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A weekend of fun in Sunriver and Bend, Oregon

July 30, 2010

It seems that every weekend this summer we have been busy with one thing or another, and every weeknight I’ve been exhausted from a long day at work. It’s not a surprise then that Good Beer Trips has suffered.

by Samantha - 2010

The weekend before last was one of those busy weekends.  The Dancer and Jules (my Uncle and Aunt from Portland) invited us down to the resort community of Sunriver, Oregon where they rented a kick butt house for a family get together.  The special guests for the weekend were Jules brother Patrick visiting from Alabama with his two eldest kids, Samantha and Austin, from Florida, and his youngest son, Cole, from Alabama.  In addition, my cousin, West, flew in from San Francisco for the weekend and my cousin, Whitney, who lives and owns the Sparrow Bakery in nearby Bend, Oregon joined us when she could.

This was primarily a weekend to hang with the family, so the focus was not on Good Beer Trips.  Nonetheless, LushC and I were able to get out to Bend (about 15 miles away) for an afternoon of brewery hopping on Saturday.  Time was limited, and one of us had to drive back, so we only made it to three of the ten Pubquest listed breweries, brewpubs, tap houses, and alehouses in Bend.  Yes, Bend is quite a Beer Town!

Sparrow Bakery
On our way in to town we made a stop at the incredible Sparrow Bakery, to say hi to Whitney and get some coffee (we were going to pay but she wouldn’t let us). It’s a little off the beaten path, in an old factory pay office in the industrial area of town, but is well worth seeking out.  If you don’t believe me, check out some of their press in the The Bulletin and Sunset Magazine. Their pastries are French influenced and made from scratch. The house specialty is the hand-folded croissants and the Ocean Rolls inspired by a recipe of my grandmother’s aren’t far behind. They also do savory, serving breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, soups and salads all day.  Of course, they serve coffee and espresso drinks, both hot and cold.

Bend Brewing Company
We chose Bend Brewing Company, 1019 NW Brooks St, as the first brewery of the day. This was our second visit, and it definitely deserved the return visit. The atmosphere is large and open, with a modern Northwest feel.  They have plenty of indoor seating, a large patio area, and ample space at the bar. The brewing equipment is on the second floor, with large windows to make it visible down below.

The service was excellent. Our waitress, Sara, was very helpful, informative, and attentive.

The Menu is locally flavored up-scale pub food. Since it was lunch time, we made the executive decision to get a bite to eat. We ordered up the Tri-Tip Steak Salad and a basket of their homemade chips and salsa to share.  Both arrived in a fair amount of time, and were very good.

The beer list was rather long, so we went with a sampler to share. Of the nine beers on the tray the Pinnacle Porter and Axe Head Red were by far my favorites, but all of them were first-rate.  I tip my hat to brewmaster Tonya Cornett for a job well done.

BEER SAMPLER
German Hefeweizen (seasonal) – very crisp and refreshing. Has a classic German Hefeweizen banana flavor with a hint of spice.
High Desert Hefeweizen – American style citrusy Hefeweizen with a hoppy kick, very good and pleasant.
Metolius Golden Ale – crisp light beer, perfect for a hot day and the beer shy.
Elk Lake IPA – A NW IPA with lots of citrus and pine aroma and a kick of hop flavor, yet not to overpowering.
Rocky Stein Lager – nice mellow medium malted lager with a bit-o-honey flavor and a nice hoppy finish, very smooth, Lush C’s favorite.
Black Diamond Dark Lager(seasonal) – A Mexican style dark lager served with a lime. Smooth, dark, yet crisp and light. Adding the lime gives it a nice citrus kick. It made me want to go to Mexico.
Eclipse Black IPA – sweet up front, with a hoppy middle, and a roasted malt finish.
Axe Head Red (seasonal) – my favorite so far, I Sure like them Reds. Rich, malty, and smooth, with enough hops at the end to give it a little bite.
Outback Old Ale – The flavor explodes in your mouth. Hints of smoked malts, coffee, and plenty of  hops at the end.
Pinnacle Porter – A perfect porter with flavors of chocolate, and coffee. Very robust and smooth.

Silver Moon Brewing
After leaving Bend Brewing, we made it the 5 blocks to 24 NE Greenwood Ave. and the home of Silver Moon Brewing.  The last time we were there, it was a Saturday night and it was so packed there was no place to sit.  Thankfully, for us, this time we easily found seats the bar.  Being less crowded, it was easy to see that this was a cool place to hang out; somewhere I would have spent a lot of time at in my college days. One side has a pool table and the other has a small stage.  On the walls were great Trompe-l’oeil murals that blended right into the corners.   There were a dozen or so tables and plenty of stools at the bar.  We didn’t check out their menu, but from their website it looks like they focus on pizza and sandwiches.

We did order a beer sampler, surprise. It was brought to us by our bartender extraordinaire, Guy.  Guy is also a ceramic artist and sells his pottery in the store next to Sparrow Bakery, definitely worth checking out.  The standouts in the flight were the flagship Hound’s Tooth Amber and the Hob Knob IPA.

