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.
One of the best ways to soak up a community is by getting to know the locals. One of the best ways to soak up Central Oregon’s amazing craft beer scene is knowing the best time for cheap beer and discounted food.
Our local newspaper recently printed some info on which breweries did what for locals. But they left out a couple of our favorite pubs and I figured most locals already know which nights are local’s night.
So here’s your visitors guide to the Local’s Nights at some of Central Oregon’s best breweries.
Deschutes Brewery, the place where the craft beer scene started in Central Oregon kicks off the week of local’s nights with a great deal on burgers and beers ($3.50 imperial pints (that’s 20 OUNCES!!!) And I’ll be honest, I was born and raised in Nebraska but haven’t had many burgers better than the beer-fed beef they serve at Deschutes. (The cows that make the beef are fed with spent grain left over from Deschutes’ brewing process.)
For starters, don’t tell people you’re going to “The Bend Brewing Company.” Instead, let them know you’re heading to the “BBC” so you at least sound like a local. BBC is the place to go on Tuesdays for $2.75 pints and half price appetizers from 4-6 p.m. Another local tip: BBC has some of the best buffalo wings in all of Central Oregon.
At Silver Moon, a pub burger and the beer of the night is $10.
And at Crux Fermentation Project, every night feels like Local’s Night with their Sundowner Hour. A half hour before and a half hour after sunset the pub offers beer and food specials. You can find the exact time of sunset each night on their website. (There’s more on fun Happy Hour specials in Bend’s Old Mill here in this video.)
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.)
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 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!
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.)
Have you ever been to cupcake heaven? If not, be prepared to have your world rocked when you visit Central Oregon’s famous, Ida’s Cupcake Cafe.
The team at Ida’s three locations, two in Bend and one in Redmond, custom frost cupcakes and create memorable wedding cakes and sweet treats for every occasion. Imagine “emoji” themed cupcakes and cakes decorated with your favorite Oregon sports team. Whatever you can dream up, Ida’s can bring to life.
Central Oregon’s obsession with all things sweet doesn’t stop there. Goody’s Chocolates counts as one of the other legends in town, the company was started in Sunriver in 1984. Now, Goody’s has multiple locations including their factory where they do tours of their chocolate making process and a classic soda fountain and candy shop in downtown Bend. Goody’s manufactures over 20 tons of chocolate each year, and although we don’t recommend eating that many candies – buying a box of Goody’s is is like taking a sweet piece of Central Oregon home with you.
Central Oregon can claim more breweries than quite a few states. We’re not exaggerating. Our region has 28+ breweries, that’s above and beyond what Hawaii (14 breweries), Oklahoma (20 breweries), and Delaware (19 breweries) have according to statistics from the Brewers Association. That shows how much we care about craft beer but, it can make it tough to choose where to taste local brews, we get it!
Bend takes the cake when it comes to the sheer number of breweries: 22 and counting, but brewpubs in Sunriver and Redmond offer their own unique experience.
“It’s really special actually being the only brewery in the southern part of Deschutes County,” said Sunriver Brewing Company’s Director of Marketing, Ryan Duley. “We do get really involved in this subcommunity within our larger community of Central Oregon. It’s really great to have that tie to people.”
Sunriver Brewing Company has two locations, one — you guessed it — is in Sunriver and the brewery opened its second location in Bend in 2016. “We take a lot of pride in a food and our service just as much as our beer, so to create an overall experience for tourists coming in is a very big deal and something we take seriously,” Duley said.
“There’s so many things kind of wrapped up in this experience that is Central Oregon, it’s clean air, lakes, rivers and outdoor activities. It’s almost like there’s a beer for every occasion,” said Sunriver Brewing Company’s Head Brewer, Brett Thomas. “You can have a beer at lunchtime before you start that hike, maybe it’s Fuzztail Hefeweizen. When you’re off the trail later in the evening around the campfire, maybe it’s Vicious Mosquito, something a little more robust.”
If you’re new to craft beer, have no fear! Bartenders can help steer you in the direction of a brew you might enjoy or get a tasting tray. You might be surprised by what beers you like. “I just love getting our beers into the hands of people who haven’t had it before,” Thomas said. “We’re so happy with our beer quality right now, usually people have that “aha” moment with a number of our products and they’re like, ‘Wow, this is the beer I’ve been looking for’.”
The third annual, Stars Over Newberry fundraiser will take place on August 11th 2017 atop Lava Butte in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. This year, festivities will be from 7:30 – 11:00 PM, giving visitors an unparalleled vista of the night sky and a chance to glimpse the early hours of the Perseid Meteor Shower.
All proceeds from the auction will benefit Discover Your Forest, the non-profit partner of the Central Oregon national forests and grassland. Live music will be provided by the Moon Mountain Ramblers. Worthy Brewing Company will be pouring delicious brews and Volcano Vineyards will serve a selection of local wines and sangria. Local astronomers from Sisters Astronomy Club will lead guests on a journey through the skies at telescope stations throughout the event and a silent auction will feature local photographers’ depictions of scenes from the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forest.
