Beer fans enjoy some tasters at Bend Brewing Co.

In recent years, there’s been a lot of buzz about Bend’s reputation as a mecca for world-class craft breweries. I don’t want to suggest you should plan an entire vacation around beer, but—

Wait, that’s exactly what I want to suggest.

A beercation, if you will.

There are a million great ways to do it, and The Bend Ale Trail offers the perfect focal point to get the ball rolling. Using a Bend Ale Trail map and passport, you can track your route between eight local breweries and win prizes for visiting all of them. You can also download a free Bend Ale Trail smartphone app for iPhone and Android. The free travel app offers an interactive geolocation based map, one-touch access to brewery information, contact info for taxis, tours, and lodging, and even a quiz that lets you test your beer knowledge.

Getting around is easy on foot or by bike, since most breweries are within a few square miles of each other. You can also catch a pedicab or a shuttle with GETIT Shuttle.

If you’re looking for a little more hand-holding on your beercation, GETIT Shuttle also offers a Bend Brew Tour that includes prizes and transport. Alternately, you can catch the Bend Brew Bus tour with Wanderlust Tours (an experience I can highly recommend and blogged about here).

For a truly unique transportation option, try the Buckboard, Biscuits, and Beer tour from Cowboy Carriage Company and the Well Traveled Fork, which lets you travel the Bend Ale Trail from atop hay bales in the back of a horse drawn carriage.

Half bar, half bike, it’s Cycle Pub!

Whether you’re an avid cyclist or just someone who’s been wanting to try mountain biking, consider making a multi-day adventure out of your beercation with Cog Wild. They offer an amazing Bike & Brew Weekend that includes three days of trail riding, beer drinking, meals, and lodging. I heard through the grapevine that there are still a few slots on some of their summer and fall tours, so check out the schedule.

And speaking of biking, another off-kilter beer offering is the Cycle Pub. Not quite a bar, not quite a bike, the one thing that’s certain is that this is a whole lot of fun. You can check out my earlier blog post about Cycle Pub for the inside scoop on that experience.

Though your beercation can take place pretty much any day of the year, there are a few key events you’ll want to mark on your calendar. Coming up August 18-20 is the annual Bend Brewfest. Held at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, the eighth annual Bend Brewfest promises more than 80 distinct craft beers for tasting. Yum!

And you can always count on local favorite Deschutes Brewery to offer up special beers for just oodles of local events. The annual Race for the River features a special blend each year, as does the upcoming “Brew Ha Ha” event tied to the Bend WebCAM web, creative and marketing conference, which will feature unique Deschutes Brewery blends like HTMale and API IPA and Partner Porter.

Oh, and if you want to make sure you’re decked out in style for your beercation, stop by the Visit Bend office and buy your special edition “Girl vs. Beer” or “Man vs. Beer” t-shirt or cap.

So now that you have everything you could possibly need, when will you be planning your beercation? I’ll see you out on the trail!

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