Bend likes beer in June. And December and May and every month except November. In November, we freakin’ LOVE beer.
That’s when Bend Ale Trail Month brings bonus prizes, cool souvenirs, and sudsy celebrations of the world’s finest fermented beverage.
Ready to rock Bend Ale Trail Month 2022? Here’s what you need to know.
Has it been a while?
If you haven’t trekked the Bend Ale Trail for a bit, you’ll be surprised to learn it’s got a whole new look.
For starters, it includes breweries in Redmond, Prineville, Sisters, Sunriver, and of course, Bend. They’re split into territories, and each has its own prize and recommended activities called Perfect Pairings. You’ll even find non-beer options like distilleries, cideries, and wine tasting rooms called Drinkable Diversions.
It’s all rolled up in a nifty new passport launched in 2021 and available for purchase at the Bend Visitor Center for $5 (though read on to learn how to get one for zero pennies!) You can also use the free app to track your trekking on a mobile device.
But one thing that hasn’t changed? November is the very best month to trek this legendary trail of beer.
Here’s your new prize!
If you’re familiar with Bend Ale Trail Month, you’re already jonesing for the prize you earn for completing just one territory in November.
While we used to give out plastic trophies, we switched last year to a prize less likely to end up in landfills. Keeping with our new tradition of high-end German glassware, I’m thrilled to share this year’s prize is a boot.
Yep, a boot. Not for your foot. For your beer.
When you complete a territory in November and bring the stamped passport or app to the Bend Visitor Center, we’ll hand you this spiffy boot-shaped beer vessel. The tradition of boot drinking dates back to the Celts in the late Bronze Age. Then in the 19th century, the military used leather boots as drinking vessels for punishment or as a test of courage.
There are no courage tests tied to this glass boot, and I swear no one’s dipped their toes in it. Treat yours like a trophy on your mantle, or swill suds from the shaft like the beer boss you are. Your call!
Because we love you, here’s bonus schwag
While that awesome glass boot is inspiring enough 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!
Let’s kick things off in style
That wasn’t a boot joke, I swear.
For the first time ever, we’re kicking off Bend Ale Trail Month with a special event. On Saturday, October 29, attend Beers from the Dead and welcome classic Oregon microbrews back from the grave.
It’s not as creepy as it sounds. See, lots of Bend breweries launched decades ago with beers they’ve long since retired. But for one special day, they’re bringing back those recipes for you to try between noon and 6 p.m. on October 29 at Midtown Yacht Club.
No ticket is required, and all beers can be purchased a la carte in full or half-pints. Best of all, the first 200 customers will get a free Bend Ale Trail passport and a Beers of the Dead pint glass to kick off your BAT Month in style.
The event is family-friendly, with free pumpkin painting and treats for kids, plus a portion of the proceeds will go to the Bend Sustainability Fund.
Wondering what’s on tap? You’ll have a chance to taste Cascade Golden Ale, which was Deschutes Brewery’s debut release born in 1986. McMenamins is resurrecting their Mars Ale, a 1985 pastry stout they crafted 30 years before the term “pastry stout” was even a thing. Boneyard Beer is bringing Black 13 back from the dead, while Silver Moon Brewing resuscitates Voodoo Dog India Red Ale. Plenty more beers are in the lineup, so show up early to try them all.
Need a break from beer?
If beer just isn’t your jam, the latest iteration of the Bend Ale Trail surely will be. The Drinkable Diversions program presents your taste buds with 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. While we still hope you’ll patronize our local breweries, you can do it by buying a basket of tots or a burger.
Want to take 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.
Time for a scenery change!
While Bend’s beer scene will rock your world all on its own, the Bend Ale Trail offers much more to explore.
With the 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.
- 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.