Stars Over Newberry largest annual fundraising event for Discover Your Forest, which supports stewardship, conservation education and volunteer programs in Central Oregon’s National Forests. The event runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will cost you $50. You can learn more and sign up here: discoveryourforest.org
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bend’s growing beer scene has seen numerous breweries expand facilities and pubs to accommodate their skyrocketing popularity.
But Worthy Brewing in Bend is taking its expansion to a new, intergalactic level.
Bend’s only East Side brewpub this spring opened the nation’s first “Hopservatory,” featuring a 50-foot tower that houses a 16-inch RCOS-based Ritchey-Chrétien telescope. Not familiar with that particular model? You can see REALLY far and REALLY clearly into the sky.
The Hopservatory will be run in partnership with the Sunriver Nature Center/Oregon Observatory, who will provide stargazing tour guides to help visitors navigate the skies above.
“Our goal is to raise scientific literacy and educate our visitors about big and unwieldy concepts like scale, size, time, distance, and speed in our solar system and beyond,” Worthy owner Roger Worthington says.
There’s open house viewing on Thursday and Sunday nights from 7 to 9 p.m and Saturday nights from 7 to 10 p.m. with resident sky guy, Grant Tandy. No need to register. Just show up the night of and take the stairs directly to the 3rd floor Hopservatory.
There’s a $5 fee for the tours but all of the proceeds will go to support science literacy programs and initiatives through the Worthy Garden Club, the brewery’s non-profit foundation. (Kids 5 and under are free.)
Additionally, Worthy has unveiled the Transporter Room, Hop Mahal Banquet Hall, the Beermuda Triangle private bar and the Star Bar balcony pub with access to the observatory and amazing views of the Central Oregon sunset. All the new projects are part of a 3,800-square-foot expansion collectively dubbed Beertopia.
The Hopservatory joins Worthy’s on-site gardens and greenhouse that grow more than 20 types of hops and other herbs used throughout the brewery’s beer and food menu.
“From our state-of-the-art solar panels to our spent hop recycling program, we try to keep our restaurant and brewery as sustainable as possible,” Worthington said. “This includes our grounds and gardens. Our landscape was designed to conserve water and support a healthy population of pollinators. We grow fresh herbs, greens, and veggies for the kitchen year-round in our high-tech greenhouse and raised garden beds, avoiding the use of harsh fertilizers and pesticides.”
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.
It’s a place with wide open spaces in the shadows of snow-covered mountain peaks that seem just a stone’s throw away. It’s a place for the adventureous with plenty of room to Nordic ski or head out for a starlight campfire and snowshoe excursion. It’s a place for the romantics with live music in the Aspen Lounge and Vino Thursday all winter long. And it’s a place for the kids with fun arts and crafts at the Lakeside Activity Center.
(Cross country ski and snowshoe rentals are available at the Glaze Meadow Rental Shop. A sledding hill is located west of the Glaze Meadow Golf Course parking lot on Ponderosa.)
You don’t have to go far to enjoy fine dining. The award-winning Lodge Restaurant is the highlight of the Ranch, providing a relaxed, fine dining experience with some of the most spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains. The new Lakeside Bistro features coffee, espresso and bakery offerings in the morning and savory food options and beverage selections for the remainder of the day.
The Aspen Lounge, perched high atop the 3rd floor of the Lodge, offers a scenic vista and special retreat to enjoy regionally inspired house-made cocktails, wine and draft beers, and a casual meal
It’s also a place so close to much more. Sisters and its Old West vibe is just a few minutes away. Check out the locally made craft beer and amazing menu at Three Creeks Brewery or some down-home dining at Cottonwood Cafe.
Skiers looking for “steep and cheap” have to look no further than Hoodoo, just 15 miles west of the ranch. Hoodoo is a no-frills, all-fun ski area that’s been a local’s favorite for generations. What’s more – by the time the lifts stop turning at some resorts, Hoodoo just flips on the lights for some of the most fun night-skiing in the West.
Not into the adrenaline of downhill skiing or snowboarding? How about the family-friendly Autobahn Tubing Park? Just enough speed to make the kids feel like they’re flying…tame enough for thrill-dodging parents to have some fun too. Black Butte is the official lodging partner for Hoodoo, so they have some great stay-and-ski packages.
Another winter adventure option is located right across the highway from the Hoodoo entrance road. Santiam Sno Park is a popular sledding area with nearby trails for skiers and snowshoers. Ray Benson Sno Park, about one mile from Hoodoo, offers a variety of trails for winter sports. Dog teams, snowmobiliers, skiers, snowshoers and skijorers all enjoy this popular winter sno park. All parks require sno park permits, available at Black Butte Ranch, Hoodoo and other Sisters locations.
Plan your trip to Black Butte Ranch today and discover a place you’ll never forget.
Here’s a rundown of some of Black Butte’s holiday/winter happenings through January.
24 Thanksgiving Day Plated Brunch, 10:30 – 4:30 pm 541-595-1260