Bend’s a beer town. But each November, Bend becomes a beer wonderland. A magical mecca filled with hops and barley and mountain spring water.
It’s time once more for Bend Ale Trail month, featuring bonus prizes, cool souvenirs, and sudsy celebrations of the world’s finest fermented beverage.
Wondering what’s on tap for Bend Ale Trail Month 2023? Here’s the scoop!
We haven’t seen you in a while
If you haven’t trekked the Bend Ale Trail for a few years, you’re in for a treat.
With Bend’s beer scene booming, we expanded the trail back in 2021 to include 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 passport available for FREE at the Bend Visitor Center. You can also use the free app to track your trekking on a mobile device.
Pick your prize, people!
This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill. For the first time ever, you get to choose your own prize (while supplies last) for completing just one territory in the month of November. Here’s what’s on the table for Bend Ale Trail Month prizes in 2023:
- A cool glow-in-the-dark patch you can iron onto whatever you like (preferably an item of clothing and not your forehead, but hey—no judgment).
- A high-end German glassware boot for your beverage swilling pleasure.
- A classic German-style dimpled glass beer mug with a gold-tone rim.
When you complete any territory in November and bring the stamped passport or app to the Bend Visitor Center, we’ll let you pick which prize you want. Limit is one prize per person, but still….How cool is that?!
More prizes ‘cuz we love you
While the pick-your-prize option feels like inspiration enough to get you out on the Bend Ale Trail, 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!
Gentlefolks…start your engines!
While it’s not an official kickoff event, you can get your Bend Ale Trail Month grove going early with the Beers from the Dead event. It’s a chance to welcome classic Oregon microbrews back from the grave, including old faves from many Bend Ale Trail Breweries.
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 28 at On Tap.
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 keepsake Bend Ale Trail passport and a Beers of the Dead pint glass.
And as we all know, that passport should come in handy if you’re planning to do Bend Ale Trail Month in November.
Hold the beer, please
If beer just isn’t your jam, you can still do the Bend Ale Trail. 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.
It’s also worth noting that many of our favorite Bend Ale Trail breweries now offer non-alcoholic brews for your buzz-free sipping pleasure. My personal faves come from Crux Fermentation Project, Worthy Brewing, Bridge 99 Brewing, Sunriver Brewing, 10 Barrel, and Deschutes Brewing. Scope them out and choose your own favorite.
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 use the physical passport (not the web app). 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 so much to see 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.