Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Journey to: Bend, Oregon

I apologize for the extended absence.  In these last few weeks, I have been on 2 continents, 4 states and my day job has kept me preoccupied in the days in between.  Needless to say it has been a crazy beginning of fall.

A few weeks ago, R and I journeyed up north to visit my best friend.  Neither one of us had been to Oregon, but my friend loves it since moving there last year.  Also, it is very difficult to turn down the opportunity to spend some time in an actual summer climate, so we hopped on a plane for a weekend away.

Bend feels like a small town, but very hip and new.  In the last few years, Bend has grown exponentially, attracting young people to the fresh, mountain air, numerous outdoor activities and a beer scene that is seemingly unrivaled.  Our entire weekend focused on experiencing all that the town has to offer from breweries, ciders and liquors.

The place is home to over 14 local breweries.  Delicious, unique craft beers.  Most of them within the last 5-10 years.  To kick off the weekend, we headed straight from the airport to McMenamins Old St. Francis School (a converted Catholic school) for a couple of pints, fire pit and bar eats.

First thing Saturday morning, we headed out for a run on a wooded trail along the river.  Bend is also the perfect outdoor playground for adults.  Running, hiking, kayaks, paddle-boarding, skiing, ect ect ect.  For me, running is the perfect way to get introduced to a new place, and with a trail about a 1/4 mile from where we were staying, it was easy to lose yourself in the fresh air and winding river views.

Next was the Bend Brew Bus Tour.  The brew bus will actually pick you up where you are staying, spend the afternoon visiting various drinking establishments, before taking back to your doorstep.  The perfect (and safest) way to experience all the amazing adult beverages the town can offer.  We did the "Local Pour Tour", tasting beer, cider, wine and spirits.

After a full day (and night) of drinking various beers, wines and spirits; we dedicated Sunday to an outdoor activity.  We headed out of the city for a hike in one of the nearby state parks.  On our drive, we passed a vast lava field.  The highway is flanked on both sides by grey/black rocks as far as the eye can see.  A mixture of rocky ground with smooth channels where lava had once flowed through, creating red hot rivers along the landscape.  It is one of the most barren places I had seen, but with a light fog rolling it felt nearly mystical.  The hike eventually got rained out, but we managed to enjoy a short walk through the lava fields and learning the peak names of the surrounding mountains.  

Our final stop on Sunday was Crux, a new brewery/restaurant with amazing wood and copper details.  The place was full, but we found a long, shared table where the 4 of us immediately ordered a full round of tastings.  We tried 12 different varieties, from red ales to a banished imperial stout.  I have been living in Northern California for over 8 years, so I have gotten familiar with wine tasting and the unique flavors that come out depending on how a wine is made, but beer...that's a whole new thing!  It was fascinating (and awesome) to hear a full town of people so passionate about the different flavors and types of beer.  The subtleties that you can pick up when you slow down enough to truly taste the drink.  Besides beer, Crux also had an amazing menu of bar bites, including a "Grilled Cheesy" (asiago-cheese-crusted panini).  A unique twist on the traditional hamburger and fries.

With a weekend truly full of eating and drinking, it felt necessary to come home on Monday to salads and rehydration!

Our little buddy for the weekend!
Hops and Crux Fermentation Project

Lava fields to wildflowers.


  1. McMenimins are so great, glad you got to experience one! -Nicole

    1. I know, the concept of what they do is awesome!


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