Visit Bend Blog

Category: Beer

Get ready for Bend Ale Trail Month 2017!

October 12th, 2017

While beer fans can tackle the legendary Bend Ale Trail any month of the year, there’s something extra special about doing it in November.

The brand new Bend Ale Trail Month trophy for 2017.

Make that several somethings. November is Bend Ale Trail Month, and 2017 marks the fourth 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 2017.

 

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 16.

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 16 to earn the bottle opener, too.

Oh, and just because you have a trophy from a previous season doesn’t mean you don’t want this one. We’ve released a brand new (and in my opinion, even cooler) trophy this year, so it’s a great chance to add to your collection.

 

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.

There’s plenty more schwag you can win for taking part in Bend Ale Trail Month.

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!

Bring your stamped passport to the Bend Visitor Center and fill out a quick survey for a shot at winning a 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 Wall Street Suites, gift certificates for two awesome adventures with Wanderlust Tours, 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.

You don’t have to drink a drop to complete the Bend Ale Trail, and many breweries (like Deschutes!) have tasty non-alcoholic options for those choosing to abstain.

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 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:

  • Tote your Hydroflask along to make sure you stay well-hydrated on your beerventure.

    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.

 

And speaking of being responsible…

Don’t even think of drinking and driving. Seriously.

There are gazillion ways to travel between breweries without risking a DUI or someone’s life. Here are just a few of them:

 

Let the Bend Brew Bus be your designated driver.

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 11 and fit in a little cardio with your fellow beer-lovers.

There’s a half-marathon and a 10k, plus an option to pedal the course for cyclists. You can even opt to walk it with a generous 5-hour time slot for completion.

Pic or it didn’t happen.

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.

10 ways to make the most of Zwickelmania 2017

February 23rd, 2017

For as long as I can remember, Oregon’s statewide celebration of craft beer has taken place Presidents’ Day Weekend. But Central Oregon shook things up for Zwickelmania 2017.

Blogger Tawna in her Girl vs. Beer t-shirt (the unofficial uniform of Zwickelmania).

While Portland held the event as usual last weekend, Central Oregon is hosting Zwickelmania 2017 on February 25 instead.

While I’m personally bummed because I’ll be out of town, I’m professionally thrilled to bits. No more fighting holiday weekend crowds to get your beer, or splitting your time between Zwickelmania and Oregon Winterfest. Beer fans can devote a whole, luxurious afternoon to the one glorious day when breweries throw their doors wide open for tours, tastings, and more.

Planning to attend Zwickelmania 2017? Here are 10 tips to make the most of your experience!

 

Study up

There are oodles of online resources to help you achieve Zwicklemania nirvana, and it pays to study them before you’ve had a sip of beer.

Review the map to plot your best route between participating breweries.

Skim the online directory so you know what each brewery is offering in terms of beer samples, food, live music, tours, and other amenities.

Follow the Oregon Brewers’ Guild on Instagram and Twitter for up-to-the-minute info on Zwickelmania, and sign in on the Facebook event page so everyone knows you’re going.

It’s like cramming for a test, but soooooo much better.

 

Be selective

When it comes to completing a Bend Ale Trail passport, you can take years to do it.

The official 2017 Zwickelmania map.

But your time is limited when it comes to Zwickelmania 2017, so it’s okay to be choosy. With sixteen breweries participating from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., it’s not physically possible to hit them all unless you plan to dash through the door, grab a beer, and pound it while sprinting to the next brewery.

I don’t recommend that.

What I do recommend is pinpointing a handful of breweries on the list that you really, truly want to visit. Maybe you’re dying to ask questions of the head brewer at McMenamins, or maybe it’s your life’s ambition to taste special brews straight from the Zwickel at Crux. Perhaps you’ve been wanting to see KC Flynn perform at Cascade Lakes Brewing, or maybe you really want to sample the cold-brew cocktails they’ll be doling out at Deschutes.

Bottom line: Pick what you most want to see/do/drink/eat and start there. Then work your way down the list.

 

Go with a full tummy

The event kickoff at 11 a.m. can throw you for a loop if you show up several hours post-breakfast and fail to get something substantial in your belly before you start guzzling beer. That’s why it’s key to grab a good snack before you set out.

Protein-rich foods like chicken or salmon take longer to digest, which will slow how fast your blood alcohol level goes up. Foods high on the glycemic index like pasta are also a good bet, since alcohol changes your body’s stores of glycogen (a quick energy source stored in the liver).

Depending on weather, many of the breweries serve up Zwickelmania suds outdoors.

It’s also smart to snack along the way so you’re filling your belly with something besides beer suds. Most breweries will be doling out free food, so take advantage of it!

 

Pay attention to location

While many breweries are hosting Zwickelmania 2017 festivities at their actual pub, some are throwing open the doors at the brewing facility itself. Sometimes that’s the same place, and sometimes it isn’t.

To be safe, make sure you consult the list before setting out.

 

Buddy up to a brewer

Besides the free beer and nibbles, one of the biggest things that separates Zwickelmania from a regular trek around the Bend Ale Trail is the chance to interact with a brewer.

Chatting with brewers and checking out the brewing equipment is one of the highlights of Zwickelmania.

At most participating breweries, the brewers themselves will be on hand to answer questions, talk about the brewing process, or even pour you a pint.

It’s a great opportunity to get the inside scoop about your favorite beer direct from the guy or gal who made it, so don’t be shy! If it helps, jot down a question or two before you go.

 

Drink plenty of water

Making sure your body fluid doesn’t become 100% beer over the course of an afternoon is crucial when you’re attending a beer-centric event like this. I always stuff a Hydro Flask full of ice water in my purse and refill often as I go.

 

Leave the driving to someone else when you book an outing with the Bend Brew Bus.

Don’t even THINK of drinking and driving

There are gazillion ways to travel between breweries without risking a DUI or someone’s life. Here are just a few of them:

While Lyft and Uber aren’t yet in Bend, city officials are getting closer to making it happen (hopefully as soon as May).

But bottom line: There’s no excuse for driving while impaired. Ending up dead or in jail will put a serious damper on your Bend vacation.

 

Grab a memento

Zwicklemania is a big deal, and it’s fun to have a souvenir to commemorate it. Many participating breweries are offering deep discounts on schwag, so stock up while you can!

You definitely need this souvenir growler from Crux.

GoodLife Brewing’s Zwickelmania specials include sales on merchandise and packaged beer, while Cascade Lakes Brewing has schwag bags they’ll be handing out while supplies last.

Most others will have T-shirts and hats for sale, or pick up a logo’d growler to take home.

 

Know the secrets

Psst….want a few tidbits of insider info? Here you go:

  • Did you notice 10 Barrel Brewing isn’t listed in the lineup of participating breweries? I won’t go into the politics of why that is, but I will tell you they’re definitely still rolling out the red carpet for Zwickelmania. In fact, their Zwickelmania event is typically the first one I hit (and there have been years where I’ve just stayed there the whole day!) This year’s celebration features free Hawaiian style burgers and dogs from Mauna Kea Grill, pulled pork sliders and chicken tacos from Curb B Q, live music, and tons (literally, tons) of free beer. The event takes place at their brewing facility on NE 18th, though there’s a free shuttle from the pub that’ll run you out there and back.

