Brew it Yourself at Bend’s Immersion Brewing

Central Oregon’s thriving craft beer scene is a hugely popular experience for visitors to the High Desert.

You can drink it.

You can take a brewery tour and learn about it.

And now, you can brew it yourself.

Bend’s Immersion Brewing is the state’s first “Brew-it-Yourself” brewery, offering visitors a chance to come up with their own sudsy creation from start to finish. You can even design your own label for the bottles.

There are more than 30 recipes to choose from, including Kolsch, Blonde Ales, American Pale Ales, Imperial Stouts, Holiday Ales, Wheat Ales and several IPAs. A recipe card will walk you through the step-by-step process, but an experienced brewer will also be by your side to talk you through it and offer some help if you need it. The two-hour brewing session nets you about five gallons of beer! Brew sessions range in price from $180 – $220 depending on beer recipe – and it includes the beer, bottles, caps, and labeling.

Once the beer is created, it takes about two weeks for it to ferment. You’ll come back to the pub to carbonate, bottle and label your two cases of 22 oz. beers before taking them home. (Oregon residents who aren’t able to come back to bottle can have the brewery ship them to you. Out of state guests can choose beer created by someone else to take home.)

It’s a great team-building exercise that involves some teamwork while allowing time to enjoy one of the numerous beers on tap at the pub and have a bite to eat from their full menu. The Visit Central Oregon team (that’s us in the video above) experienced it in late October and it was a ton of fun – and really informative. The Immersion brewer who helped us, Josh Cosci, was very patient and chock full of great info throughout the process.

The pub and brewery are located in The Box Factory, a lively collection of shops and restaurants adjacent to the Old Mill District and near Bend’s historic downtown.

For more information on Immersion’s Brew-it-Yourself opportunity, visit the Immersion Brewing website.

 

Sammies and Sandos: Central Oregon’s Best Sandwiches

Sometimes after a day full of adventure, all that you crave is a simple, yet delicious, stick-to-your-ribs sandwich. (And a beer, obviously.)

Whether you call it a “sammie,” “sando,” or “sammich,” there’s an amazing sandwich waiting for you at the end of the trail in Central Oregon. Heck, even if you’re one of those weirdos who consider a hot dog a sandwich, we have you covered. For the purposes of this story, we’re not including burgers in the “sandwich” category, but rest assured there are TONS of great burgers here. (Don’t see your favorite listed? Tell us where to find the best sandwich in Central Oregon in the comments!)

In the iconic downtown Bend breezeway, the Beach Hut Deli offers a great selection of hot and cold sandwiches in a “chill” setting perfect for catching a game on TV or just people watching on Mirror Pond Plaza. Try the Surfin’ Bird with turkey, avocado, bacon, cream cheese, mayo, mustard, pickles, tomato, red onions, lettuce, Greek peppers and cheese.

In beautiful Sunriver, Sunriver Brewing‘s menu is filled with post-adventure favorites, but one of my staples is the Turkey Dip with smoked turkey breast, pepper bacon, tomato, Tillamook white cheddar on a french roll with a side of natural turkey jus. Pair it with a Fuzztail Hefe and your afternoon is golden. (You can get the same sandwich at Sunriver Brewing’s Galveston Pub in Bend too.)

Sunriver Brewing Co. Galveston Pub

Three Creeks Brewing in Sisters is a perfect rest stop after hiking up Black Butte, fishing at Camp Sherman or mountain biking the Peterson Ridge trails. And for me, there’s not a better sandwich in all of Central Oregon (or anywhere for that matter) than the legendary Chicken Bacon Tater. NBD, just your basic sandwich with grilled chicken breast, thick sliced hickory smoked bacon, fries & chipotle ranch all rolled together in a toasted pita, “Taco Style.” Yes, that’s right: THERE’S FRENCH FRIES IN THE SANDWICH! Pairs nicely with a Knotty Blonde.

The Row at Bend’s Tetherow Resort has a great pub-style menu that includes all your favorites like burgers and wings and a rotating beer menu featuring several local breweries. And while it sounds simple: sourdough bread, smoked ham, and Tillamook cheddar cheese served with daily soup – the grilled cheese is top notch (especially served with the tomato soup that’s usually available.)

