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.

 

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.

Get Your “Ah-Ha” Beer Moment at Sunriver Brewing Company

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.

Sunriver Brewing Co. Galveston Pub

“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.”

Sunriver Brewing Company is just one of the breweries in Central Oregon that cans their beers, making them easy to bring along on adventures. 10 Barrel Brewing Company recently released its Trail Beer. Crux Fermentation Project and Worthy Brewing (home to the world’s first “Hopservatory“) have 6-packs of select brews available in cans at their brewpubs.

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’.”

Sisters Weekend Getaway: Romance, Bike Rides & More

A visit to Sisters, Oregon is both a step back in time and a visit to the lap of luxury. Downtown, experience a bit of the old west through vintage storefronts welcoming visitors to a variety of shops, restaurants, and galleries. Venture down the road a bit and you’ll find an upscale, modern mini-resort in FivePine Lodge. And right outside the back door of your cozy cabin is a world of adventure waiting for you on the Peterson Ridge Trail System.

Rustic Elegance

FivePine Lodge features eight suites in a beautiful main lodge modeled after a historic forestry station and 36 craftsman-style cabins. The campus also offers a spa, Mexican restaurant, movie house, and Three Creeks Brewing Co. With the personal touch of a bed and breakfast, the privacy of romantic, cozy cabins and all the amenities of a resort, FivePine is the ultimate romantic getaway.

Shibui Spa is on site and offers a variety of packages, including a three-hour “Day of Indulgence” that features a massage, facial and pedicure.

Giddyup

Saddle up a two-wheeled horse during your stay with a mountain bike rental from Blazing Saddles. Sisters’ only bike shop is a full-service, one-stop shop for everything bike. And with demo and rentals from brands like BMC, Giant and Felt, you’re sure to get a great ride to experience our amazing trails.

According to our partners, Bend Trails, the Peterson Ridge Trails in Sisters were originally constructed in 1989 as a mountain bike trail network consisting of a combination of single-track and old forest service roads. In 2008, a major expansion of the network increased the amount of single track to over 20 miles and included signage and trail markers to aid riders in navigation.

The trails are fairly level and mostly free of technical obstacles (although some lines do have rocks and roots to negotiate).  The trail network is popular with Sisters’ residents and you can expect to encounter lots of walkers, runners, and dogs on the trails. There are also several Horse trails that interconnect into this system.

Dinner and a Show – Sisters Style

A visit to Sisters wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Three Creeks Brewing on the FivePine Lodge campus. Sisters’ only brewpub is a regional favorite that draws visitors and locals alike thanks to their delicious beers and hearty menu. Their Knotty Blonde and Hoodoo Voodoo IPA are always a good choice, as is the Chicken, Bacon, Tater sandwich featuring a chicken breast, thick cut bacon and fries smothered in a chipotle ranch and wrapped in a warm pita like a taco.

After dinner, walk about 10 steps to the lovely little Sisters Movie House where you can catch a first-run film, grab another beer and settle into the quaint theater for a couple of hours of entertainment.

Looking for some down-home comfort food? The Cottonwood Cafe is a relative newcomer to the Sisters dining scene after a complete transformation from Jen’s Garden – which served upscale French cuisine. The new restaurant has a new look, new menu and new vibe that’s been a hit.

Start the Day Off Right: Central Oregon’s Best Breakfast Spots

There might be some debatable data out there about breakfast being the most important meal of the day. But I think we can all get behind the idea that it’s the most delicious meal of the day. (Because, bacon.)

Central Oregon has tons of great spots for your morning meal – whether you prefer the stick-to-you-gut favorites like pancakes, waffles, bacon & eggs, or lighter fare like muffins, croissants, quiches and more.

Rockin’ Dave’s Bistro, McKay Cottage, and Cafe Sintra are three of our favorite spots because of their diverse menus, fun atmosphere and, of course, delicious food. (All three also serve lunch.)