    Mmmm….beer.

  • Not sure you want to spend precious Zwickelmania time driving all the way to Sisters for a visit to Three Creeks Brewing? Here’s something that’ll convince you: The brewery is hosting their annual Zwickelmania breakfast from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with breakfast snacks, breakfast beers, tours, zwickel tastes, and coffee. It’s a great chance to get an early start before the rest of Zwickelmania festivities even start.
  • While Zwickelmania technically ends at 4 p.m., festivities run a little later at Crux Fermentation Project. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., they’re offering behind-the-scenes tours, rare tastings from their BANISHED series (straight from the barrel!), and tons of great food including their Pork Parfait, Smoke-Aroni, and Rooster’s Kick-Ass Beef Jerky. If I were a betting woman, I’d say the food could run out earlier in the day, but it’s worth staying late anyway for great beer tasting and chats with the brewers.

 

Don’t forget your Bend Ale Trail passport

Zwicklemania is a great way to collect a whole lot of Bend Ale Trail passport stamps in one afternoon, so make sure you snag an atlas at the first brewery you visit or download the free Bend Ale Trail app.

Finished gathering stamps? The Bend Visitor Center is open seven days a week so you can collect your prize anytime. Stop by the corner of Lava and Oregon in Downtown Bend between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays or 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

 

10 things to know before you hit Bend Brewfest 2015

August 12th, 2015
Sunset at Bend Brewfest!

Sunset at Bend Brewfest!

My unwise decision to get the flu the day before last year’s Bend Brewfest put an unfortunate halt to my plans to attend this beertastic event every year since its inception.

But I’m making up for it in 2015, starting with the Bend Brewfest kickoff at noon on Thursday, August 13, at the Les Schwab Amphitheater and ending with one last delicious sip as things shut down at 8 p.m. on Sunday, August 16.

Since I’ve been around the Brewfest block a time or two, I have a few tips that can help make your experience the best it can possibly be. Here are 10 things you need to know about Bend Brewfest 2015.

 

Hang on to that mug!

If you’re planning to sample beer at Bend Brewfest, you’ll need to purchase a souvenir tasting mug for $15. Your mug is good for all four days of the event, so guard that bad boy with your life.

Also, don’t try sneaking in last year’s mug. They’ll catch you and they won’t be amused.

Your Brewfest tasting mug is good for all four days.

Your Brewfest tasting mug is good for all four days.

Your tasting mug comes with five tokens, which can be swapped for four ounces of beer each. A full 12-ounce pour requires four tokens, but I don’t advise that. The whole point of this event is to try lots of different beers, so don’t fill up on one.

Need more tokens? They’re $1 apiece, sold in packs of five, and if you find yourself with a few extras at the end, don’t fret! They’re good from one year to the next, and I promise you’ll smile when you find one in your sweatshirt pocket in December. They did change from the old wooden nickels to new bright yellow plastic ones this year, but you can still swap those out at the token tent.

 

Make a plan and stick with it.

At the entry gate or in recent issues of The Bend Bulletin, you’ll find a handy, printed Bend Brewfest guide. This is your Bible, and you need to sit down with a few sober moments and a couple trusty highlighters to really study it.

Study your Brewefest program well before you have a single sip.

Study your Brewefest program well before you have a single sip.

With more than 70 breweries, cideries, meaderies, and even a winery, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to taste everything. Brightly mark your top choices, including the dates and times of anything on X-Tap that really tickles your fancy. Then consult the map in your guide so you know exactly where to find them.

With your top picks clearly marked, flag a few b-team brews you also want to try. If you can, save those ones for after your first snack break (more on that later) or for another day.

Also, keep in mind that while Brewfest staff work tirelessly to get the guide right, last-minute substitutions from breweries do sometimes happen. Just go with the flow and know there will be no shortage of tasty beer to try.

 

Dress casually.

Casual attire is a must at Brewfest, as blogger Tawna (center) is happy to demonstrate.

Casual attire is a must at Brewfest, as blogger Tawna (center) is happy to demonstrate.

The weather is likely to be warm for most of the 2015 Bend Brewfest, but temps can cool rapidly at night. Wear short sleeves and shorts/skirt, but bring a sweatshirt for evening. Stick with sandals or sneakers, ladies—this is not the event to trot out those five-inch stilettos. You’ll be on your feet for hours walking on grass that’s damp with spilled beer, so choose your footwear wisely.

Don’t forget to wear something with pockets or carry a small, casual purse to hold those beer tokens. I have a special cross-body bag I got at Clutch Handbag Boutique that’s the perfect size to hold my Hydro Flask, cash, ID, beer tokens, phone, glasses, lip balm, and a light sweatshirt. If you don’t have something similar, visit Clutch in Downtown Bend to find your own. A purse makes an awesome Bend souvenir, plus it’s handy for future events!

 

Bring cash.

Though you can use a card for admission and at the merchandise tent, most food vendors require cash. There’s an ATM on-site, but you’ll pay hefty fees. Better to hit your own bank’s ATM before heading to the venue.

 

Watch the clock.

Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to sample all the brews you're dying to try.

Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to sample all the brews you’re dying to try.

Taps shut down at 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 8 p.m. on Sunday and they DO NOT MESS AROUND with this. Cutoff times are a legal issue, and it doesn’t matter if you’re next in line for that fab beer you’ve been thinking about all night. Do yourself a favor and set an alarm on your phone so you’ve got plenty of time to grab that last brew before your time’s up.

 

Enjoy your extra day this year.

Traditionally, Bend Brewfest is a three-day affair spanning Thursday through Sunday. But because the beer gods love us very, very much, they added an extra day this year.

Since readmission is permitted on any of the days, this means you can slow down and pace yourself a bit. Decide beforehand to focus on specific breweries or styles on certain days so you don’t confuse your palate by leaping back and forth between Porters and sours and IPAs and ciders.

 

Don’t drink on an empty stomach.

If you arrive at the venue and start guzzling beer with an empty belly, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be flat on your back within an hour.

Crowds can get big at Bend Brewfest, so be prepared to make new friends!

Crowds can get big at Bend Brewfest, so be prepared to make new friends!

Luckily, there are tons of great food vendors at Bend Brewfest, so finding good grub to soak up the suds isn’t a problem. Split some pizza with a pal, or grab a falafel or a tamale. The idea is to line your belly with some nice, dense carbs to absorb alcohol and keep you upright.

But don’t gorge yourself completely, since you want to save room for beer. Once you’ve sipped a few, head back to the food trailers and grab a snack. The best food vendors in the area all show up for this, and there will be plenty of tasty offerings to keep you fueled for your next round of drinking.

Moderation, guys—pace yourselves.

 

Arrange a sober ride.

Pop quiz: If you were a cop who wanted to keep Bend’s neighborhoods safe from drunk drivers, where would you hang out the weekend of Bend Brewfest?

