If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the success of the Bend Ale Trail, it’s not to have an empty stomach if you visit all 14 breweries in one day.
Wait, no. That’s not the message I wanted to share. Let’s try this again.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the success of the Bend Ale Trail, it’s that Bend visitors and locals love their craft beer. We love it so much that we’re not content to merely drink the beer. We have to cherish it. Coddle it. Dress it up in pretty clothes and parade it around.
If you love your beer—I mean really love your beer—here are five beer accessories you truly need to have.
A belt buckle that doubles as a bottle opener
Have you ever found yourself standing around at a party and had a sudden, insatiable need to crack open a cold one using an article of your own clothing?
Of course you have!
And since they haven’t invented bottle openers made from underwear, you need the next best thing in the form of an official Bend Ale Trail belt buckle with built-in bottle opener.
These heavy-duty accessories come in three finishes (copper, bronze, and silver) and can be purchased in the Bend Visitor Center for just $28. You know you want all three of them.
A beer glass that bounces when you drop it
I’m not saying I have a habit of knocking over my beer glass after I’ve had a few, but . . . actually, that is what I’m saying.
That’s one of many things I love about Silipint silicone pint glasses. Topple a regular beer glass onto the floor and you end up with a pile of shattered glass, but a Silipint just bounces and rolls.
Even if you’re not in the habit of dropping your adult beverages, Silipints are just practical. I fill mine with hot tea every morning, using the handy travel lid to keep things from sloshing around. When that’s gone, I switch to ice water, which my Silipint maintains at optimum temperature without making a sweaty mess. When evening rolls around, that same Silipint makes a fabulous vessel for my favorite Bend-made suds. How many other glasses are that versatile? Slop a bunch of hot coffee into your Riedel wineglass and let me know how that works out for you.
You can find Silipints for sale all over Bend, including the Ticket Mill Outlet in the Old Mill District and at the Bend Visitor Center. If you want a special Silipint declaring “I completed the Bend Ale Trail,” you’re going to have to earn it by bringing us your completed Bend Ale Trail passport to claim your prize.
A sweater for your beer
You want your beer to be attractive, fashionable, and cozy, right?
Your beer needs a sweater. Lucky for you, Deschutes Brewery has one. It’s a dapper little knitted number that serves the dual purpose of keeping your beer cold and your hand warm.
It’s stretchy enough to fit a 22-ounce bomber or a regular 12-ounce bottle, and the bold hues of black, gold, and red will leave your beer feeling stylish and sassy.
At only $8 a pop, how can you not own enough for a whole six-pack?
A growler you can rub for three wishes
Pretty much every brewery in town offers a logo-adorned growler, but only Crux Fermentation Project sells one that looks like Barbara Eden might emerge from it at any moment.
Did I just date myself with an I Dream of Jeannie reference?
No matter. The growlers they sell at Crux look wicked cool, and you can buy them online for only $18.
You can also pick one up at the brewery itself, which is a much better idea. I hear the odds of seeing a genie are markedly improved when your growler is filled with fresh, delicious Crux beer.
The growler to trump all growlers
There are several companies in Bend making high-end, airtight growlers with double-walled construction that keep your drink cold for up to 24 hours.
And while they’re all pretty fabulous, the folks at DrinkTanks have taken the game to a whole new level. They started by giving their growler a big, sturdy handle and a clamp-on lid with a double-bail locking system that’s guaranteed to be totally leak-proof.
Then they created an add-on Keg Cap Kit with a hose and CO2 cartridges you use to transform your growler into a personal keg.
Mind = blown.
We had the chance to test drive one in the Visit Bend office and it rocked my ever-lovin’ world. We sampled a regular stout poured from the growler and then tried it with a little pump of C02 and honest-to-dog, it was like sipping beer straight from the tap. As a bonus, it comes in 11 stylish finishes and can even be engraved for that added personal touch. You can pick one up in a regular 64-ounce size, or get in on the Kickstarter campaign to support the creation of a massive 128-ounce growler (which officially makes it the world’s largest beer growler, in case you were wondering).
The 64-ouncer runs $69, plus $45 for the Keg Cap, but guess what? The folks at DrinkTanks are giving one away for FREE!
Enter to win by commenting on this blog post with your favorite Bend beer. For an extra entry, tell us in your comment if you’ve shared a link to this blog post on Twitter or Facebook (we’ll give you bonus entries for each of those tasks).
We’ll pick a winner on Friday, April 3.
Happy drinking, everyone!