Crux Fermentation Project

Crux Fermentation Project is easily one of Bend’s favorite brewpubs. The pub features three hugely popular food carts outside on the lawn. And while the pub itself has a limited menu, the Banh Mi sandwich has long been a standout dish. It’s porter-hoisin roasted pork belly, cubed ham, fresh cucumber, cilantro, do Chua, and sweet chili aioli. My colleague Kristine implores you to get EXTRA CILANTRO!

Exterior view of people on the patio at 10 Barrel on Bend, Oregon's westside
The patio at 10 Barrel Brewing’s West Side Pub.

You can find a great steak sandwich on just about every menu here these days (most here are made with locally grown beef,) but you probably won’t find a better one than the one at 10 Barrel Brewing‘s West Side pub. Know how I know? Because my wife says so and, well, she’s kind of a steak sandwich expert (or so I’ve been told.)

For an out of this world dining experience, Worthy Brewing is your place thanks to the world’s first “Hopservatory.” Founder Roger Worthington will tell you the Salmon Sando is the best in the universe: grilled Atlantic salmon, Tillamook pepper jack cheese, fresh guacamole, lettuce, tomato, pickled onion, chipotle aioli on ciabatta. (Pro tip from my colleague Kristi: Get it as a lettuce wrap.)

And finally, Brother Jons has two locations in Bend and both have great menus. You can’t go wrong though with the Cuban: Pulled pork, ham, melted swiss, sautéed onions, dill pickles & spicy brown mustard on a grilled hoagie roll. (While you’re waiting, the habanero cheese dip is worth noshing on – it’s a white wine & garlic habanero cheese sauce with house-fried yellow and blue corn tortilla chips.)

The French Market Brings a Taste of Europe to Bend

We’ve got nothing against pub food, actually, our love for it has been well documented – herehere… and here! But if you’re looking for a dining experience that will take your taste buds on an International vacation while you’re visiting Central Oregon – Bend’s French Market could be right up your alley.

Inspired by the European travels of Executive Chef, Luke Mason and owners, Phil and Judy Lipton who lived abroad in France and Spain, the French Market opened in 2017. Chef Mason encourages guests to order small plates that can be shared and experienced together, but his team also whips up unique entrees that impress along with artisan pizzas topped with seasonal ingredients.

The French Market offers a full-bar, local and regional craft beer and an extensive wine selection. Reservations are recommended, especially on the weekend when it can be tough to get a table.

Eat Like a Local: Our Favorite Spots to Dine in Central Oregon

When you roll into a new place for vacation, one of the first things you want to do is find a great, local place to grab a bite to eat. You didn’t drive up from the Bay Area to pop into an Applebees, right? Central Oregon is chock full of amazing local restaurants sure to fit into every culinary category.

Here are some of our favorite spots – we’d say “secret spots” but they’re pretty popular places and, well, nothing in Central Oregon is a secret anymore.

PizzaPizza Mondo in downtown Bend is hands-down the locals’ favorite place to get a slice or whole pie. In fact, the tiny little pizza joint has been named Bend’s Favorite Pizza by readers of the local Source Weekly newspaper every year since it opened in 1996. I mean, c’mon. A lot of pizza shops have come and gone since then – yet “Mondo” remains at the top. And for good reason. Local tip: There’s a basket of brownies at the counter where you pay. Buy one.

 

SeafoodThe Pine Tavern has been a staple of downtown Bend since 1936 for one simple reason: It’s just a great place to get classic American comfort food. And for many locals it’s the go-to spot for some delectable seafood entrees, including baked salmon stuffed with Dungeness crab, bay shrimp, brie and cream cheese. Local’s tip: Don’t fill up on the sourdough scones that come before dinner. Save them and take them home for a perfect late night snack.

Burgers – Nearly all of Central Oregon’s brewpubs have amazing burgers on the menu, but if you really want to dine like a local, go a little under the radar and check out Hardy’s Hot Wings, Hamburgers and Ice Cream. No frills or bells or whistles, just a wide variety of tasty hamburgers and the most Buffalo-esque wings in town. (Ask about the hot-wing challenge.)

