When you can’t make up your mind, sample a flight of wine, spirits, or beer in Bend, Oregon
Bend is a great place to drink when you’re indecisive, ADD, or ignorant.
OK, so that’s not the best marketing slogan.
But since I’ve been all of those things at one time or another, it’s good to know my options when I set out to imbibe but can’t figure out what to drink. Thanks to the wide variety of beverage flights available around Bend, I never have to pick just one.
Allow me to share some of my favorites:
10Below Restaurant & Lounge on the lower level of The Oxford Hotel has one of my favorite selections of flights. Choose from gin, tequila, vodka, single-malt scotch, small-batch bourbon, and Irish whiskey. Prices range from $10-$15 for three 1-ounce pours, and all of them offer a great chance to try something unique. I’m a gin girl myself, and I love the fact that all three gins are from the Pacific Northwest. The vodka flight offers all Oregon-made spirits, and is a popular choice for visitors. I’m ordinarily ambivalent about scotch, but ordering a flight of it at 10Below gave me a whole new appreciation (not to mention a new favorite – the smoky, earthy Laphroaig 10-year single malt scotch from the Islay region). If spirits don’t roll your socks up, consider ordering the champagne flight for $14.
Another unique flight option is the sake flight offered at 5 Fusion, where you can sample four different types of sake.
If you’re looking to sample spirits straight from the source, pay visits to the tasting rooms at BendDistillery (the nation’s most award-winning small-batch distillery located just a few miles west of Bend) and Oregon Spirit Distillers (the only place in the world making scrumptious marionberry liqueur in the form of the Black Mariah cordial). At either spot, you’ll be able to sample delicious gin, vodka, and more while touring the facility and meeting the fine folks who create the spirits.
Did someone say wine?
I’m a bit of a wine snob, but I can be indecisive. I might know I want a hearty red, but which one? The best thing about wine flights is not having to pick. The unfortunate thing about this blog post is that I do have to pick at least a few of my favorites, which is hard because there are SO MANY.
I’ve long enjoyed the creative flights at 900 Wall, with names like Oregon Pinot Envy (a selection of four Oregon Pinot Noirs for $16), The A List (four different wines beginning with the letter “A” for $13), and Spanish Airways (four Spanish wines for $13).
Seafood lovers will enjoy the wine flight at Anthony’s in the Old Mill District. The rotating selections of white wines are specially chosen to pair with seafood, and you can’t beat the $5 happy hour price for three 2.25-ounce pours ($8.95 regular price).
If you’re milling around Downtown Bend, it’s a great opportunity to try the trifecta of wine shops including Good Drop Wine Shoppe, Bend D’Vine, and The Wine Shop & Tasting Bar. The three stores are located within a couple blocks of one another, and all offer tastings and bottles for purchase. I’m particularly fond of the flight options at Bend D’Vine, where you can get three 2-ounce pours of non-Pinot wines for $10 or three Pinots for $12.
And don’t forget to hit the tasting room at Volcano Vineyards, where you can enjoy tasters of all the wines on their list (including their world-famous sangria!)
Beer is still king
Of course when all is said and done, Bend is a beer town. One of my favorite things to do along the Bend Ale Trail is to order flights that include a wide variety of beers.
I’m particularly fond of the $15 sampler flight at Bend Brewing Company, which gives you a 1.5-ounce sample of each of their 10 beers. It’s a great way to try some of their standard brews, like the Elk Lake IPA (my personal favorite) as well as unique seasonals like Ching Ching and Nitro Vanilla Porter. It’s a great flight to split between two people.
One of my newest favorites is the beer flight at Crux Fermentation Project. Pick any six beers on the menu and enjoy a generous 5-ounce taster of each for $10. I’m obsessed with the Long Day Imperial IPA, but with an average of 10-15 beers on tap at any given time, you’ll have plenty to choose from in picking your own top brews.
Platypus Pub on Third Street has a great selection of local brews and beers from outside the area. With 15 beers on tap, you can create your own flight of 4-ounce tasters for just $2 apiece. Be sure to order a side of their tasty smoked wings, too!
For terrific dining and great happy hour, head to Crossings at the Riverhouse. They offer a beer flight that includes five beers from a rotating tap list. Each pour is 4-ounces, and the flight is $9. Mull your selections before heading out there by consulting their tap list online.
Oh, and if your indecision, ADD, or ignorance makes you unable to narrow the field to spirits, wine, or beer, there’s no need to pick. Just contact Wanderlust Tours about the half-day Local Pour tour. For $45, you can visit one brewery, one winery, and one distillery, with samples included at each, plus snacks and transportation. What a deal!
Do you have a favorite spot in Bend for flights? Please share!