Beyond the risk of arrest, you really don’t want to kill your vacation buzz by killing yourself or someone else. Seriously, guys—don’t screw around with this. Bookmark this page and have it handy for when it’s time to call a cab. You can also walk or elect a sober pal to do the driving. Just don’t drink and drive, OK? Pinky swear?

 

Water’s good for more than paddling.

I know it’s hard to fathom drinking anything besides beer or cider at the Brewfest, but you’ll be hating life in the morning if you don’t remember to drink plenty of water throughout the evening.

Take plenty of snack and water breaks at Brewfest.

Take plenty of snack and water breaks at Brewfest.

You’ll find plenty of water stations throughout the venue. Once you’ve downed a brew sample or two, locate one of these stations, fill your tasting mug with water, and chug that thing down. Repeat after every few samples. If you’d prefer to keep your water vessel separate from your beer one, hit the merch tent to buy a souvenir, double-walled bottle from fiftyfifty. Then swill some more water.

Trust me, you’ll thank yourself in the morning.

 

Leave the dogs at home (and only bring the kids before 7 p.m.)

Can’t find a sitter? Believe it or not, Bend Brewfest is kid-friendly (at least before 7 p.m.) While I personally prefer to leave the young’uns at home and enjoy the event as a grownup, plenty of folks enjoy taking in the scene with their well-behaved offspring in tow. Prior to 7 p.m., there’s a pretty mellow vibe to the whole event, and you’ll see plenty of other parents with kids. Just don’t let them zip around like crazed maniacs knocking beer out of strangers’ hands. That’s bad beer karma.

If you’re a parent to four-legged kids, Fido will need to sit this one out. For the safety of the beasts, dogs are not allowed at the 2015 Bend Brewfest. If you need some ideas for doggie daycare for a night, go here.

How to rock your 2015 Memorial Day Weekend in Bend

May 20th, 2015

Every year, Memorial Day Weekend marks the kickoff of peak tourism in Bend. It’s when the Bend Visitor Center switches to being open seven days a week (9-5 weekdays, 10-4 weekends) so visitors can meander by for maps, brochures, and tips.

There’s a lot going on in Bend every Memorial Day Weekend, and 2015 is no exception. Here are seven things you might want to have on your agenda.

 

Shake your groove thing with The Decemberists, Ryan Adams, and Robert Plant

Sunset at the Les Schwab Amphitheater is one of many reasons to attend at least one concert there this Memorial Day Weekend.

Sunset at the Les Schwab Amphitheater is one of many reasons to attend at least one concert there this Memorial Day Weekend.

I’ve been hitting the Les Schwab Amphitheater for Memorial Day Weekend concerts every year since the venue opened, and I’ve gotta admit—2015 has one of the best lineups I’ve ever seen.

On Friday night (May 22) The Decemberists return to Bend to share their unique brand of American folk rock. I’ve seen this awesome Grammy-nominated band there once before, so I know the show is going to be fab (doubly so with the presence of opening act Spoon).

The Saturday night (May 23) show will feature Ryan Adams, another Grammy-nominated musician known for his unique country/rock/folk style and a name that’s easily confused with ‘80s musician Bryan Adams (not the same guy). My husband is actually more excited about opening act Jenny Lewis, so luckily, we get to enjoy both for the price of one ticket. Well, two tickets, unless we decide to rent a gorilla suit and cram both of us inside so we can get in for the price of one, but that just sounds hot and itchy.

Sunday night is a chance to give your liver a break from all those trips to the beer gardens and wine tent at the concert venue. On Monday (May 24) the Les Schwab Amphitheater will welcome the legendary Robert Plant (yes, THAT Robert Plant—former front man for Led Zeppelin, and winner of so many rock awards he’s probably stopped keeping track). If I were a betting woman, I’d say there’s a chance this show could sell out, so go here to get ticket info for this show or any other that piques your interest.

 

Play outside with temps in the upper 60s

OK, I'm not nuts about the possible rain on Friday, but the rest of this forecast looks pretty killer for Memorial Day Weekend.

I’m not nuts about the possible rain on Friday, but the rest of the forecast looks pretty killer for Memorial Day Weekend.

Unless the weatherman is lying, it looks like Bend has ordered up the perfect weather for Memorial Day Weekend 2015. Temps are expected to be in the upper 60s, which makes it perfect for some spring hiking or a round of golf on one of 26 courses scattered around Central Oregon.

Our marketing director and his wife will probably be out mountain biking or trail running, while my hubby and I are gearing up for an afternoon of standup paddleboarding on the Deschutes River.

 

Kick off Central Oregon Beer Week along the Bend Ale Trail

Cheers to Central Oregon Beer Week and the Bend Ale Trail!

Cheers to Central Oregon Beer Week and the Bend Ale Trail!

You can make your way around the Bend Ale Trail pretty much any day of the year, gathering passport stamps and collecting prizes for sipping your way along an impressively diverse group of breweries.

But Memorial Day Weekend also marks the start of Central Oregon Beer Week 2015. The event spans May 22-31 and includes tours, tastings, live music, parties, food specials, beer education, contests, and more. You can view a complete calendar of events here.

 

FishingCraig

Who’s ready for some trout fishing?

Let’s go fishing

Bend is known around the country as a fishing mecca, with Fly Fisherman magazine naming the city one of the top fly fishing towns in the nation. Trout season is already open on the lower Deschutes River, but this weekend it opens on the upper Deschutes as well. Now’s a great time to get out there on your own, or book a fishing excursion with one of the reputable fishing outfitters in Bend.

 

 

 

Hit opening day at the Central Oregon Saturday Market

Kick off the 2015 season of the Central Oregon Saturday Market across the street from the Deschutes Public Library. Browse handcrafted jewelry, artwork, clothing, household goods, and more.

It's opening weekend for the Central Oregon Saturday Market, so you get a bonus day!

It’s opening weekend for the Central Oregon Saturday Market, so you get a bonus day!

Normally, this is a Saturday-only event (as you might’ve guessed from the name) but for Memorial Weekend they’re open both Saturday and Sunday. This is always a great spot to grab gifts to take home to friends and family, so bring an extra shopping bag.

 

Catch a ballgame at the Bend Elks Youth Baseball Tournament

Since 2005, the Bend Elks (our local baseball team) have hosted one of the Northwest’s biggest youth baseball tournaments. Even if you’re not the world’s greatest fan of the sport, it’s hard not to be impressed by the backdrop of the Cascade Mountains and the sheer volume of high school athletes journeying here to play their young hearts out.

If you’re just showing up to watch, you’ll be happy to know there’s no gate fee. Catch a game or two, eat a hot dog, and feel happy knowing proceeds from team entry fees help support youth baseball in Bend. You can find details and game schedules here.

 

Two great bike races for the cycling crowd         

Road cyclists rejoice on Saturday, May 23, in the fast and furious Bend Don’t Break circuit course bike race. A beginner’s clinic that morning gives newbies a chance to prepare, or race hard in the more elite categories. The race is part of the 2015 Oregon Women’s Prestige Series, though there are plenty of men’s categories as well. It’s also part of the Oregon Senior Games this year, so folks in the 50+ category have a chance to vie for a spot in the National Senior Games.