BEER SAMPLER
Bridge Creek Pilsner – a very floral hoppy pilsner, more of a pale ale, but good and crisp as it should be.
Epic Trail Ale (Rye pale ale) – a fruity light ale, with a nice hop and grain finish.
High Plains Hefeweisen – light German style wheat beer with a banana and spice (clove) taste upfront, and a refreshing finish. A LushC favorite.
Badland’s ESB – very bold for an ESB, more of a copper or amber in my opinion. A little on the sweet side, with a mild hop finish.
Hound’s Tooth Amber – very well balanced malt and hop character. At 4.9 – 5.5% ABV, depending on the batch, this is a great session beer.
Hop Knob IPA (100 % whole flower hops). Very pleasant, hops definitely there but doesn’t burn your buds. This would be a daily drinker for me if I lived in Bend.
Snake Bite Porter – very smoky robust porter, nice and smooth, a good winter beer.
Hoptagon (Imperial IPA) Wow that’s a lot of beer! Sweet, fruity and a peppery hop finish that weighs in at 9.9% ABV.  It was too much for LushC, but I enjoyed it.

Boneyard Brewing
Thanks to information from Guy, we decided to go to Boneyard Brewing, instead of the Deschutes Public House. We’ve been to the latter before, and Boneyard is so new that we had to check it out. (They’ve only been open for a few months) They are located at 37 NW Lake Pl. in a metal industrial building just on the edge of downtown. There is no pub at Boneyard, just a tasting room where you get FREE samples while you decide on what to fill in your growler.

We were greeted by Clay, Chug-Meister, from behind the counter as we entered. He quickly summed up that this was our first visit and began pouring up our first FREE sample of Girl Beer.  While sipping on this offering he told us a bit of their history.  Boneyard isn’t just their name, it is their brewery. At the time of our visit the brewing equipment was 100% recycled form various other breweries.  This will soon change as a canning line and larger fermenters are on the way. After meeting the lovely Melodee and another FREE sample, this time the Benefit Pale Ale, we realized we had no cash to buy a growler and t-shirt.  LushC generously offered to walk the three (ended up being six) blocks to a cash machine.  Meanwhile, I stayed and had more FREE samples. (I think I got the better deal of this one)

Following a trip to the boy’s room I took a look around the brewery where I ran into Brewmaster Tony.  He pointed out all the equipment, and it was easy to see that the 20bbl mashtun and kettle were far larger than the fermenters (3bbl???). Tony said it is a challenge trying to scale down the batches to the capacity of the fermenters. When I interrupted him, he was about to dry hop a couple of oak barrels, and he soon put me to work pouring the loose leaf hops in a mesh bag.

Once the dry hopping was complete, I headed back to the tasting room looking for LushC.  There was a large crowd, but no LushC. Starting to worry a bit, I headed out on the streets looking for her.  When I turned the corner, there she was, strolling down the street. (yeah!) Not only was the bank farther away than expected, she ran in to a  lady looking for directions that wouldn’t take “I don’t know” for an answer.  We returned, bought a growler of Girl Beer and a t-shirt, and then head back to Sunriver, very happy after a great visit to Boneyard. (Bend Brewing and Silver Moon too!)

BEER SAMPLER
Girl Beer (Cherry wheat ale) – nice light and refreshing with just a hint of fruit. A Beermosa!
Benefit Pale Ale (Grainy pale ale) – I liked it, though they were not too happy about it.
Black 13 – very smooth roasted malt flavor black ale – I love it !!!!!!
Dirty Girl – blend of Girl Beer and Black 13. Too bad I don’t remember it.

That night, we had a great meal prepared by Whitney and her friend Jess, drank a bit, and watched Uncle Buck. (There were only so many VHS movies to choose from)  The next day, we got a Pontoon Boat on Elk Lake, and spent the afternoon on the water.  It was an awesome day of fun, sun, swimming, and beer.  One of the highlights was when we brought out our mixed Rap CD (thanks Sarah G.) and got the boat thumping, getting a lot of strange looks as we pulled back into the Marina.  We returned to the house, had another great meal, this time prepared by Whitney and me, and settled down, all exhausted from the incredible day.

As all good things do, the fun came to an end on Monday, and we headed back home to Seattle.  We’ll need to return to Bend and hit the breweries we missed; Deschutes, 10 Barrel, McMenemins Old St. Francis School, and Cascade Lakes. We did make a stop on the way at Mt Hood Brewing, which will be saved for another post.

So this is Bud Light - By Samantha - 2010

On Tuesday, we got to play tourist in home town as Patrick, Samantha, Austin, and Cole came up for the afternoon.  We showed them Alki, the West Seattle Water Taxi, the Waterfront, Pike Place Market, the Monorail, the Space Needle, EMP (Lobby), Seattle Center, and Pioneer Square.  Yes, a very busy day. We promised that when they return and have more time, we’ll show them the various neighborhoods that make Seattle special.

All in all we had a great time, and have to thank the Dancer and Jules for putting this weekend together.  It was wonderful meeting Jules beautiful family and I hope to see them again soon. Spending more time getting to know my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins was also magnificent. This is what summer is all about!

Cheers,

DraughtE

Yo FTC, We paid for everything, unless we got it for free.  Know what I’m saying?  If we got it for free we mentioned it. Know what I’m saying?  Sparrow Bakery is my Cousin’s place, so I might have a bias. Word!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 31, 2010 9:21 am

    I enjoyed all the beers you brought to Sunriver and you were a good sport about the young guys’ Budlight fixation. It was a magical weekend for me… I felt a special happiness I haven’t experienced for a long time.

  2. August 1, 2010 8:17 pm

    Too much fun. I hate you.

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