Craft Beer Tour 2018: Bend, Oregon

These photos were taken primarily in Bend, Oregon on Saturday and Sunday, September 29 and 30, days 13 and 14 of my Craft Beer Tour 2018. I say primarily because the first set of photos was taken Thursday, in La Grande, Oregon when I was on my way to Yakima.

When I left Boise I had a few breweries in the back of my head as I had received suggestions from friends and Boise locals that named breweries I had to visit. As I did not really know which ones I would really be driving by, I pretty much just looked out for the names of towns that had been mentioned. As I entered La Grande, Oregon I noticed a sign on the side of the road for a craft brewery; I could not tell what the name was, but I figured this must be one of those that had been suggested to me.

As I pulled up to the front of the brick building, I still was not sure what the name of the place was. Their logo is bright red, and it looks like a flame; but upon closer inspection, I guess it looks like an A also. The sticker on the door informed me the name was in fact, Side A Brewing; my first Oregon brewery.

Side A occupies the old La Grande firehouse, and apparently Side A is a term used by firefighters labeling the multiple sides of a building starting with side A being the front of the structure and working its way around the outside of the structure in a clockwise direction. At least that was the best explanation for the name that I heard.

Side A Brewing is a brewpub that is a little over a year old. They have a nice outdoor beer garden that is dog friendly, so Buddy and I pulled up a table and I ordered a flight. The brewery may be new, but the beers made it pretty clear there was some experience behind them. My flight consisted of their Apricot Berliner Weiss, Copper & Gold Pale Ale, The Fifth Horseman Black Lager, Release Brut IPA, and Oregon Fog Hazy IPA. All the beers were solid, with The Fifth Horseman and Release Brut IPA being my favorites.

As their food menu seemed to indicate that just about everything on it was locally sourced and I had not eaten yet, I did something I haven’t done in decades; I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich! I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but I am not a fan of grilled cheese and this sandwich was delicious. It paired well with my flight as well.

Side A Brewing is located at 1219 Washington Avenue in La Grande. They are open seven days a week, and fill growlers to go.

After a couple days in Yakima, I headed south to Bend, Oregon where I would be meeting up with my friend Jonathan Urch, Sales Director Central West and Pacific Northwest for Diageo Beer Company, Consultant for Guinness, and beer writer that recently relocated to Bend and seems to spend his spare time espousing all that is good about the Bend craft beer scene.

I arrived in Bend at mid-afternoon and headed to the part of town that Jon suggested would have the most motels while not being too far away from the action. After finding a home for the weekend, Buddy and I started walking towards the downtown area where we would meet Jon and his family.

Luckily, Bend is not very big and Buddy and I are accustomed to walking a lot, so when Jon and his wife wanted to do some quick shopping, Buddy and I decided to walk down the street to Deschutes Brewery, Bend Public House, for a quick flight.

I am not really sure what I can write about Deschutes other than it is a 30 year-old brewpub that seems like every other brewery in Bend had some ties to, like their brewer probably used to work at Deschutes. As it was a Saturday afternoon, the place was packed. As I was solo, I had to stick close to the dog friendly patio, but it looked like Deschutes brews on-site.

I ordered a flight consisting of Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Rainbow Reign Brut IPA, Chasin’ Freshies IPA, Fresh Hop Amarillo IPA, Black Butte Porter, and Fresh Hop Santiam Lager. They were all as good as one would expect.

Deschutes Brewery, Bend Public House is located at 1044 NW Bond Street in Bend; they are open seven days a week and offer growlers, crowlers, bottles and cans to go.

Before I had finished my flight, Jon called and said they were done shopping so I drank up and walked deeper into Bend to meet up. As we walked around Mirror Pond the weather started looking like it was going to get wet, so Jon’s wife and daughter headed back to the car while Jon and I walked over to Crux Fermentation Project.

Crux is one of those breweries that you have to plan on going to; you are not going to just stumble upon it. In fact, there are “Private Road” and “No Outlet” signs along the way, but if you venture on it will be well worth it.

It was a grey and rainy afternoon, and there was construction going on, but that did not seem to bother anyone there; the place was packed.

Crux opened in 2012 and is a brewpub, although I do not recall seeing any food. Apparently it is “bar food” like pretzels, cheeses, and sandwiches; we were not there for food though. They boast 20 taps of their fresh beer and four taps from their barrel-aged [Banished] series. As I was not really sure what our plans were going to be, I didn’t bother rushing through a flight, instead settling for a full pour of their Half Hitch Imperial IPA. I had no regrets.

Crux Fermentation Project is located at 50 SW Division Street in Bend and is open seven days a week, although their hours fluctuate depending on the season. Crux has a dog friendly patio and offers growlers, bottles and cans to go.

Sunday afternoon I headed over to Boneyard Beer Pub based on the recommendations of a few different friends.

