Twenty-two breweries in Bend—and 29 in Central Oregon—proves our High Desert oasis truly is Beertown USA. To sift though the hundreds of local craft beers, we asked a local expert which ones are not to be missed. Jon Abernathy recently published Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon and has been blogging for more than a decade about all things beer on his website TheBrewSite.com. Here are some of his favorite local brews and pub food pairings.
The Ale Apothecary – Sahalie
This “new old-world ale” is brewed with a mix of wild yeast and bacteria—and aged for a year in oak barrels—and is one layer of flavor and character after another in a complex medley of sensory delights.
Food pairing – Cheese of all kinds
Crux Fermentation Project - Parkway Pilsner
Crux’s version is one of the best American craft pilsners I’ve tasted, is amazingly drinkable and has become my go-to beer when I visit the brewery.
Food pairing – Crux’s Grilled Cheesy
Deschutes Brewery – Bachelor Bitter
On tap at Deschutes Brewery since its inception, the English Bitter has layers of flavorful, pillowy malts and a generous amount of floral and spicy hops, and is simply one of the best sessionable pub drafts you can find in Central Oregon.
Food pairing – Brewery pretzel with cheese sauce
Three Creeks Brewing - Stonefly Session Ale
This rye beer (originally dubbed Stonefly Rye) has a suitably spicy character melded with citrusy hops that make this a super drinkable alternative to your typical pale ale.
Food pairing – Pulled pork sandwich
Bend Brewing Company - Ching Ching
This is simply one of the best sour beers in the region, a Berliner Weisse-styled wheat beer flavored with pomegranate and hibiscus that is bracingly tart and refreshing.
Food pairing – Cobb salad
Silver Moon Brewing – IPA 97
This “Best IPA” winner at Pine Tavern’s PT80 celebration balances fruity and piney hops with a well-balanced malt body, while hitting that IPA “sweet spot.”
Food pairing – Fish tacos
Boneyard Beer – Hop Venom
This double IPA has juicy, fruity notes that make this dangerously drinkable for its strength.
Food pairing – Barbecue
Sunriver Brewing Company – Cocoa Cow Chocolate Milk Stout
This chocolate milk in a pint glass stands out for both its well-crafted balance and its decadent layers of chocolate, possibly unlike anything you’ve had before.
Food pairing – Any rich, decadent dessert