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’.”

Casual Family Weekend in Sunriver

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Imagine this: you’re riding your bike through a rolling meadow, the Cascade mountain range in the background, and the only sound is from the whir of a prop plane taking off against a crisp blue sky. Up ahead, your children pull carrots from their pockets and present them to a gathering of friendly horses in an adjacent pasture.

Sound like the setting of a movie? It’s actually a scene from my family’s idyllic weekend in Sunriver. Because of the accessible outdoor activities and pristine setting, Sunriver remains a favorite getaway spot for my family of five.

Interior view vacation home in Sunriver, Oregon

While we usually stay at the resort, this time we went for a more relaxed trip and booked a house through Discover Sunriver Vacation Rentals. There are many lodging options to choose from, but since our three kids wanted to bring friends and spread out, we picked a four-bedroom house complete with a large kitchen, hot tub and killer views.

Renting a house is great for cooking in. I stopped at The Village at Sunriver and bought our groceries at Sunriver Country Store. I love this IGA grocer for its fresh produce and healthy choices (a big variety of gluten-free goods too).

Sunriver Country Store Near Bend Oregon

The house was stocked with a handful of bikes for all ages and sizes. Upon arrival,we quickly unloaded and claimed bikes and helmets before heading out to the local paths. My family and I rode through the village, out behind the lodge, across golf course bridges, and past the airport, marina and stables all within under an hour.

The paths are flat and well paved, making it an easy trek for all abilities. After lunch and a hot tub soak, the kids stretched out in the living room to play board games while my husband and I were free to lounge and unwind from a busy week.

Feeling too lazy to cook dinner for the group that night, I ordered delivery from Blondie’s Pizza. The pizza and salads were tasty. I also appreciated that there wasn’t a delivery charge for their speedy service.

The next morning, my husband made a swift trip into the village and brought back some coffee. It might have been cheating to go out for lattes, but we couldn’t resist.

Sunriver Brewing Company in Sunriver, Oregon

Our second day was just as pleasurable with more bike rides and time in the village for window-shopping and a casual dinner at the Sunriver Brewing Company. The kids loved their natural, Angus beef burgers. My husband and I ordered refreshing summer salads loaded with berries, followed by tacos with blackened cod. The selection of local draft beers was impressive, a draw for any beer aficionado. After dinner we strolled into Goodies for ice cream cones and a to-go bag of yummy caramel corn.

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Our last day in Sunriver ended with a scenic trail ride courtesy of Sunriver Stables. My two girls and I opted for the thirty-minute “Bald Eagle Loop,” which took us along the Deschutes River and out across the Sunriver Meadows. The staff was very welcoming as they helped us choose equally affable horses. My only complaint was that photos aren’t allowed on the ride. The views were so stunning that I would have liked to capture them with my camera. We will definitely plan for a longer ride on our next visit.

I can’t wait to go back.

Make New Holiday Memories with Sunriver Resort’s Traditions

Family Sledding

No other time of year is the word “tradition” more sentimental than during the holidays. There’s the traditional game of touch football with the family before the bird is served on Thanksgiving Day. There’s the traditional trek into the wilderness to find the perfect Christmas tree. And maybe there’s the traditional passing of the gifts from oldest to youngest on Christmas Day. Every family has holiday rituals that are as important to them as the holidays themselves.

But one of the best parts about traditions is that there is always room for new ones.

And that’s exactly what awaits you and your family this holiday season at Sunriver – new Traditions. The resort’s annual holiday celebration is known as “Traditions” and is said to bring generations together for generations.

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Year after year visitors can expect great family-focused events with an emphasis on rekindling days gone by when sharing an experience as a family meant more than sharing it with your 1,000 friends on Facebook. (Although there will be plenty of iPhone camera-ready moments along the way.)

Sunriver Traditions festivities in 2016 begin earlier than in years past and continue through New Year’s Day. And there’s something for just about everyone during that time.

The month-long celebration began with a flip of a switch of sorts on November 19th during the Grand Illumination – Central Oregon’s largest outdoor light display. Kids will love the elf tuck-ins, the Bear Factory, visiting with Santa and trying to keep their hands off all the edible creations at the Gingerbread Junction.

