Tapped Out: The Bend Ale Trail
Bend, Oregon is one of our favorite towns from 2013 and one we consider to be almost perfect. They have everything we look for in a city. A vibrant downtown, great farmers markets, an endless array of outdoor activities, lovely campgrounds, great eateries and loads of great beer.
The city is jam packed with craft breweries; 11 of them and growing! They claim to have more breweries per capita than any other city in Oregon and even garnered the title of “Beer Town USA because it ‘s you versus beer in Bend”. Which we absolutely took as a challenge!
The clever marketing people of Bend came up with what has to be our favorite tourist activity yet, The Bend Ale Trail.
You stop into the visitor’s center to pick up a passport or download the app on your smart phone and the drinking commences. With each brewery stop you get a stamp on your passport and once you have visited all 11, you get one of these nifty little sili pints (although its not a real pint, more of a taster).
The part that made this so challenging for us is that we had to make it happen within two days! Even for us, it was a lot of beer tastings!
Now, of course there are other crafty was to get around the Ale Trail. We looked into some of the tour companies who will do the navigating for you…pedicab, Bend Brew Bus, Cowboy Carriage Company or our favorite the Cycle Pub of Bend (a bicycle made for 16 people). Unfortunately, they were all booked solid! (note to self, book ahead on next visit) At first the idea of hoofing it to each brewery seemed daunting…then we quickly realized we needed the break in between!
So, two days and eleven breweries later, it was the only time in our life that we truly felt defeated. We considered hitting up the brewery in Sisters for the additional bonus stamp and prize but we were officially tapped out! We had sipped and savored as much as our taste buds could handle.
I bet you’re wondering if it was worth it and if there were any smack you in the face amazing brews? The answer is yes and yes! When I said it was our favorite tourist activity yet, I wasn’t exaggerating. We got to know a lot about bend, the people and walked our way through most of the town. Of course there was one stand out brewery that had us wishing they mass produced. Crux brews were like nothing else we’ve had and even though we don’t generally stock up on anything, we bought as much as we thought we could store and afford!