There are so many activities for groups and incentives to experience in and around Sunriver Resort – golfing, fly fishing, whitewater rafting, bike tours – the list goes on. One of the most unique incentives is the Bend Brew Bus offered by our partner Wanderlust Tours.
Central Oregon (and Bend in particular) is growing into quite the beer Mecca with ten microbreweries – that’s one brewery for every 8,000 people. The main reason; the water. The snow melt from the Cascade Mountain range is filtered multiple times through volcanic rock layers and results in some of the best tasting water on the planet…especially for beer!
The Bend Brew Bus tour takes you and your group to four breweries. When I was asked to experience the tour for "work research" (I love my job, by the way), I had the pleasure of visiting the four brewers below.
First stop: Deschutes Brewery - the largest craft brewer in the State of Oregon producing about 200,000 barrels a year. Quality and consistency are their core values, but when there is a "mistake", instead of pouring it down the drain, it could make its way to the employee break room tap! On the tour we got to sample one of those mistakes and it was arguably the best mistake I’ve ever tasted.
Second stop: Silver Moon Brewing Company. This place is a decidedly more local/neighborhoody type of place. Pub up front and brew business in the back. Silver Moon was started about ten years ago and now produces about 1300 barrels a year. It was here that I learned the yeast used in beer production can be used up to 200 times. At Silver Moon, depending on the beer, they reuse the yeast about 16 times.
Third stop: Boneyard Beer. The building looks like a tin shed mechanic's building, but inside you'll find some of the best brews around. Boneyard is a tribute to the used, dented and unwanted brewing equipment that they used to start their business. As our server explained though, "just because it's not pretty, doesn't mean it doesn't work well." The intimate tasting room could best be described as a motorcycle mechanic shop waiting room - which works. I loved the local, edgy feel and there were plenty of other people there that loved it too. We tasted a few brews, and a stand out was a Chocolate Espresso Stout called The Backbone. The server told me that there was so much coffee used that the caffeine and alcohol cancel each other out. I’ll go with that.
Fourth and final stop: Cascades Lake Brewing Company. This brewery was started in nearby Redmond in 1993 and expanded into Bend. This is a popular stop for après ski on the way back from a day of skiing on Mt. Bachelor. Restaurant and bar on the main floor and pool, video games and darts upstairs. We were able to taste six very distinct beers at Cascade Lakes with some appetizers to top off the day.
Upon my return home that evening, I had the option of a fine Oregon Pinot Noir or a Deschutes Brewery seasonal Jubleale. I usually have a glass of wine with dinner and you'd think after an afternoon of beer tasting, I might be done for the day...but the Jubleale won out. Another fan of fine Bend beer is born!
This tour is great for small or large groups up to 24 people. Plan for about 5 hours with roundtrip transfers from Sunriver Resort...leave at 12:30 pm and return by 5:30 pm. Visit the Wanderlust Tours website or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this and other tours.
Cheers! Todd Wells - Director of Corporate Sales - Sunriver Resort.
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