In addition to the plethora of outdoor activities that attract people from all around the world to Bend, there is another attraction that has been drawing in crowds over recent years. That attraction is beer. With 16 breweries in Bend alone, and more in the other cities in Central Oregon, there is plenty to go around for a city of about 80,000 people. One of Visit Bend’s greatest ideas was the formation of the Bend Ale Trail. The idea of the Ale Trail was to highlight the breweries in the area and provide a “road map” for tourists to find these breweries. The current version of the Ale Trail Map has 9 breweries on it; Deschutes Brewery, 10 Barrel, Boneyard Beer, McMenimen’s, Silver Moon, Bend Brewing Co, Cascade Lakes Brewing, GoodLife Brewing, and Brew Werks. A new trail map is in the works with a few more breweries located on in including Bend’s newest breweries, Crux Fermentation, and Worthy Brewing. If you follow the Ale Trail map to all nine of the breweries and get a stamp from each in your passport, you can take your passport back to the Bend Visitor Center and get a prize.
Most people get their stamps over a period of several days, though I have known a few hardy people who got all nine in one day. If you are limited on time and attempt to get them all in one day, you don’t have to get a full size beer to get your stamp; you can just get a few samplers at each place. As for getting around on your day of drinking, there are several options to avoid having to track down a designated driver. In addition to a walking or taking a taxi, there are several small carter bus companies that you can reserve seats on that will travel to all the breweries on the Ale Trail; the Bend Brew Bus, the GETIT Shuttle, and the Bend Trolley. If you need some exercise to burn off the beer while you are on the trail you can always take the Cycle Pub, which is a 14 person pedal powered car/bike/bar.
If you enjoy craft beer, the Ale Trail is a great excuse to get out and sample the excellent breweries that we are fortunate to have in our city. After visiting all these breweries you may need to put in a few more miles out at Phil’s Trail to burn off all that beer.