Rockin’ Daves serves up a variety of bagel sandwiches and full breakfasts like the House Hash, which includes your choice of pastrami, corned beef, pulled pork or pork belly. Looking for the perfect on-the-go breakfast to take along on your hike? You can build your own massive breakfast burritos to stuff into your backpack.

McKay Cottage, located across the street from the Deschutes River in the heart of Bend, has been one of the region’s top breakfast spots for years. In fact, readers of our local alternative weekly have named it “Bend’s Best Breakfast” every year since 2010. The cozy cottage is always filled with hungry patrons while the spacious front yard serves as an outdoor dining room when weather permits.

The cozy cottage is always filled with hungry patrons while the spacious front yard serves as an outdoor dining room when weather permits. Enjoy dishes like stuffed French toast, lemon ricotta pancakes, biscuits and gravy and several variations of eggs benedict. McKay Cottage also offers award-winning scones, muffins and more.

In Sunriver, Cafe Sintra has become the go-to spot for breakfast with a unique menu featuring eight different omelets, five delicious eggs benedict options, spinach & egg crepes and much more (including pancakes.)

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.

A Patriotic and Fun 4th in Central Oregon

Summer in Central Oregon offers a feast for the adventurous and respite for the relaxers. Come 4th of July, add to that plenty of patriotism.

This year it falls on a Wednesday  – possibly creating a whole FIVE-day weekend for a lot of people. It’ll be a great weekend to find a great hike, play some golf at one of the two dozen courses here or maybe get crazy with a whitewater rafting trip.

Big Eddy Thriller

You couldn’t have picked a better place to celebrate the 4th.

On the 4th, Bend features one of the quirkiest celebrations you’ll ever see – The annual 4th of July Pet Parade is exactly what it sounds like: Thousands of people and their pets parading through downtown in front of some 10,000 spectators. You’ll find all sorts of animals including cats, llamas, mini horses and a dog held airborne by balloons. (You just have to see it to believe it.) The parade starts at 1o a.m. and is immediately followed by an Old Fashioned 4th Celebration down the street in Drake Park. The party features food vendors, arts and craft booths, games for kids, music and much more.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fireworks across Central Oregon
Bend: Pilot Butte, 10 p.m.
Redmond: Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, 10 p.m.
La Pine: Frontier Heritage Park, 10 p.m.
Prineville: Reservoir State Park, 10 p.m.
Madras: Sahalee Park, 10 p.m.

After an afternoon of floating the river or heading up to the high lakes to beat the heat, end the holiday by finding a good spot to watch the fireworks show from atop Pilot Butte State Park at 10 p.m. (Local tip – Bend High School and Pilot Butte Middle School (click for maps) both offer good spots to see the show.)

Redmond’s “Baseball, Hot Dogs and Apple Pie 4th of July Parade” through downtown kicks off at 10 a.m. downtown followed by an Old Fashioned 4th celebration at the fairgrounds from 11 to 4.  The fireworks show starts at 10 p.m. at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center.

In Sunriver, you could start the day with the family at the Kids Bike Parade or cool off at the Sunriver Aquatic Center (SHARC) before getting cleaned up and getting your groove on during the opening night of Sunriver Resort’s summer concert series.

La Pine’s Frontier Days actually start on July 1st with a variety of family-friendly activities, cook-outs, live music and more. On the 4th the party starts at 7 a.m. with a “Woodcutter’s Breakfast” followed by a parade at 10:30.

You can officially kick off the weekend with the monthly First Friday Artwalk in downtown Bend. Yes, there’s art – lots of it. But Artwalk is more than that, as businesses keep their doors open later, and offer wine and spirits to create a very festive atmosphere in every small shop you walk in.

To see a full listing of all the events and activities slated for the July 4th holiday weekend, visit our Calendar.

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.

Bend’s Worthy Brewing Expands to the Stars with New Hopservatory

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.)

worthy brewing
Worthy Brewing’s Transporter Room

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.

worthy brewing
Worthy Brewing’s Hop Mahal banquet room

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.”

Worthy’s Hop Garden/Courtesy David Zinn & OregonBeerGrowler.Com