Part of what makes Bend, Oregon a high desert paradise is the Bend Ale Trail. The largest ale trail in the west is a trifecta of things that I love – ale, a challenge, and a prize! Once I picked up my passport at the visitor center to start collecting stamps there was no going wrong, but there were a few breweries that stood out from the rest. With that said, here are the Trails’ Choice Awards:
Dog-friendly – While seven breweries have dog-friendly patios, Crux Fermentation Project takes the biscuit. Even in the dead of winter, their patio was inviting with a huge area for adventure pups to enjoy while you sip on a frosty brew. The other dog-friendly breweries include: 10 Barrel, Cascade Lakes, Deschutes Brewery, McMenamins, and Three Creeks.
Peak worthy – As soon as I walked into GoodLife Brewing I knew it was my kind of place. Drool-worthy shots of outdoor adventures grace the walls beckoning you to the mountains. And when you venture to the mountains, don’t forget to pack one of their outdoor-inspired beers conveniently canned for travel. Outside magazine even named Sweet As one of the best canned beers of 2013; they preferred it on the beach, but everyone knows I’m a mountain girl.
Rest your head – We stayed at McMenamins’ Old St. Francis our first night in Bend. This converted Catholic school house is a fantastic and quirky one-stop-shop. The room was quaint, the concierge was incredibly helpful, as guests we had the soaking pool to ourselves after it closed to the public, and of course the onsite brewery and pub.
Tip worthy – We stopped at Silver Moon Brewing; our server was welcoming, knowledgable about the beer, and had tips to make the most of New Year’s Eve in Bend. I don’t know how to describe it other than we felt like asking him to pull up a chair and have a brew with us.
Enjoy the view – Sure an industrial area is in the foreground, but look beyond that to a panorama of the Cascade Range from Crux Fermentation Project. A chalkboard is updated daily with the sunset time. Choose the hustle and bustle inside with a view through the glass-paneled garage door or head outside to enjoy your brew and the mountains from the patio area.
See you next time – A visit to Three Creeks Brewing Co. would have been great after a day exploring the mountain west of Sisters, but it just wasn’t in the cards for this trip. Next time I’m thinking day-hike followed by a frosty brew on the dog-friendly patio.