Only at the Sisters Stampede do horses and mountain bikes ride side by side.

Only at the Sisters Stampede do horses and mountain bikes ride side by side.

On Sunday, May 24, head west to Sisters with your mountain bike strapped to your car, and get ready for the Sisters Stampede. This uniquely-Sisters event lets you race your bike on the beautiful Peterson Ridge Trail in Sisters. This is Oregon’s largest cross country mountain bike race, with 23 different race categories, and a party at the finish line. Each racer gets a goody bag filled with cool schwag, and there’s $1000 in cash prizes up for grabs for the top three men and women in the Pro or Cat 1 categories. There’s also a free kids’ race. For event details and registration, go here.

Believe it or not, that’s only a sampling of events happening in and around Bend this weekend. For a complete list, check out the Visit Bend Event Calendar. You can search for cool happenings this weekend or any other weekend you plan to Visit Bend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 outdoor activities to burn off your beer calories in Bend

April 9th, 2015

I like Bend beer.

One of many ways blogger Tawna makes an effort to earn those beers along the Bend Ale Trail.

One of many ways blogger Tawna makes an effort to earn those beers along the Bend Ale Trail.

I also like wearing a bikini without cringing in horror each time I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the Deschutes River.

Believe it or not, it’s possible to have both things without one canceling out the other. It’s even possible to have a little fun while you’re at it.

Using this website, I plugged in the stats for the CDC’s estimation of an average 35-year-old woman (5’4” and 166 pounds). I don’t know about you, but none of those numbers apply to me personally, so you’ll probably want to plug in your own stats to get an accurate calorie count.

But this is more for fun than for actual scientific research, so here we go with my roundup of how much Bend recreation you’ll want to enjoy to cancel out all those extra calories along the Bend Ale Trail.

 

Hike Pilot Butte to earn some suds from Worthy Brewing

You can see Pilot Butte from Worthy Brewing, and you can burn off those beer calories by hiking it.

You can see Pilot Butte from Worthy Brewing, and you can burn off those beer calories by hiking it.

Pilot Butte is the 500-foot dormant volcano in the middle of town, and folks enjoy driving, hiking, or jogging to the top for a killer views of the city.

It so happens Worthy Brewing is located just a little east of Pilot Butte and boasts splendid views of the landmark. It’s convenient for watching fireworks when Independence Day rolls around, but also a handy way to remind yourself what you’ve gotta do to earn those tasty Worthy beers.

Craving something simple like their Easy Day Kolsch? It’s light, crisp, and on the low-cal end of the spectrum at 130 calories for a 12 oz serving. Using those stats I gave earlier, our 35-year-old woman could enjoy a leisurely, 40 minute stroll with her dog around the flat little track at the base of Pilot Butte and burn 159 calories. Score! You can even put an olive in that Kolsch if you want.

How many of these can you enjoy after a hike up and down Pilot Butte?

Earn your Easy Day Kolsch with a hike up Pilot Butte.

Eyeing something heftier like Worthy’s Dark Muse Imperial Stout? That bad boy comes in at about 350 calories, so you’ve gotta hoof it to the top of Pilot Butte to earn it. Figure the whole hike takes a bit less than an hour, and half of it is the equivalent of walking up stairs, while the other half is a mellow downhill hike. That should burn around 500 calories, which is more than enough to earn you that Dark Muse and a cozy spot by one of Worthy Brewing’s fire pits.

 

 

Play nine holes of golf for a few cans of Good Life

The golf cart at River's Edge is well-stocked with tasty Bend beer.

The golf cart at River’s Edge is well-stocked with tasty Bend beer.

I’m not a golfer, so I was a little stunned when I learned the number of calories you burn whacking a ball around the course. A golf-fanatic pal told me it takes an average of two hours to play nine holes, and when I used our handy online calculator and selected the option to carry your own clubs, it showed me a whopping 916 calories. This article confirms what our little calorie counter says, so we’re going with it!

Another good way to enjoy Sweet As Pacific Ale from GoodLife Brewing.

Another good way to enjoy Sweet As Pacific Ale from GoodLife Brewing.

There are more than two dozen golf courses around Central Oregon, and most of them boast drink carts stocked with tasty Bend craft beer. On a hot day, few things taste better than a cold can of Sweet As Pacific Ale from GoodLife Brewing, and the drink cart at River’s Edge Golf Course has plenty to go around (along with brews from other favorites like Deschutes and 10 Barrel).

But let’s focus on the Sweet As, since its mild flavor and Pacific hops make this the perfect easy sipper for a warm day in Bend. A 12 ounce can of Sweet As has 183 calories, which means you could have three or four of these and still reap some calorie-burning benefit from your golf game (though your golf game may not benefit from that much beer).

If you do opt to guzzle several cans, be sure you line up a sober driver or a cab, OK?

 

Earn your Deschutes beer with an afternoon of paddling or skiing

When summer rolls around, I start itching to hop on my standup paddleboard and hit the Deschutes River. One of my favorite post-paddle treats is River Ale from Deschutes Brewery. At 140 calories for a 12 ounce serving, I only need to paddle for 20 minutes to kill 159 calories. Since I usually go for an hour in an afternoon of SUPing on the Deschutes River, I can have two beers or nibble a couple hot wings at their Bend brew pub.

Photo courtesy of Deschutes Brewery (folks who know how to make beer that's worth working for in Bend!)

Photo courtesy of Deschutes Brewery (folks who know how to make beer that’s worth working for in Bend!)

If it happens to be wintertime when your craving for Deschutes beer hits, you’ll probably want something a little heartier to drink. My personal fave is The Abyss Imperial Stout, with its deep, dark body and complex notes of molasses and licorice. A beer this big packs a whopping 344.53 calories for 12 ounces, or 632.5 calories if you guzzle the whole 22-ounce bottle (an endeavor you’d want to undertake verrrry slooowly). Luckily, an hour of skiing at Mt. Bachelor burns about 657 calories, so earning your Abyss bliss won’t be tough.

 

 

Bike for your 10 Barrel brew

Mountain biking is a terrific way to justify those extra calories from your Apocalypse IPA.

Mountain biking is a terrific way to justify those extra calories from your Apocalypse IPA.

The great thing about Bend is that you can mountain bike all year long, even when snow is flying in the mountains.

You can also enjoy 10 Barrel’s flagship brew, Apocalypse IPA, all year long. Coincidence? I think not.

One hour of mountain biking on Phil’s Trail in Bend should burn about 637 calories for our aforementioned average female. The hoppy, complex, super-drinkable Apocalypse has roughly 195 calories for a 12-ounce serving, so you can swig a couple of them and still reap some calorie burning benefit from your singletrack adventure. You’re welcome.

Now who’s ready for swimsuit season?

 

9 reasons to do the Bend Ale Trail in November

October 30th, 2014

There’s pretty much no bad time of year to journey to Bend and trek the most famous trail of suds in the West. You can drink doppelbocks in December, sip sours in September, and acquire ambers in April.