Dessert900 Wall in downtown Bend is known for great food and an amazing Happy Hour, but it’s most popular dishes might just be found on the dessert menu. My wife and I sometimes will plan a date night just for the powdered sugar beignets. They come with a bittersweet chocolate sauce, raspberry sauce, and vanilla mouse for dipping.

Italian – Bend’s had its fair share of Italian restaurants open and close over the years, but one has stood the test of time: Marcello’s Cucina Italiana in Sunriver. A staple of classic Italian fare with a PNW twist, Marcello’s has been filling bellies since 1980. You’ll find all the classics like lasagna, chicken parm and spaghetti, but also a few surprises like salmon-n-chips, pork osso bucco, penne arrabiata. Local tip: Stop in on a Wednesday for $10 all you can eat spaghetti – including a side salad or cup of soup & homemade bread.

Brewpub – Now this one gets a bit tricky. Ask five locals their favorite brewpub and you’re more than likely going to get five different answers. Some love Crux Fermentation Project and their huge, grassy yard that feels more like a neighborhood party than a restaurant. Some are old school Deschutes Brewery fans who’ll tell you about the good ole days when the joint was way smaller (but the beer was just as good.) Bend Brewing Co. has staked its claim as being the locals favorite for years while newcomers Sunriver Brewing Co. now boasts popular hangouts in both Sunriver and Bend. My favorite? I’m always partial to Deschutes Brewery where I can belly up to the bar for a burger and a pint of the pub-only Bachelor Bitter. It doesn’t get any more local than that.

Sparrow Bakery’s famous “Ocean Roll.”

Breakfast – Everyone knows the best breakfasts come from the smallest, most quaint spots in town. That’s true to form in Central Oregon where Sparrow Bakery stands out. The original Scott Street location is a tiny little brick building in the Old Iron Works Art District while the newer Northwest Crossing spot is a bit larger, more modern pastry oasis. Ask anyone in town and they’ll say Sparrow’s “Ocean Roll” is among the best pastries anywhere. If you’re looking for something a little more “stick to your ribs,” check out McKay Cottage in Bend. The breakfast landmark has amazing pancakes, eggs benedict and much more in a quaint riverside location.

8 Pictures That Will Have You Rethinking Some Life Decisions (Central Oregon Food Edition)

Is this plate from 5 Fusion and Sushi Bar art or food? (It’s food. Definitely food.)

deschutes brewery burger

This Deschutes Brewery burger from a cow that was fed the brewery’s spent grain. BEER FED BEEF, PEOPLE. BEER. FED. BEEF.

Here’s a fish sandwich from Suttle Lodge & Boathouse that makes other fish sandwiches embarrassed to call themselves fish sandwiches.

These powdered sugar beignets from 900 Wall will make you forget the names of your own children.

This hilarious plate of nachos from 10 Barrel Brewing that’s on the appetizer menu.

I’ll just be over here at Crux Fermentation Project with the best house-made pretzel I’ve ever put in my face hole.

Cobbler with ice cream Pronghorn Club and Resort Central Oregon

OMG, this tiny cast iron pot filled with cobbler topped with a teeny dollop of vanilla ice cream at Pronghorn is the stuff of my tiny dessert dreams.

Find someone that pours sauce on you like this chef at Carson’s American Kitchen at Sunriver Resort pours sauce on this dish.

Hungry? Check out some more amazing Central Oregon dining options here.

Pronghorn Resort Racks up the Accolades in 2017

Trailhead at Pronghorn at sunset with Cascade Range in background - Bend Oregon

Pronghorn Resort in Bend has been lauded since it opened in 2006. With two world-class golf courses, luxurious lodging options, fantastic dining and an upscale, but accessible vibe – it’s no surprise it gets rave reviews. The high praise continued in 2017 with several big-time pats on the back. And with the new Huntington Lodge set to open on site this fall, even more props are expected.

(Info provided by Pronghorn Resort)

Jack Nicklaus Signature Course

Voted No. 39 on Golfweek’s list of “Best Resort Courses” for 2017.  See all rankings.

Voted No. 5 in Oregon on Golfweek’s list of “Best golf courses you can play in each state” for 2017. See all rankings.

Voted No. 36 on Golf Digest’s list of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” for 2017 See all rankings.

