Are you ready for Bend Ale Trail Month 2018?
Sure, you can sip your way around the legendary Bend Ale Trail in January, February, March, April, May…yeah, you get the idea.
But there’s something extra special about doing it in November.
Make that several somethings. November is Bend Ale Trail Month, and 2018 marks the fifth time we’ve enjoyed this month-long celebration of Bend’s craft beer scene.
What’s all the fuss about? Read on to learn what’s awesome about planning your Bend beerventure in November 2018.
What’s new in 2018?
For those already familiar with Bend Ale Trail Month, here’s a quick-and-dirty roundup of all the fun new stuff:
- We’ve added two new breweries to the Bend Ale Trail, bringing the total to 18. This year you’ll have the added pleasure of visiting Monkless Belgian Ales and Bridge 99 Brewery on your quest to hit all the best spots for suds in Bend.
- More breweries means more free stuff (more on that in a sec!)
- Yep, you still get a trophy! (We’ll get to that next!)
- We’ve got an awesome new Designated Driver program that rewards your DD quite handsomely (check out the details below!)
Let’s start with the good stuff…
What’s this about a trophy?
You can hit the Bend Ale Trail all year long and earn prizes for gathering passport stamps at the breweries. December through October, you earn a Silipint pint glass for racking up 10 passport stamps, and an additional bottle opener for hitting all 18.
But in November, that all changes. Yeah, you still get the Silipint and the bottle opener for accomplishing the aforementioned feat, but guess what else you get?
A freakin’ trophy, that’s what!
To earn it, just bring your completed Bend Ale Trail passport to the Bend Visitor Center on the corner of Lava Ave. and Oregon Ave. between November 1 and November 30. Ten passport stamps get you the trophy AND the Silipint, or hit all 18 to earn the bottle opener, too.
Can I score more free stuff?
While the trophies are clearly the top prize during Bend Ale Trail Month, there’s plenty more schwag to go around in November.
The breweries are extra generous with prizes for Bend Ale Trail month, filling our conference room with all manner of goodies for us to give away. Hats, shirts, stickers, gift cards, Hydro Flasks, Silipints, and so much more can be yours with just a few taps of your phone screen.
Just snap a pic of your beerventure and share it on Instagram using the hashtag #bendaletrailmonth. We’ll randomly select winners to receive schwag throughout the month. Easy peasy!
What else can I win?
What, the trophy and the schwag aren’t enough for you?
Okay, how about a free Bend vacation!
Everyone who brings a completed Bend Ale Trail atlas to the Bend Visitor Center and completes a quick survey (you’ve gotta do both!) will be entered to win a Bend beercation that includes two nights of lodging at the Oxford Hotel, a tour for two with Bend Brew Bus, a $50 gift card for Crux Fermentation Project, and a Brew it Yourself beermaking session at Immersion Brewing.
Er, what if I can’t drink all that beer?
If you want to spend your Bend Ale Trail adventure sipping your way through creamy porters and hoppy IPAs, rock on with your bad self.
But you’re not required to drink a single drop of beer. You do have to show up in person at each brewery to get your passport stamped, of course. But eating, drinking, or buying anything at all is optional. This is good news for teetotalers and designated drivers.
And while kids under 21 aren’t allowed to participate in the Bend Ale Trail program, they’ll find plenty of non-alcoholic selections along the trail. My personal fave: The root beer and ginger beer brewed up fresh at Deschutes Brewery.
If you’re a fan of adult beverages but just not beer, flip your Bend Ale Trail atlas to the Drinkable Diversions page. That’s where you’ll find a roundup of awesome distilleries, cideries, wineries, and kombucha brewers who’d be happy to hook you up with locally-made craft beverages of a different sort.
What’s this about a new Designated Driver program?
Guys, this program rocks.
Like I said, you’re not required to drink a drop of beer on the Bend Ale Trail. But if you’re willing to shoulder the responsibility of driving other people safely from brewery to brewery, we’ll make it worth your while.
First, the Designated Driver must commit to not drinking ANY alcohol for the entire day he/she is the DD. You also need to identify yourself as the DD at every brewery you visit (which will earn you a free non-alcoholic beverage at each stop!)
Using the regular Bend Ale Trail atlas, just collect your special DD passport stamp at each brewery. Once you’ve collected a minimum of 10, bring your passport to the Bend Visitor Center to earn a free Hydro Flask True Pint commemorating your service as a DD. Score!
What if I don’t have a DD?
Don’t even think of drinking and driving. Seriously.
There are a gazillion ways to travel between breweries without risking a DUI or someone’s life. Here are just a few of them:
- Walk. Especially if the weather’s nice. It’s a great way to see Bend.
- Arrange a shuttle, a pedicab, or other sober transportation with The Bend Tour Company.
- Book a half-day tour with The Bend Brew Bus.
- Hit the trail on a horse-drawn carriage with Cowboy Carriage Company.
- Pedal a bicycle made for 14 with The Cycle Pub of Bend.
- Head out with in a 1980s-style trolley with The Bend Trolley.
- Call a cab.
- Travel in style with Bend Towncars.
- Download the app for Uber or Lyft and hitch a ride with one of countless local drivers serving these rideshare programs.
What else do I need to know?
If you do plan to swill beer during your Bend Ale Trail journey, it’s important to be smart about consumption. A few quick tips:
- Eat a hearty meal before you set out, and plan to nosh at a couple breweries along the way.
- Take frequent water breaks. Tote your own Hydro Flask, or ask your server to set you up with a big glass of ice water.
- Opt for smaller schooners instead of full pints of beer, or stick with samples.
- Share a taster tray with a pack of friends so everyone can try a wide variety of beer without overindulging.
- Don’t try to hit all the breweries in one weekend. Take it nice and slow!
- Make a plan before you set out, including how many breweries you plan to hit and how you’ll get safely back to your Bend hotel or vacation rental.
I’m kinda worried about those beer calories…
Planning to visit Bend for Bend Ale Trail month, but fretting about your belt getting too tight? Never fear! Sign up for the Bend Ale Run on November 10 and fit in a little cardio with your fellow beer-lovers.
There’s a half-marathon and a 10k, or you can even opt to walk it with a generous 5-hour time slot for completion.
To learn more and to register, go here.
Is there an app for that?
Not in the mood to pack the Bend Ale Trail atlas with you everywhere you go? No problem!
Save trees and keep everything tucked neatly in your pocket when you check in at all your stops using the handy Bend Ale Trail app.
It’s free to download for iPhone and Android devices, and you can gather virtual stamps right there in the app (not to mention plotting your route, reading up on each brewery, and finding a place to stay). Download the app here.