While it’s true you can hit the Bend Ale Trail any day of the year gathering passport stamps to earn prizes, did you know there’s one month that rises above them all?

Behold, the trophy you'll get for bringing a newly-completed passport to the Bend Visitor Center during Bend Ale Trail month.

Behold, the trophy you’ll get for bringing a newly-completed passport to the Bend Visitor Center during Bend Ale Trail month.

November is Bend Ale Trail month, so in honor of this illustrious holiday, here are nine reasons to hit the Bend Ale Trail in November.

 

Trophies

That’s right, my friends. We have trophies. Anyone who brings a newly completed Bend Ale Trail passport to the Bend Visitor Center during the month of November will earn an official Bend Ale Trail trophy.

That’s in addition to the regular Silipint you get for racking up 10 stamps and the bottle opener you get on top of that for hitting all 14. Wouldn’t that bad boy look fabulous on your mantle?

 

Seasonal suds

While it’s true Bend’s breweries release special seasonal brews at all times of the year, there’s something about the fall that seems to bring out the extra-special offerings.

Bend Brewing Company is a great place to find unique seasonal beers this time of year.

Bend Brewing Company is a great place to find unique seasonal beers this time of year.

I was at Bend Brewing Company a few days ago and stumbled upon a brand new Berliner Weisse that seriously left me swooning. That’s a German sour, in case you’re wondering, and the name—Volkssekt—translates to “the people’s champagne.” See? You’re getting lessons in language and culture in addition to great beer. BBC plans to have that on tap throughout November, plus several other seasonals like a nitro tap of Pollen Oats (an imperial honey oatmeal) and a black IPA.

Another of my favorite stops this time of year is Crux Fermentation Project. Their Crystal Zwickle (a fresh hop Belgian pale ale) will be on tap for as long as it lasts, which may not be long based on how fabulously popular it is. Hurry up and get yours while you can!

 

Try something new

I have a confession: While I’ve made the rounds on the Bend Ale Trail multiple times, I haven’t done my job in staying current on the new additions. I have failed to make it to Rat Hole Brewing since they were added to the program in May 2014, and I feel a great sense of shame for that.

Rumor has it Rat Hole Brewing has killer food (especially prime rib).

Rumor has it Rat Hole Brewing has killer food (especially prime rib).

But see, here’s my chance to make it right! Having the impetus of visiting 10-14 breweries in a short span of time means we’re all pretty likely to try someplace we’ve never been before. Download the free smartphone app for the Bend Ale Trail, and figure out which new breweries you need to visit this time around.

 

Stay for cheap

Let’s get off the subject of beer for a second and talk about lodging. Look, I get it—you want to save your cash for important things like an extra order of Cajun tots at McMenamins or the risotto fritters at Brew Werks. I don’t blame you.

Oodles of Bend lodging properties (like Mount Bachelor Village, shown here) offer special Bend Ale Trail packages.

Oodles of Bend lodging properties (like Mount Bachelor Village, shown here) offer special Bend Ale Trail packages.

Here’s a little secret about lodging deals in Bend—November is one of our slowest months for tourism. That means hotels, motels, and vacation rentals in Bend are all eager for your business. Like, really eager. If you’re looking for discounts, now’s the time to find them. Check Visit Bend’s Hot Deals page for the latest offerings, and book your beer vacation today!

 

Trophies

I’m not sure I mentioned this yet, but did you know you earn a trophy if you stop by the Bend Visitor Center with a newly completed Bend Ale Trail passport in the month of November? You would be the envy of all your friends with this piece of hardware in the middle of your dining room table.

 

Fire pits

There’s always something cozy about snuggling up beside a roaring fire with a pint of craft beer, but it’s especially perfect in November when those hearty malts and porters work in tandem with the flames to take the chill from the air.

The modern-looking fire pit at Riverbend Brewing is always going strong.

The modern-looking fire pit at Riverbend Brewing is always going strong.

10 Barrel has one of the most popular fire pits along the Bend Ale Trail, and their patio is a hoppin’ place to mix and mingle. The fire pits at McMenamins are a little more intimate, and there are several to choose from scattered around their property.

Worthy Brewing is another great place to sip suds by the fire.

Worthy Brewing is another great place to sip suds by the fire.

Crux Fermentation Project offers another popular fireside spot with their unique glowing orb. Worthy Brewing in northeast Bend has several cozy fire pits to pick from on their expansive patio. You can also hit Goodlife Brewing to toast your toes by a roaring fire. There’s even a cool modern-looking one at Riverside Brewing, and you’ll dig the ski lodge vibe if you nab a spot by the indoor fireplace at Cascade Lakes.

 

Score some awesome schwag

I already told you about the trophies, right? Okay, besides that, you’ll have chances to win tons of other amazing beer schwag throughout the month of November.

Just a small sampling of the brewery schwag you'll have a chance to win by using hashtag #bendaletrail during Bend Ale Trail month.

Just a small sampling of the brewery schwag you’ll have a chance to win by using hashtag #bendaletrail during Bend Ale Trail month.

Seriously, you should see our marketing director’s floor right now. It’s covered with t-shirts, hats, pint glasses, stickers, brewery gift certificates, and more. Enter to win by using hashtag #bendaletrail on Facebook or Instagram while you’re out there posting pics of yourself swilling brews in Bend.

But the best prize of all is the one we’ll be giving away to one random beer drinker who brings his or her completed passport to the Bend Visitor Center in November. Everyone will be entered in a drawing to win a vacation package for Bend Brewfest 2015, which will include lodging, a tasting package, and activities. How’s that for a beerventure?

 

Have the place to yourself

You know that thing I mentioned earlier about November being one of Bend’s slowest months for tourism? Think about what that means for you. No fighting to get a spot on one of the popular Deschutes Brewery tours. No waiting for your favorite table before the band takes the stage at Silver Moon. No long lines for growler fills at Boneyard Brewing. Seeing the appeal now?

 

Trophies

Have I mentioned the trophies yet?

Did we mention the trophy?

How about that trophy?

10 fun things to do this 2013 Memorial Day Weekend in Bend

May 23rd, 2013

Bend is a pretty spectacular place to be any time of year, but there’s something extra-special about Memorial Day Weekend. Maybe it’s that we’re all shifting our gazes to summer, or perhaps it’s the energy from all the out-of-towners flocking here for a long weekend.

Or maybe it’s just that there’s so freakin’ much to do. Here are 10 awesome happenings lined up for you between May 24-27:

Concerts at the Les Schwab Amphitheater with Cake (May 25) and Sigur Ros (May 26)

Picture yourself here watching Cake and Sigur Ros. Nice picture, huh?

Picture yourself here watching Cake and Sigur Ros. Nice picture, huh?