While several friends suggested I go to Boneyard Beer, I get the feeling that most of them have probably never been to the new Boneyard Beer Pub location as it just opened in July of this year. Previously, Boneyard Beer had a tasting room at the brewery itself, but with the opening of the Pub, the tasting room has been closed.

On the day of my visit, Boneyard Beer Pub had 18 of their beers on tap, as well as a full bar and restaurant. While I did not eat, the food menu consisted of such items as chorizo, grinders, curry, soup, and salads.

After taking a look around, I settled in for a flight consisting of their PABO Pils, Diablo Rojo Red Ale, Incredible Pulp Pale Ale, Bone-a-Fide Pale Ale, and Hop Venom IIPA. Since they also had an Ales for ALS IPA, I was pretty much obligated to get a pour of that as well. The two pale ales and Hop Venom were my favorites by a long shot.

Boneyard Beer Pub is located at 1955 NE Division Street in Bend, and they are open seven days a week. The pub is broken into two areas, the beer section and the full bar. Children are allowed in the beer section, but not the cocktail lounge section. They have a dog friendly patio and offer growlers, bottles and cans to go.

My next stop for the day was Silver Moon Brewing, which I had walked past a couple times without noticing because of the way that Greenwood Street is set up in relation to the Bend Parkway. I came to discover that there is parking behind it, but I am not really sure how to get there. I am sure you can find it if you know it is there.

Silver Moon is a brewpub that opened around 2000 with a 10-bbl brewhouse and was sold to new owners in 2013. In 2015 they opened a 30-bbl production facility at a location down the road from the original location that I visited.

When I was there they had about 16 of their beers on tap, with a couple guest ciders available. I chose a flight consisting of their IPA 97, Hollaback Saison, Snake Bite Porter, Maui Wowie Imperial IPA, and Mango Daze Pale Ale. All the beers were solid with Maui Wowie being the one I enjoyed the most; which I suspected would be the case.

Silver Moon Brewing is located at 24 NW Greenwood Avenue in Bend and is open seven days a week. They fill growlers and have cans to go.

By the time I got back to my motel, Jon had contacted me and asked if I wanted to meet him at Sunriver Brewing, which Jon considers “Bend’s Best Brewery” – there was no way I could pass that up.

Sunriver Brewing is a brewpub with two locations in Oregon, the Sunriver Pub which is the production facility in Sunriver and opened in July 2012; and the Galveston Pub, the location we visited, which opened in February 2016.

It was a pretty nice day, so we took advantage of their dog friendly patio where we sat down for a few beers and a plate of some amazing Dirty Lil’ Fries. I made up a flight consisting of their Fuzztail Hefeweizen, Rippin Northwest Ale, Double Dank IIPA, Vicious Mosquito IPA, D’Kine Fresh Hop IPA, and Paddy’s Irish Stout. D’Kine Fresh Hop IPA reinforced that I had picked the perfect time of year to visit the Pacific Northwest, while the other beers made it easy to see why Sunriver Brewing was voted the Small Brewing Company of the Year at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival.

Sunriver Brewing Company, Galveston Pub is located at 1005 NW Galveston Avenue in Bend and they are open seven days a week. As mentioned above, they have a dog friendly patio and they sell growlers and cans to go.

The two days I spent in Bend, I wore a hat from Blackball Brewing; a small batch brewery in Redondo Beach. I have never met the guys from Blackball, but am under the impression that they are pretty much homebrewers out of Redondo Beach that like to give their beer away. I have had plenty of local people ask me about them, but I was quite surprised when, walking down Galveston Avenue, I heard some guy yell out, “I love Blackball Brewing!”

I immediately stopped, looked to the right, and saw what looked like what I have described as a lemonade stand advertising beer for $5.00. I approached the guy that yelled out and asked him how the heck he knew who Blackball Brewing was.

The guy was Matt Molletta, formerly of Crux Fermentation Project, and he had interaction with Blackball when they were both involved with a local beer festival in the South Bay. Today, Molletta and his partner Jacob Bansmer have opened Boss Rambler Beer Club, which is an outdoor beer garden for what is currently known as Aspect Boards & Brews.

From what I gather, Aspect Boards & Brews is closing and Boss Rambler will be taking over the spot. They are essentially right next door to Sunriver Brewing, which is a good thing because that is currently where they are doing most of their brewing.

Boss Rambler has secured some property out of town where they hope to grow hops and open their own brewery. For the time being, they will continue to brew at Sunriver and do collaborations with other local breweries that they are friends with.

Boss Rambler Beer Club is currently located at 1009 NW Galveston Avenue in Bend. It is hard to say, but it seems they are open Wednesday through Sunday. They have growlers and some cans available to go, but they were out of most of their beers when I was there. I would suggest that if you visit Sunriver Brewing, you should walk next door to Boss Rambler and check them out.

I had a great time in Bend, but it was time to head over to Oregon City and see what the other side of Oregon had to offer. Cheers!

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