Sunriver Resort Near Bend Oregon

There’s also guided snowshoe tours, snowmobile rides and, of course, daily shuttles up to Mt. Bachelor. (Sunriver currently has some amazing Kids Stay and Ski Free Packages for the holidays.)

It’s hard to beat Sunriver Resort during the holidays as it’s abuzz with visitors strolling around The Village at Sunriver, near the main lodge or out on the golf course in freshly fallen snow. Summer bike paths turn into cross country ski or snowshoe routes for you to get from one side of the resort to the other.

And there’s no need to lug your ski or snowboarding gear on the plane or pack it into the car. Rental shops like 4 Season Recreational Outfitters are fully stocked with everything you could possibly need to buy or rent during your stay.

Mt. Bachelor makes renting even easier with its on-hill services with both downhill and nordic skis and snowboards available. And if you’re looking for a little more adrenaline, head up to Wanoga Sno-Park and take out a snowmobile from Central Oregon Adventures for a couple hours or longer. (The four-hour rental window gives you time to hit up Elk Lake Resort for a hot beverage and to warm up a bit.)

Throw in an afternoon of ice skating at The Village and maybe a burger and a brew at Sunriver Brewing Co. and you have the makings of a perfect family holiday vacation.

Grab a Pint & Catch a Game Central Oregon Style

mcmenamins theater

Yes, Central Oregon is known as an outdoor adventure paradise where hiking, mountain biking and skiing are a way of life and the reason many people visit. But sometimes your team’s got a big game. And all you really want to do – even on your vacation – is find a great spot to watch it with a few more diehard fans.

Don’t worry. There are several great gameday locations – more than simple “sports bars” –  to belly up to the bar, grab a local beer, some great food and do nothing but watch football, playoff baseball, hockey or even NBA basketball and veg out (while probably eating meat.)

For really big games (and most Duck/Beaver games) you’ll want to head to McMenamins Old St. Francis School in downtown Bend. The theater screen becomes a really Big Screen TV for the games with plenty of couch seating available along with great food and beer. (The famous cajun tots are a must.) It’s the next best thing to watching it at home except you can’t flip the channels between plays (but you do have someone waiting on you!)

Currents Restaurant
Currents/Riverhouse on the Deschutes

If you’re after a diverse beer selection to go with your game, the newly-redesigned Currents Restaurant at Riverhouse on the Deschutes is the perfect place to spend a couple hours. The bar features rotating brews from just about every Central Oregon brewery, giving you a chance to essentially do the Ale Trail without leaving your seat. It’s your Seattle Seahawks gameday headquarters with some great food and drink deals as well.

In Downtown Bend, the new Beach Hut Deli might be the best place to watch a game that nobody’s heard of yet. Several big screen TVs are always showing games – and some of the booths have their own TVs! You can find TONS of sandwich options, gameday specials, a spacious patio, fire pit an an amazing beer tap lineup.

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If your team stinks but you just can’t miss the game anyway, you might need some awesome views to take your mind off the outcome. The Row, a pub at Tetherow Resort, has a couple of big screens in addition to amazing scenery out the huge windows overlooking the golf course. (A golf course ranked No. 54 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 Public Courses.)

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The Row at Tetherow Resort

Just about all of the brewpubs are good places to catch a game, especially Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. and Bend Brewing Co. The brewhaus at Sunriver Brewing Co. (both at the Sunriver and Bend locations) is another great option. And get this, there’s a children’s play area at the Sunriver pub.

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Photo by Talia Galvin

And one of my favorite spots is kind of underrated when it comes to cool sports-watching venues: Deschutes Brewery in Downtown Bend. There’s a big screen TV on both corners of the bar (just beyond the edges of that photo above) and a few more scattered around the restaurant. And, of course, the beer and the food are as good as it gets.

Great Getaways: Sunriver, Oregon

Sunriver Resort

The birds.

That’s one of the first things you’ll notice as you take an early morning stroll along the paths in Sunriver. Their songs. The clarity of their songs in an otherwise nearly silent setting among towering ponderosas, a lazy river and breathtaking mountain views.