Voted No. 6 on Golf Digest’s list of the “Best Golf Courses in Oregon” for 2017-2018. See all rankings.

golf-nicklaus-5

The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course receives two prestigious rankings from Golfweek and one from Golf Digest for 2017.

Pronghorn Resort

Awarded Golf Digest’s Editors’ Choice Award 2017 Best Golf Resorts in the Pacific Northwest

Tom Fazio Championship Course

Voted No. 11 on Golfweek’s list of “Best Residential Courses” for 2017. See all rankings.

Voted No. 54 on Golfweek’s list of the “Best Modern Courses” for 2017. See all rankings.

Voted No. 7 on Golf Digest’s list of the “Best Golf Courses in Oregon” for 2017-2018. See all rankings.

golf-fazio-4

The Tom Fazio Championship Golf Course receives two prestigious rankings from Golfweek for 2017.

Central Oregon’s 5 Fantastic Free Summer Concert Series

Live music is often the first thing visitors ask about when they get to Central Oregon. And come summer, there’s certainly no shortage of great opportunities to sit (or dance) outside in the sun and listen to some great tunes.

Here’s our Top 5 Free Summer Concert Series’

Sunriver Resort’s Backyard Concert Series

Backyard Concert Series – Sunriver Resort

May 26-28 | June 29 | July 1 | July 2-Sept 4 | Thurs, Fri, Sat

Bring the family, pull up a blanket and enjoy live music at The Backyard at Sunriver Resort from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. A different live band will be featured each concert day. Delicious food and local brews, wine and cocktails will be offered during each concert.

Music on the Green, Redmond

Music on the Green – Redmond’s Sam Johnson Park

The region’s longest running free music series happens from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Redmond’s Sam Johnson Park every other Wednesday beginning in late June. The event combines free music with a block party atmosphere to offer a powerful mix of community and family fun.

Music on the Green continues to celebrate the finest Redmond has to offer, spotlighting some of the region’s best and brightest musical talents from genres like country, folk, bluegrass, and cover tunes from the ‘50s through today.

Bend Memorial Clinic’s Free Summer Sundays

BMC Free Summer Sundays – Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater

Bend Memorial Clinic’s Free Summer Sunday Concerts start June 4 and continue through mid-July on select Sundays. Come on down to the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend’s Old Mill and enjoy a beautiful afternoon of great music and healthy family fun. Delish food vendors, bouncy houses and other activities will be onsite.

Well behaved pets (and their owners) are welcomed.  Concerts run from 2:30-4:30 pm, and feature local and nationally touring artists who typically require a ticket to see. Bring your dancing feet!

Munch & Music – Bend’s Drake Park

For 26 years, Bend’s iconic Drake Park has been the place to be on Thursday nights in the summer.

Munch & Music is a hugely popular, family-friendly event featuring local and nationally-acclaimed live bands. The food court is sure to have something for everyone. With one of the largest gatherings of all you favorite local food vendors – come hungry!

The Deschutes Brewery Libation Station will be available with beer, wine and an occasional cocktail from week to week. This year the concerts will have a walk-around beer policy. You cannot bring your own alcoholic beverages into the events, but you can roam the area freely with your brew.

Picnic in the Park, Prineville

Picnic in the Park – Prineville’s Pioneer Park

Picnic in the Park is an amazing opportunity for people in our wonderful community and those traveling from neighboring areas to spend some time mid-week to unwind in beautiful Pioneer Park listening to a wide variety of music. This is a place for families, friends, neighbors and strangers to gather and enjoy being outside and relaxing while being entertained by high-quality musicians. Thursday nights from 6 to 8 beginning in July.

Bend, Oregon Area Beer Festivals and Events

bend brewfest
Courtesy Bend Brewfest

So many breweries, so little time to visit them all. Such is the dilemma for visitors who would love to taste all the amazing beer we have to offer but just can’t carve out the time during a long weekend. Luckily, there are PLENTY of local beer festivals and events throughout the year that feature a one-stop-shop for you to try some local craft beer.

Here’s a rundown, compiled by our friends at Bend Lifestyle Magazine.

