What’s on tap for Bend Ale Trail Month 2021?
You could argue that every month is Bend Ale Trail Month in Bend. Then I’d ask why we’re arguing about beer and not drinking it because HELLO! Bend’s the best spot on earth to sip suds, especially each November when it’s Bend Ale Trail Month.
Want to enjoy the merriest month of the year for Bend beer fans? Here’s what you need to know.
Is it just us, or do things look different?
Earlier this year, the Bend Ale Trail got a big-time reboot. New passport, new prizing, and all new territories giving you a chance to explore breweries you may not have seen before.
I won’t bore you with details in case it’s old news to you, but read this post for in-depth detail on how the new program works.
While the territory thing is arguably the awesomest part of the new Bend Ale Trail, the app and passport run a close second. Choose between a cool-looking commemorative passport book for just $5, or use the free app to track your trekking on a mobile device. Whichever way you do it, prepare for a bounty of beer-based fun.
What’s the new prize?
To better align the Bend Ale Trail Month prize with our commitment to sustainability, there’s a brand-new prize for 2021. It’s also a match for the more elevated experience of the improved program, so you’ll definitely want this for your collection.
The new Bend Ale Trail Month prize is a high-end German glass tankard rimmed with gold and decorated with a badge declaring your status as a Bend Ale Trail Champion. Treat it like a trophy and stick it on your mantle, or swill suds out of that bad boy long after you’ve ended your adventure.
During the month of November, anyone who completes a single territory and brings the stamped passport or app to the Bend Visitor Center gets the tankard glass on top of the regular prizes. That’s a switch from past years when you had to complete the whole Bend Ale Trail for the BAT Month prize, but the catch is that you can only claim the tankard once.
But keep completing territories and you’ll still get taster glasses for each one, plus the awesome new taster tray when you’ve hit ‘em all. Worth playing for, right?
Do we still get schwag?
While that sexy tankard is enough of a motive to get you up off the sofa, there’s plenty more to go around in November.
Dozens of local breweries donated all manner of schwag, from hats to shirts to stickers to HydroFlasks to gift cards to Silipints and more.
How do you get some of that goodness for yourself?
Just snap a pic of your beerventure and share it on Instagram using the hashtag #bendaletrailmonth. We’ll randomly select winners to get schwag throughout the month. Woot!
What if I’m not drinking beer?
If beer just isn’t your jam, you’re in for a treat with the new Bend Ale Trail. The Drinkable Diversions program offers your taste buds a sampling of cider, wine, distilled spirits, and more. Consider it a beer break or a chance to get a broader picture of Bend’s craft beverage scene.
Maybe you don’t drink at all, either for personal reasons or you’re extending Sober October. No problem! There’s never a purchase required to get your Bend Ale Trail passport stamp or electronic app check in. That said, we hope you patronize our local breweries by buying a burger or basket of tots, since the hospitality biz took a hard hit with the pandemic.
Want to take your teetotaling to the next level? To participate in our Designated Driver program, the DD commits to not drink ANY alcohol for the entire day, and is responsible for transporting his/her/their group safely along the Bend Ale Trail. The DD must purchase a $5 passport, but we’ll refund your money when you redeem it. Once you collect Designated Driver stamps from five breweries on the last page of your Bend Ale Trail passport, bring it to the Bend Visitor Center for your unique DD prize.
Is there really more to life than beer?
While Bend’s beer scene can keep you plenty busy, the new Bend Ale Trail gives you much more to explore.
With the new territories launching you off in different directions, we wanted to show you what else these areas have to offer. Enter the Perfect Pairings.
Pair a Tin Pan Alley art walk with your trek around the Old Block territory, or hoof it up Pilot Butte between stops in the Badlands Territory. There’s lots to explore beyond the brewery doors, so leave time for a few Perfect Pairings along the way.
What else should I know?
As a Bend beer fan who has been trekking the trail since there were just six breweries back in 2010, I’ve learned lots of things the hard way. Here are my best tips to make your BAT Month beerventure the best it can be:
- Don’t start with an empty stomach. Have a snack or meal before you set out, then order food at a few stops along the way to keep your belly happy.
- Have a plan for getting around. If you don’t have a DD like I mentioned earlier, map out a walking route between stops or summon Uber or Lyft. We’ve also got taxis and plenty of tour companies to get you where you need to be in one piece. Whatever you do, DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!
- Tackle one territory at a time. Some are small with just a few breweries, so you can build your adventure based on timing and the area you’d like to explore.
- Mask up for health. As of this posting, Oregon’s indoor mask requirement is still in effect. While you can’t exactly chug beer through a mask, you’ll need one to walk through the brewery doors or anytime you can’t keep six feet of distance from folks not in your party.
- Try something new. Taster trays shared among friends are a great way to sample lots of kinds of beer at the different stops.
- Don’t do it all in a weekend. This is especially crucial with the territories spread over so much geographic space. Take your time exploring, and make a plan before you set out so you don’t miss anything.
- Hydrate! Tote your own reusable water bottle or ask your server to set you up with a big glass of water.
- Pace yourself. If you’re not up for sharing a taster tray, order small schooners instead of full pints of beer.
- Have fun! Remember it’s a journey and not a competition. If you don’t hit every brewery on your list, there’s always next time.
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