Bend’s Memorial Weekend concert lineup is always impressive, and this year is no exception. American alternative rock band Cake will perform Saturday, May 25, with Boise-based indie band Built to Spill opening the show. On Sunday evening, Icelandic indie band Sigur Rós takes the stage with their ethereal sound and quirky use of bowed guitar. Both shows start at 6:30 p.m., and gates open at 5 p.m. Since it’s been a bit soggy in Bend this week, I recommend bringing a low-backed sand chair to keep your backside off the wet grass. For ticket info on either show, go here.

Catch the end of Central Oregon Beer week (May 20-27)

Sip 'til your heart's content during Central Oregon Beer Week.

Cheers to Central Oregon Beer Week.

While locals are winding down at the end of a long week celebrating Bend’s craft beer culture, visitors can swoop in and enjoy the final days of Central Oregon Beer Week. The 2013 event runs May 20-27, so guests in town for the holiday can still enjoy plenty of beer-related festivities. You’ll find a complete calendar here, including fun stuff like growler fill specials, a “hangover breakfast,” beer education, a bottle release party at Crux, beer-themed canoe outings with Wanderlust Tours, and even beer week specials at Anjou Spa. Bottoms up!

Hit the wine trail at Maragas and Faith, Hope, and Charity

Had your fill of beer this week? No problem! Central Oregon’s wineries are offering something special for Memorial Weekend as well. On Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Maragas Winery will host a family-friendly celebration. Kids can roll in the grass while parents sip the vineyard’s new Pinot Noir from a commemorative glass. They’ll  have food, music, bocce ball, and complimentary wine tasting. Admission is $10, and kids get in free. You can buy food there or bring your own picnic, but no outside beverages. Just a few miles away at Faith, Hope, and Charity, they’re hosting festivities of their own both Saturday and Sunday. From noon to 5 p.m., the first 100 guests get a logo wine growler with their $10 admission/tasting fee. Fill it up with peach sangria, and enjoy the mountain views as you groove to live music.

Go hiking with Deschutes Land Trust

It's a lovely time of year to visit Whychus Creek (even if you can't pronounce it).

It’s a lovely time of year to visit the Whychus Canyon area (even if you can’t pronounce it).

Looking to do a little hiking this weekend, but don’t feel like setting out on your own? Sign up for a free guided outing with the folks from Deschutes Land Trust. They have several hikes scheduled this weekend, ranging from a wildflower walk in Whychus Canyon Preserve to a bird walk at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. Most of the hikes are mellow and easy, perfect for those looking for a hassle-free outing with a knowledgeable guide. Spots fill fast and are totally free, so make your reservation today.

Catch a ballgame at the Bend Elks Youth Baseball Tournament (May 25-27)

Since 2005, the Bend Elks (our local baseball team) have hosted one of the northwest’s biggest youth baseball tournaments. Even if you’re not the world’s greatest fan of the sport, it’s hard not to be impressed by the backdrop of the Cascade Mountains and the sheer volume of high school athletes journeying here to play their young hearts out. If you’re just showing up to watch, you’ll be happy to know there’s no gate fee. Catch a game or two, eat a hot dog, and feel happy knowing proceeds from team entry fees help support youth baseball in Bend. You can find details and game schedules here.

Hit the grand re-opening of Petersen Rock Garden (May 27)

Frolicking in the sunshine at Petersen Rock Garden.

Frolicking in the sunshine at Petersen Rock Garden.

This folk-art tourist attraction just north of Bend has been a Central Oregon landmark since the 1940s. Petersen Rock Garden has been closed for several months for renovations, but this weekend marks the grand re-opening of this oddball collection of rock creations, museum, and gift shop. Gates open at 10 a.m. and you’re free to wander the grounds ‘til dark. Admission is on the honor system, but they recommend a $3 donation. This is a great place to let the kids run around burning off some energy, and the peacocks strutting the grounds are always my favorite part. To find it, head north on Hwy 97 toward Redmond. Hang a left on SW 61st, left on Young Avenue, cross Canal Blvd, then quickly turn right on SW 77th. Petersen Rock Garden is less than a mile on the right.

Happy Girl Half-Marathon, 10k, 5k, and Happy Little Kids’ Run (May 25-26)

Grab your girlfriends and get running! The scenic route starts along the Deschutes River, and includes a mix of gentle trails and paved surfaces. Women will be spoiled with a great goody bag and a fun pre-race expo, plus on-course support (including handsome pacers). Finishers get a cool custom necklace instead of a medal. The expo is Saturday, and the run is Sunday, and you won’t want to miss either. For details and registration, visit the event website.

Opening day for the Saturday Market (May 25-26)

It's opening weekend for the Central Oregon Saturday Market, so you get a bonus day!

It’s opening weekend for the Central Oregon Saturday Market, so you get a bonus day!

Kick off the 2013 season of the Central Oregon Saturday Market across the street from the Deschutes Public Library. Browse handcrafted jewelry, artwork, clothing, household goods, and more. Normally, this is a Saturday-only event (as you might’ve guessed from the name) but for Memorial Weekend they’re open both Saturday and Sunday. This is always a great spot to grab gifts to take home to friends and family, so bring an extra shopping bag.

Finale weekend at Mt. Bachelor (May 25-26)

I’m not even a skier, and I’m heading up to Mt. Bachelor for their final weekend of the season. This is the place to be if you’re looking to kiss winter goodbye with the ultimate panache. Check out the North American Pond Skimming Championship on Sunday, or enjoy live music and a cold one (or eight) at the annual Brewski celebration of Bend’s craft beer. There’s still plenty of snow for skiing and boarding, so this is your chance to carve a few final turns this season.

Grab your road bike for Bend Don’t Break (May 25) or giddyup on your mountain bike in the Sisters Stampede (May 26)

Only at the Sisters Stampede do horses and mountain bikes ride side by side.

Only at the Sisters Stampede do horses and mountain bikes ride side by side.

Road cyclists rejoice on Saturday in the fast and furious Bend Don’t Break circuit course bike race. A beginner’s clinic that morning gives newbies a chance to prepare, or race hard in the more elite categories. The race is part of the 2013 Oregon Women’s Prestige Series, though there are plenty of men’s categories as well. On Sunday, head west to Sisters with your mountain bike strapped to your car, and get ready for the Sisters Stampede. This uniquely-Sisters event lets you race your bike on the beautiful Peterson Ridge Trail in Sisters. Now in its fourth year, this is Oregon’s largest cross country mountain bike race, with 32 different race categories, and a party at the finish line. Each racer gets a goody bag filled with cool schwag, and there’s $1000 in cash prizes up for grabs for the top three men and women in the Pro or Cat 1 categories. For event details and registration, go here.

Believe it or not, that’s only a sampling of events happening in and around Bend this weekend. For a complete list, check out the Visit Bend Event Calendar. You can search for cool happenings this weekend or any other weekend you plan to Visit Bend.

 

See you out there!

Six tips for making the most of your Bend Ale Trail experience

March 22nd, 2013
BAToutingShelbyCraigMe

The most recent Bend Ale Trail trek for blogger Tawna Fenske (back) and pals Shelby King & Craig Zagurski, shown here at Silver Moon (stop #7).

When people ask what my job entails, my lengthy explanation includes the phrase, “I take journalists out on the Bend Ale Trail to drink beer.”