ZWICKELMANIA

February 25
Various Breweries
Central Oregon
OregonCraftBeer.org

CENTRAL OREGON BEER WEEK

Ten days (10!!!!) of craft beer bliss with tours, tastings and events at breweries throughout the region.
May 19 – 28
Various Breweries
Central Oregon
CentralOregonBeerWeek.com

SMASH FEST

May 20
McMenamins Old St. Francis School
Bend
CentralOregonBeerWeek.com

Mt. Bachelor Brewski Beer Festival

7TH ANNUAL BREWSKI

May 27 – 28
Mount Bachelor Ski Area
Bend
MtBachelor.com

FERMENTATION CELEBRATION

June 8
The Old Mill District
Bend
TheOldMill.com/events/
fermentation-celebration/

BEND BREW FEST

The region’s largest brewfest, Bend Brewfest features nearly 200 beers from dozens of local and regional breweries, live music, great food and tons of fun.
August 10-12
Les Schwab Ampitheater
Bend
BendBrewFest.com

Redmond Brew Fest

Enjoy brews from 50 breweries and cideries in American Legion Park. Festival includes food vendors, great live music and more.
August 18-19
American Legion Park
Redmond
RedmondBrewFest.com

little woody brew festival
Little Woody in Bend

THE LITTLE WOODY

September 1-2
Des Chutes Historical Museum
Bend
TheLittleWoody.com

BEND OKTOBERFEST

September 15-16
Downtown
Bend
BendOktoberfest.com

THE HAYDEN HOMES 
BACON & BREW FESTIVAL

September 8
Silver Moon Brewing
Redmond
VisitRedmondOregon.com

SISTERS FRESH HOP FESTIVAL

September 30
Village Green Park
Sisters
SistersFreshHopFestival.com

Fresh Hops on the Pond

October 14th
Bend Brewing Company Lawn
Downtown Bend
Fresh Hops on the Pond FB Page

Bend Brewing Co.
The lawn at Bend Brewing Co.

Bend’s 7 Best (and maybe not-so-well-known) Family-Friendly Dining Options

Back in the day, finding a “family-friendly” restaurant meant looking for something involving animatronic characters or a dollar menu where “happiness” came in a box.

But in Bend and Central Oregon, you’ll find a huge selection of true family-friendly restaurants that are as appealing to mom and dad as they are to the kids. In fact, just about every spot welcomes your little ones and has a kids’ menu with food you won’t feel bad for feeding your children. And as the dad to a teenager and two kids under 4, it’s nice to walk into a restaurant without getting the stink eye from the host or other patrons.

Here are a few of my family’s favorite spots to eat.

Crux Fermentation Project in Bend, Oregon
Crux Fermentation Project

Crux Fermentation Project

Grab a beer from the patio bar, find a spot in the grass and let the kids run free. With its gigantic green space, lawn games and diverse selection of local food carts, Crux is arguably the best family-friendly dining option in the region. The brewpub is home to some of Central Oregon’s most popular beers and is known for its amazing Sundowner Hour (food/drink specials a half hour before and after the sun sets.) Added bonus: There’s often live music outside as well, giving the kids something to really wiggle to.

Paddle board group on Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon
Can’t beat the views from Red Robin in Bend.

Red Robin

Located along the Deschutes River in Bend’s Old Mill District, Red Robin is kind of the go-to spot for families looking for good food, a fun environment and a great view. Sure, it’s a chain but even on vacation, it’s sometimes nice to eat somewhere familiar. Bonus points for unlimited broccoli. Heck, tell them it’s someone’s birthday and you’ll get a free cupcake out of the deal.

La Rosa

One of our favorite Mexican restaurants, La Rosa’s Northwest Crossing location has a kids menu that features all the traditional favorites like tacos, enchiladas, etc. along with some “American” standards like chicken nuggets. And the refried beans that come with the complimentary chips and salsa is always a big hit for parents of wee babies. The location is also just a short walk down the street from Compass Park. The park features a playground, pavilion with picnic tables and green space that each summer hosts outdoor movies.

Sunriver Brewing Co. – Sunriver Pub

Sunriver Brewing Co. Sunriver Pub

Great food, great beer and A CHILDRENS’ PLAY AREA. That’s right. Just inside the door, there’s a small kids’ play area stocked with toys, books and a giant chalkboard. For parents on vacation, Sunriver Brewing Co. might just be the new Happiest Place on Earth. There’s also a nice, big patio for dining outside in the sun – perfect for people watching during the busy summer season in the Village at Sunriver.