Enjoy it while you can though. Because that tranquil scene and sense of calm slowly fades with each passing hour as families emerge from their rooms or vacation homes to grab breakfast, make it to their tee times or get their kayaks in the water.

Vacation typically doesn’t happen in silence.

The bird songs soon are joined by children laughing as their bike tires rattle the planks of a wooden bridge, the sounds of splashing pool water and the occasional thwack! of a golf ball from the Meadows Course nearby. It’s a pleasant symphony of noise though. It’s the escalating sounds of happiness.

Your perfect family vacation is getting off on the right foot.

A family riding bikes at Sunriver Resort near Bend, Oregon

Day One

It started when your family rolled into town and your luxury rental home from Sunriver Resort,  Sunset Lodging or Discover Sunriver Vacation Rentals. The hot tub and barbecue grill out back will definitely get some use this week because man (and a family of four on vacation) cannot live on eating out alone. And thanks to the farmer’s market every Friday in Sunriver, your at-home meals will have some true Northwest flair.

Lava Lands near Bend Oregon

Today you’ve got a field trip planned to the moon. Ok, so it’s not exactly the moon, but Lava Lands Visitors Center and Lava Butte just north of Sunriver is where the astronauts trained back in the 1960s.  Of course the history you’ll see along the Trail of Molten Lands goes back a little farther than just a few decades; try 7,000 years! The scenery is truly otherworldly.

Barn Owl in Sunriver, Oregon

The exploration continues back at the Sunriver Nature Center, where a gentle, interpretive trail walk and an up close and personal meeting with a raptor and owl await.

The day winds down back at home and back on that patio overlooking one of the bends of the little Deschutes River – captivating in its gentle, slow motion meandering.

Sunriver Resort

Day Two

Vacation mornings often (and rightfully so) start off a little slowly. The hustle and bustle of the morning routine is replaced with lingering cups of coffee and breakfasts that turn to brunch. What’s the hurry, right?

Sunriver Resort

But the day has to start sometime and while sitting along the river and doing nothing all day certainly is an option, other things are on the agenda. For mom and dad it’s a round of golf at the Meadows Course, located just behind the Sunriver Resort main lodge.

Meadows Golf Course, Sunriver Resort

For the kids, it’s a day at Fort Funnigan. Sunriver’s state certified child care center and day camp offers art classes, field trips and more including “Parents Night Out” evening programs that are a hit with both the kids and adults.

Fort Funnigan, Sunriver Resort

After lunch together at the Sunriver Brewing Company (a brewery with children’s play area, mind you) and an afternoon poolside at Sunriver’s huge aquatic center called the SHARC, it’s time for the family to hit the water for a family fun float down the Deschutes. The twilight trip finishes up with smores, beverages and a cowboy sing-a-long that the kids will love and you may or may not regret on the car ride home.

Family Fun Float at Sunriver Resort

Day Three

Today you’ll experience the “urban” side of Central Oregon. Urban, of course, is a relative term when the region’s biggest city of Bend has just 80,000 people. Big enough to offer all the amenities you might need (Best Buy, Olive Garden, Gap) but small enough where boutique stores like Hot Box Betty and Cascade Cottons are able to thrive.

Retail clothing photo by Jill Rosell in Bend, Oregon

You put down your smart phones and find a spot for lunch the old fashioned way – by asking a local for a tip on where to go. They point you to Pizza Mondo where you’re lucky enough to find the sidewalk table unoccupied. After a couple of slices of New York-style pie and some solid people watching, taking a walk through Drake Park is the perfect way to let lunch settle.

Drake Park in Downtown Bend, Oregon

After a couple hours of walking along the pond, tossing around a Frisbee with some locals and grabbing some shaved ice at a local food truck, you cap the day by taking in a $3 matinee movie, tater tots and craft beer at the theater inside McMenamin’s Old St. Francis School Pub and Brewery.

Mcmenamins Theater

 

Day Four

There’s time for one more walk along that quiet path through the resort. The kids are still asleep and your better half is repacking the bags you (incorrectly) packed night before. Those birds are singing again in the calm before the whirlwind of happiness kicks up again.

The trip will soon be over, but the memories – like morning coffee on vacation – will linger.

Sunriver Resort