This is met with the vaguely jealous pronouncement that I have the best job in the world, which is true. I haven’t counted the number of times I’ve made the rounds to all nine Bend Ale Trail breweries (plus the extra-credit brewery in Sisters, plus a smattering of other Bend brew pubs where newness or lack of a public tasting room precludes them from being added just yet).

Suffice it to say, I’ve visited my fair share of Bend beerhouses, so I’ve learned a few things along the way. Allow me to share.

Yes, you can do the whole Bend Ale Trail in a day

I’ve done it more than once, so I know it’ll get harder in a few months when we add the two newest breweries, Crux Fermentation Project and Worthy Brewing.

But for now, you’re looking at nine Bend breweries and an extra-credit one in Sisters. You still earn your Silipint prize if you skip the extra-credit stop, which is smart if your goal is to do it all in a matter of hours.

Bend-Ale-Trail-Map-Bend-Oregon2

Click to see a nice, big interactive version of the map.

Your best approach is to study the map beforehand online, in your printed Bend Ale Trail Atlas (available at all participating breweries and the Bend Visitor Center downtown) or in your free app for Droid or iPhone. Notice how many of the breweries are located downtown? A good strategy is to start with the breweries outside that zone, hitting Cascade Lakes, GoodLife, Brew Werks, and possibly 10 Barrel before parking in a central downtown location and walking to the rest of your stops on foot. If you’re using this strategy, make sure you’ve got a sober driver, or that he/she opts for only small samples at those first few breweries.

It is actually possible to hit all the stops on foot, particularly if the weather’s nice (though I once walked the whole thing in an afternoon during a blizzard). If this is your strategy, the opposite routing works well, too. Begin downtown, then start making your way toward the outliers, opting to have a cab take you home from your final stop at Cascade Lakes or GoodLife.

If you’re doing the all-in-one day approach, pay special attention to my next few tips.

Keep an eye on the clock

Passport

Tawna Fenske with her latest completed Bend Ale Trail passport.

Be sure you know everyone’s hours of operation before you set out. For instance, the Deschutes Brewery warehouse stops offering tours and tastings at 5 p.m. You can still get your passport stamped at the downtown pub, but the warehouse tour is a pretty cool highlight you really shouldn’t miss. You also want to keep in mind that Boneyard’s tasting room closes at 6 p.m., so plan to hit them a little earlier. 10 Barrel is always packed to the gills, so your best bet there is to avoid lunch hour or dinnertime. Hours at all breweries are subject to change seasonally, so when in doubt, call first.

When it’s time to turn in your passport and collect your prize, remember the Bend Visitor Center on the corner of Lava and Oregon downtown is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We’re closed Sundays until our summer hours kick in Memorial Day weekend.

Be smart with your beer intake

Eat a hearty meal before you set out. Bring your own water bottle or ask for glasses of water at brewery stops so you stay well-hydrated. Order food at pubs throughout your journey so you always have something in your belly. Opt for smaller schooners instead of full pints, or stick with a little sample every now and then instead of glugging whole beers. Above all, be responsible. Which leads to the next topic.

Don’t even THINK of drinking and driving

fron view of cowboy carriage in front of cascade lakes brewery

Cowboy Carriage – one of many fun ways to trek the trail without drinking and driving.

There are tons of great ways to ensure everyone stays safe and out of jail. I’ve had a blast doing nearly every single item on the following list:

Seriously, guys. I once had to bail a pal out of jail after he failed to do this. He was lucky, as were the other people in his path that night who could have been injured or killed if things had gone differently. You DO NOT want to mess around with this one.

Don’t assume you know everything

Because I’ve done the Bend Ale Trail so many times, it’s easy for me to get cocky thinking I know everything. Then I’m forced to beat my head on the bar repeatedly, because DUH.

On my most recent Bend Ale Trail outing, I admitted to accompanying pals that a particular brewery’s beer didn’t really roll my socks up on previous visits. We planned to stop quickly for just a small sample, but ended up staying when we realized their beer was truly phenomenal. I don’t know whether to attribute it to the brewery tweaking its recipes, or my own misguided taste buds, but I’ve already made plans to return again soon.

Conversely, a brewery with a beer I previously adored gave me only a “meh” experience on this round. Generally speaking, it’s smart to keep an open mind. You can pour in more beer that way.

Scope out food specials and tap lists beforehand

The risotto cakes stuffed with goat cheese and served with pesto cream & balsamic reduction....totally worth maiming someone for.

The risotto cakes stuffed with goat cheese and served with pesto cream & balsamic reduction at Old Mill Brew Wërks.

Call me a neurotic planner, but I love checking before I set out so I know who’s got seasonal specials and don’t-miss food deals. I’m a huge fan of the food at Old Mill Brew Wërks, so I always make sure I hit them around mealtimes or happy hour for the best deal on their to-die-for risotto cakes stuffed with goat cheese and served with pesto cream & balsamic reduction.

When I learned Bend Brewing Company still had a few 22oz bottles left of their seasonal Ching-Ching, I nabbed two bottles—one to take home, and one to enjoy with my scrumptious order of fried zucchini. Knowing McMenamins Old St. Francis has a late-night happy hour starting at 10 p.m. makes it a great last-stop for $3.50 pints and $2.50 Cajun tots. Don’t be afraid to study your map carefully or call around beforehand asking about specials.

Above all, have fun out there as you explore our beloved beervana. See you on the trail!

Save the date!

Bend has oodles of beer festivals on the horizon, so if you’re a brew fan, make sure you mark your calendar for these dates:

Win a VIP pass to the party of the year!
Deschutes Brewery Warehouse Party October 27 celebrates the best of the Halloween Cross Crusade

October 24th, 2012

I am not cool.

I go to bed early, I don’t attend fab parties, and I can’t put on makeup without stabbing myself in the eye.

But there are times I sincerely want to be cool, like when Deschutes Brewery hosts one of their legendary warehouse parties. There’s one coming up this Saturday, October 27 from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Since every cool person I know has told me how great it will be, I’ve pledged to attend.

Get ready to rock (and to trot out your most creative costume ideas!) at the Deschutes Brewery warehouse party.

Problem is, I need coolness lessons. For that, I consulted Visit Bend’s Director of Marketing, Lynnette Braillard. She’s attended a whopping fourDeschutes Brewery warehouse parties over the years, so I’m relying on her expertise for everything I need to know to have a great time this Saturday night.

Tawna: So the Deschutes Brewery Warehouse party is held to celebrate National Plush Animal Lover’s Day, right?

Lynnette: First of all, National Plush Animal Lover’s Day is October 28. The Deschutes Brewery Warehouse Party is October 27, and it’s in celebration of the annual Halloween Cross Crusade and Cyclocross Festival October 26-28.

Tawna: That’s right, I was planning to watch some of the events like the Clydesdale Cyclocross Championship of the Universe and the Kiddie Cross Race.

Lynnette: Details about those events are on our website, but we’re talking about the party here. Focus.

Tawna: Right, sorry. So what do I need to know to be cool?