Pizza Mondo in Bend
Pizza Mondo in Bend

Pizza Mondo

When my middle daughter was just starting to eat real food, Pizza Mondo was of the first places I took her when mom left us alone for the day. (Dad of the year, right?) It’s a tiny little pizza joint in Downtown Bend that also happens to make the city’s best pie. That’s according to the locals who have voted it “Bend’s Best Pizza” every year since it opened in 1996. Pro tip: There’s a basket of brownies next to the cash register. Don’t even think about leaving without one.

Deschutes Brewery

This one might be surprising to some, but Deschutes Brewery’s Public House in Downtown Bend is actually one of the most family-friendly spots in the area. The kids’ menu features some super tasty options beyond the traditional hamburger or chicken strips. For mom and dad, the dining here straddles the line between pub food and fine dining. And the beer, of course, is legendary at Bend’s first brewpub. The pub’s expansion a few years ago really opened up the restaurant and now there’s tons of seating so a table with a couple of high chairs won’t cramp the style of the tables next to you.

goody's chocolates, bend oregon
Goddy’s Chocolates & Ice Cream

Goody’s 

Ok, so it’s not a “restaurant” in any way, shape or form. Nope, Goody’s is just home to Central Oregon’s best chocolates, candies and ice cream and it’s a must-visit for anyone vacationing here. Check out the original shop in Sunriver, the Downtown Bend location or take a tour of an actual chocolate factory. Your sweet tooth – and your kids – will thank you.

Black Butte Ranch Grapes & Golf Event Features Food, Wine and Fun

Put a bow on summer 2017 with a long (romantic maybe?) weekend of golf, wine, food and fun at one of Central Oregon’s most beautiful destination resorts, Black Butte Ranch.

The 2017 Grapes & Golf Couples event happens September 14th-16th and includes a friendly (but competitive) tournament on both of Black Butte’s championship courses, Glaze Meadow and Big Meadow.

The event kicks off Thursday evening with a  wine, cheese and hors d’oeuvres reception.  Friday provides the first tournament round of golf at Glaze Meadow, best ball format, and an exquisite four-course wine dinner at the award-winning Lodge restaurant.  Participants tee off on Saturday for the final tournament round at Big Meadow, Stableford format, followed by a barbecue awards luncheon.  Tee prizes, gifts, and gross & net prize payouts are all part of the event.

Lest you think it’s not a competition – this year’s tournament winners will win a VIP experience at the 2018 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The prize includes two passes for Feb. 8th or Feb. 11th, parking and full access to a hospitality tent on the 18th fairway that features chef-prepared meals, open bar, cigars, etc.  This is one of the most popular events on the PGA TOUR, so this prize is huge!

ENTRY & DETAILS

  • Entry is $550 per team and includes a wine, cheese & hors d’oeuvres reception, two tournament rounds with cart, range balls each day, an exquisitely prepared four-course wine pairing dinner, BBQ awards luncheon, tee prizes & gifts, gross & net prize payouts and more!
  • Optional entry of $750 per couple includes full entry, plus one practice round with cart for two, and four breakfast vouchers for a full breakfast at Robert’s Pub.
  • Participants registered then unable to attend will be eligible for a full refund of tournament entry up to 30 days prior to the event.  No refunds after August 9, 2017.
  • Maximum course handicap is 30/Men and 40/Ladies
  • Gross & Net Divisions (the event will be pre-flighted based on combined player handicap index.  Tournament scoring will be on a gross and net basis for each flight.  Pairings based on handicaps (day one), and tournament position (day two).
  • Winnings are awarded in golf shop credits
  • Practice rounds are available for the special rate of $55 with cart and will be extended in conjunction with your travel.  Call Ryan Dunning at 541.595.1292 for practice round tee times.
  • Participants can secure a 15% discount off lodging at Black Butte Ranch.  A two-night minimum stay applies.  Options range from private Lodge rooms and 2-3 bedroom condos to 6 bedroom custom homes that can accommodate one, two or several couples.  Please call Amanda Golien at 866.681.1123 for reservations and information.

Register Online at BlackButteRanch.com.