It’s Beer Thirty In Oregon
I got my first got my taste of Oregon’s craft mastery when I moved to Bend in 2002. My insecure mess of a boyfriend had packed up and run home to Vermont without breaking up with me or even saying goodbye. I could use a stiff drink, hundreds of miles from the scene of the crime.
So there I was, getting up at 5 a.m. for a morning radio show gig, working until noon, napping then going out to check out the town and the legendary Beer in Oregon. There were half the breweries that exist there now but even back then I knew I was basking in hops heaven.
Oregon takes its beer business seriously. And we’re talking “real” beer not the 3.2 stuff of Utah legend. This summer, I went back auspiciously to rock climb but perhaps it was to taste that trophy of taps. I returned to Bend with a much different life; it wasn’t a move but a visit, not single but with a stalwart partner of 14 years and our spunky, 10-year old.
Nothing tastes better after a long day on the rock than a crisp, cold brew. The front desk clerk at our motel made sure we knew that as he slapped a map to the Bend Ale Trail into my hands. Bend has more breweries per-capita than any other city in Oregon. Like Salt Lake City, Bend has often been deemed Beer Town USA but we’re talking a little town of less than 90k people. SLC is more like 2 million. The Ale Trail takes you around to 16 breweries- including my faves for drink and food, Sunriver and 10Barrel. If you are planning a ski trip to Mt Bachelor, make apres at these stops a priority.
Beer in Oregon Includes Mt Hood
Mt Hood, another resortish town in Oregon, is doing the brewmap thing as well. Makes sense when the next best thing to drinking beer after climbing is drinking beer after skiing. To make sure that happens, the Portland neighbor has a brand new Mt. Hood Territory Tap Trail mobile passport.
The free year-long passport showcases some of the newest breweries in Mt. Hood Territory, as well as some perennial favorites, with discounts at participating businesses.
Sample Coin Toss Brewing‘s Heritage Beer Series in Oregon City. Then head across the road to where Shattered Oak Brewing and Batch 1 Brewing share a space called “The Hive Taphouse.” There, you can try meads, ciders and German-inspired brews. And Bent Shovel’s forested barn-house brewery is a hidden gem near the Clackamas River. Science geeks won’t want to miss Bunsenbrewer in Sandy, the gateway to Mt. Hood. Founded by a biochemist, this brewpub features a playful tasting room with lab tables and stools, a Sound Lab fully-equipped with instruments and plenty of video games.
Redeem a discount at 10 of the 13 participating businesses within a year and earn a Mt. Hood Territory Tap Trail stainless steel pint glass by stopping into the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City.
It took 15 years for me to hit the Oregon Trail for better beer with better company but you don’t have to wait that long. I hear ski season has already begun in the Pacific Northwest. Get thy toast on pronto!