. Bring a blanket and your pup and make an afternoon of it. Great sunset views too!
Good Life – another brewery with a great outdoor area with games and food truck. Dog-friendly. Sweet As is a great ale.
10 Barrel – Hard to go wrong with their beers. Almost all of them are great. Patio with fire pit is a great place to hand with friends and bring your pup. Love their Joe IPA.
Deschutes – the brewery that put this place on the map. The beers are great and choices seem to be endless. I will say we came here a few years back and the grub seemed to be better but you can’t go wrong sampling beers at the bar. Fresh Squeezed IPA is outstanding.
Bend Brewing – great patio. Had the Wicked Medicine Belgian seasonal beer that was out of this world.
Immersion – this one surprised us. It was one of the last we visited but we ended up there twice. If you like pretzels we thought theirs was one of the best.
Boneyard – don’t expect much here. Food, um no. The ambiance, sorry They don’t do anything but make world class beer. Their RPM IPA is the best, maybe anywhere. Bone A Fide is amazing too
Cascade Lakes – cool brewpub but nothing memorable here for us. Maybe caught us on a bad day (sad face)
McMenamins – Can’t say the beer was spectacular but this is a must visit. One of the more eclectic places you will ever see. This is an old school that has been converted into a hotel, brewery, several bars, movie theater, soaking pool, and probably some other random stuff that maybe nobody even knows about. There is a great outdoor cigar lounge/whiskey bar with fire pits that is a great place to hang out and mingle with tourists and locals. Also, a hidden bar called the broom closet. …good luck finding it!
How many is that now? Oh, hmmm …I guess that is all of them. Well, that’s a little embarrassing. Maybe we’ll look into Betty Ford now that we’re headed home. But it was so worth it!