Long journeys and winding roads will often take us to new and exciting places. Even after a great adventure, places that were once familiar can be seen in new lights and with greater perspective. Old friends will change and become new friends again. We too will change in time as that which was once at our surface erodes away and becomes a new sight for all, becoming that, which imagination could only have approached. To this the traveler lives.
1. Boneyard Brewing: To start off any day right (especially when you start a day at noon) start it at a tasting room. Boneyard has pulled together its equipment from no less than 20 different breweries giving them their name. For every hop head in Oregon, this small tasting room at the back of a dead end street is an absolutely must visit. They have a small production facility that you can visit and taste to your hearts’ delight. I highly recommend leaving with at least one growlette full of one of their delicious IPA, double IPA, or triple IPA. If you haven’t yet joined the hopply masses then do at least try a decidedly summer time Girl beer.
2. Deschutes Brewery: To coincide with a day of tasting and travel, venture on to the most historic of Central Oregon beer locations, Deschutes Brewery. Their original site, located in downtown Bend, now pales in size to their production facility. Take a tour (on the hour from 1-4pm) and discover what it means to be the largest beer producer in all of Oregon. This tour takes you on a journey from the rivers, to the farmlands, and takes you through the complete brewing process. You get to see where the ingredients come from and how they are transformed by this now 24 year old brewing company into a beer that has had a significant impact on culture throughout the Northwest.
3. Crux Fermentation Project: There might be a few views of the landscape and scenery in Central Oregon but none as vast as the one from Crux Fermentation Project. The recently opened brewery is lead by none other than renowned former Deschutes brew master, Larry Sidor. The grand opening took place on June 30th 2012. This is the place to be to watch the sunset. With dinner in front of you, a truly NW pale ale, and the mountain range all around you; I defy you to not be a little overwhelmed by it all.
4. Platypus Pub: In this grand beer voyage that you are now on, you might want to relax from your beer tastings and tours and cozy up to a pint with some new friends. To be able to sit and drink and talk with the locals, of any culture, is surely what you will find at the Platypus pub. A basement bar and tap room with a traditional pub atmosphere is what you will find. To add to the environment you will also find a bottle shop and homebrew supply store just upstairs. If you cannot find a pint of your choosing amongst the several locally sourced taps available, then choose a bottle from the hundreds upstairs. This location is a venerable trifecta in beer enthusiasm.
5. Old St. Francis: At the end of a long day of beer tasting and travelling, there could be no better place to stay than the Old St. Francis School owned by McMenamins. This historical location has been transformed into a relaxation mecca. From the on-site brewery, to the soaking pool, to the theater bar; there is something for every tired beer traveler. While McMenamins does have its classic standby beers, do try the specialty drafts made in-house and only for those who venture inside. After a day of traveling through Bend, the classrooms-turned-bedrooms will be your great reward for an adventure well had.
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.