Lynnette: What do you need to know, or what does the average blog reader need to know?

Tawna: Let’s say average blog reader. We need to keep this short.

Lynnette: The theme for this year’s party is Cyclo De Soleil. It’s a vintage carnival and adult circus with live music and shows from the Bend Circus Center and several other local performance troupes.

Tawna: What kind of performances?

Fun times and big crowds at the Deschutes Brewery warehouse party!

Lynnette: Belly dancing, acrobatics, a fire performance, and even an aerial show. And the music is going to be incredible. They’re bringing in The Klown Korps and DJ Delachaux from San Francisco. Delachaux is known for his big-beat-burlectro-swing style of pouring vintage samples and exotic orchestrations over a barrage of saucy beats. They’re calling it, “a fused wild carousel of voluptuous voodoo and body-quaking bass.”

Tawna: Wild carousel? Voluptuous voodoo? Body-quaking? I’m not sure I’m ready for this. Is there anything I should do to prepare myself?

Lynnette: Put some serious thought into your costume because this is a raging Halloween party! Drink plenty of water because you’ll be pounding lots of tasty Deschutes beer all night (bring cash). If you plan to watch the Clydesdale Championship of the Universe race (don’t miss it—it’s hilarious to watch with plenty of crashes and crazy costumes) get your hand stamped so you can get re-entry into the party guaranteed until 9:30 p.m. This is the biggest party you’ll ever encounter in Bend (and the funnest!) so arrive early to get in before they max out on capacity—you may be standing in line to wait for others to leave and let me tell you, nobody ever likes to leave.

Tawna: Got it, I’m taking notes here. Where do I get tickets?

Lynnette: You pay at the door the night of the event. It’s $10 a person, and proceeds support the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance.

Tawna: Wow, $10 is a good deal.

Lynnette:  No kidding. That gets you carnival and beer-inspired appetizers, a keepsake photo, and bragging rights for attending the party of the year.

Tawna: Will you put my makeup on for me?

Lynnette: As long as you promise to leave the plush animals at home.

Tawna: Deal.

***

Want to win one free VIP pass to the Deschutes Warehouse Party? Leave us a comment describing your planned costume. We’ll pick a winner the morning of Friday, October 26, and he or she will be able to pick up a VIP wristband at the Bend Visitor Center before 5 p.m. Friday or between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday. Good luck!

 

Everything you need to know about Cyclepub in Bend (courtesy of a world record holding rider)

August 17th, 2012

My Cyclepub date that wasn’t really a date . . . er, until it was.

On April 1, 2011, I headed out on one of Cyclepub’s first outings around Bend. I invited a casual acquaintance to join me for what was supposed to be a fun, perfectly platonic evening of peddling and drinking beer on Bend’s cool new bike-bar hybrid.

It was a fun evening, though not as platonic as expected. I’ve been happily dating the aforementioned acquaintance ever since, which is why I feel a bit sentimental whenever I see Cyclepub peddling around with a crew of giddy beer drinkers.

My own Cyclepub experience pales in comparison to that of Kevney Dugan, Visit Bend’s Director of Sales and Sports Development. Kevney holds the world record for the most rides on Cyclepub (a distinction we bestowed upon him in the spirit of Olympic competition).

Kevney and his pals heading out with Cyclepub.

Kevney has ridden with Cyclepub a total of 11 times, beginning just after it launched the spring of 2011, and venturing out most recently this past Monday. Since he’s a veritable font of great tips on Cyclepub outings, I tied him up and forced him to talk  he kindly offered to share some of what he’s learned in all his months of sipping and cycling.

Kevney with his Cyclepub t-shirt and Bend Ale Trail Silipint.

It’s cheaper than you think…

The cost for a two-hour Cyclepubtour with a driver is $300. Sounds a little steep, right? But not the way Kevney and his pals do it. The standard Cyclepub holds 14 riders, and if each person chips in, that’s a little over $21 a person. Not too shabby. And since you’re providing your own beer, the cost is similar to what you’d pay to belly-up to a non-mobile bar and order pints all evening.

But it’s way more fun than a standard pub crawl…

Many of Kevney’s outings have been for birthday parties, going away parties, welcome back parties, and Groundhog Day parties. The way he figures it, Cyclepubbing around the Bend Ale Trail represents the consummate Bend experience, combining bikes, beer, and good times with friends. All tours depart from GoodLife Brewing Company, but riders get to choose where to pedal after that. On a recent outing, Kevney and his friends customized their route to hit Boneyard Brewing and Crux Fermentation Project. One hilly section had the group peddling a little harder than normal, but it was worth it for the chance to see some breweries many members of the party hadn’t visited yet.

About that peddling…how hard is it?

My experience as a short chick who seldom bikes is probably different than 6’1” Kevney who cycles in his sleep, but we both agree that any group of Cyclepubbers will have one or two riders jonesing to pedal hard and turn the whole thing into a competition. You’re best to put those folks up front within the first couple seats on either side of the bar. They’re the ones who’ll do a lot of the heavy peddling, but be sure to choose your friends wisely. You don’t want two buff guys and 12 couch potatoes who plan to pull their feet off the pedals and swill beer while the others do the work.

Kevney with his wife, Erin, and their newborn daughter, Teagan, beside Cyclepub.

Beer? You said beer?

It wouldn’t be Cyclepub without the beer. Cyclepub riders provide their own drinks, and you’ll need to make sure it’s either canned or in the form of growlers. Either way, choose a bartender beforehand so he or she can keep everyone’s plastic cups filled the whole time. And speaking of growlers, don’t bother getting yours filled before you set out. Instead, bring along a few empty ones so you can fill them at brewery stops along the way. Don’t forget the ice, either—three bags is the perfect amount, and Cyclepub has a big cooler on board to hold everything.

But don’t get cocky with that cooler…

Ever tried to rub your tummy and pat your head? It’s kinda like that when it comes to peddling, drinking beer, and eating food. Don’t go crazy preparing a big array of complicated snacks. Think pretzels and cheese doodles, not bruschetta and lasagna. If you can get your hands on wide-bottomed bowls for snacks—preferably wood or with some sort of rubber bottom—that’s ideal for not sliding off the bar. Don’t forget to pack water or something else to drink when you tire of beer (I know—I didn’t think it was possible either).

Don’t just have fun—look like you’re having fun!

 

It’s not tough to look like you’re having a great time on Cyclepub!

Cyclepub attracts attention wherever it goes, and pedestrians and motorists are always curious. The more you whoop it up and have the time of your life, the more likely you are to encounter patient drivers and friendly locals who just want to watch you having a ball. One thing that helps is bringing along an iPod with a premade playlist of upbeat tunes. Oh, and keep in mind that no bystanders are allowed to jump on board, no matter how much they might plead.

So there you have it—top Cyclepub tips from world record holder Kevney Dugan. Want to book your own Cyclepub adventure? Visit Cyclepub online for pricing, availability, reservations, FAQs, and more.

Happy peddling!


Vist Bend's Blog
Vist Bend's Video Library
Vist Bend's Photo Galleries