The Bend Ale Trail

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Ah, Bend. The outdoorsy little town nestled in sweet central Oregon. Its intoxicating vibes and surrounding beauty will have you head over heels the moment you arrive. It is also home to the Bend Ale Trail, what is claimed to be the ‘largest beer trail in the west’. If locals aren’t out exploring the endless natural beauty that Bend has to offer, you can bet they are kicking back a few cold ones with their friends and family at a brewery. Or quite possibly they are doing both! Beer float down the Deschutes river, anyone? 

The trail even has an app for your smart phone to help guide you on your boozy adventure. Impressive right? Boasting of 16 glorious breweries, the Bend Ale Trail is not for the faint-hearted so come prepared and drink responsibly! Below is the list of breweries that we visited and a little insight on our experience at each stop. Although we did not complete the entire trail, I would say we did a pretty impressive job having had two children along for the ride!

Fellow parents rejoice – Bend’s breweries are extremely kid friendly and you can read further on that at the bottom of this page.

 

Deschutes Tasting Room

Deschutes Brewery is one of my all time favorites! They have a tasting room + brewery tour option at their main hub and then a brewpub in the downtown area. I have been to both locations but I am partial to the tasting room [I’ve been there three times now]. The bartenders were very knowledgeable, friendly, and offered quick service. Their beer is still my favorite in Bend and it is always fun to try their new seasonal batches.

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PROS

  • Great beer
  • Great Service
  • Awesome brewery tours
  • Cool souvenirs
  • Minors welcome

CONS

  • No dogs allowed in the tasting room
  • Small space, gets crowded and loud very quickly

My Top Picks

  • Fresh Squeezed IPA
  • Pacific Wonderland Lager
  • Red Chair NWPA
  • And basically every other beer they brew

 

Worthy Brewing

The runner up is Worthy Brewing. This brewery offers indoor and outdoor seating and a large menu of both beer and food to choose from. The beer garden portion is spacious with lots of seating, but could use a bit more shade on hot days. Overall, we had a great experience. Check their online calendar for upcoming events such as Twilight Tunes, Geeks Who Drink, and Worthy Wednesdays.

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My apologies for not getting a shot of their outdoor beer garden! I blame it on my kids..

PROS

  • Delicious food + beer
  • Minors welcome
  • Dogs welcome [on patio only]
  • Host fun events
  • Accommodates large groups well

CONS

  • Service on the slower side
  • Patio seating has limited shade

My Top Picks

  • Worthy IPA
  • Stoker Red Ale

 

10 Barrel Brewing Co. [West]

We unfortunately were unable visit this time around [so my memory is a bit hazy], but I have visited 10 Barrel on a previous trip. It offered beautiful outdoor seating, tasty beer, and even tastier food. It is a hot spot for locals and tourists alike!

 

Goodlife Brewing

Load up the kids [furry ones too!] and pack the sunscreen because Goodlife Brewing has an awesome beer garden! The outdoor drinking area offers 2 bocce ball courts, cornhole, plenty of seating, and good times. If the weather isn’t to your liking, they also have an indoor taproom with a food menu.

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PROS

  • My favorite beer garden of the trip
  • They have cider + kombucha inside
  • Minors welcome
  • Dogs welcome

CONS

  • The beer garden only had 3 beers on tap to choose from
  • You couldn’t take tasting flights outside

 

Bend Brewing Co.

I really wanted to love this brewery more. When it comes to location, it’s hard to beat. But the beer was only so-so. BBC is located in the heart of downtown and is perfectly situated right along the river. The grassy lawn right outside the brewery is a very beautiful place to enjoy a cold brew. It’s definitely worth checking out for the scenery alone and afterwards you can continue your day strolling around Mirror Pond or perusing downtown shops.

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PROS

  • They DO allow tasting flights outside
  • Beautifully located
  • They have a lot of beer to choose from
  • Good vibes from the crowds that gathered here
  • Full food menu
  • Minors welcome
  • Dogs welcome

CONS

  • I wasn’t very impressed by their beer
  • Service experience was meh
  • It can get very busy

 

Cascade Lakes Brewing Co.

The beer and food, excellent. But the location and ambience left something to be desired. Which for me, is 99% of the reason why I go to any brewery – for the experience. The brewery felt extremely dated and stuffy [in my opinion]. Unfortunately, it was perfect for a lunch stop, but not much else.

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PROS

  • Great beer
  • Great food
  • Minors welcome
  • Dogs welcome on patio

CONS

  • Slow [but friendly] service
  • Blah vibes
  • In a random location

My Top Picks

  • Rose City Sour
  • Cascade IPA

 

QUICK RANT: For all my fellow family readers out there…

Probably my favorite part about Bend’s breweries is that they are SO family friendly. Literally, strollers and babies galore. Rather than feeling uncomfortable as you dodge judgmental eyes while your child is having yet another tantrum, you get a subtle salute from fellow parents who understand the struggle – because they too are just trying to enjoy this beautiful day, juggle the chaos that is known as parenthood, AND finally get around to drinking your [now warm] beer. Cheers to good vibes and warm beer!

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Our first ‘family of four’ selfie 😉


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