The folks who call Bend, Ore. home are mighty lucky. Parked in the middle of the gorgeous Cascade Range, there is a never-ending assortment of skiing, hiking, fishing, biking and other outdoor endeavors within a quick drive of town. Plus, the 80,000-plus person hamlet is home to over 20 breweries, making it a contender for most breweries per capita each year.
Simply, it might just be the best place on the planet to explore the outdoors and the craft beer movement in the same day. “Yeah, it’s the best I’ve seen,” said Andy Goggins, Mt. Bachelor marketing director who has called Bend home for the last two years.
Furthering its embarrassment of riches, the area also has Mt. Bachelor, which keeps significant snowpack year round. That means you can après ski in August.
Summer skiing and riding is a way of life at Mt. Bachelor. Just try not to fall if you're going to keep you shirt unbuttoned like this guy.
Copyright: Mt. Bachelor Resort
“There are major snow fields in the summertime,” said Goggins. Some mountains are just luckier than the rest.
Where to Start
Leaving from the Sunrise Lodge base area, it’s about a three-hour rigorous hike that climbs more than 3,000 feet of vertical to the 9,065-foot summit of the resort. The west ridge route to the top is snow free, with the snowfields thickest in the middle of the bowls.
From the summit, summer skiers can easily drop in on any side of the mountain, offering a virtually unparalleled summer skiing experience. The snowfields generally extend all the way back to the top of the tree line, about 1,500 feet below (the snow maintains its best condition until about 10 a.m.). Those with legs of steel can try for a second lap by climbing back to the top after the first run. The rest of the world’s adventure-minded can head over to the Pine Marten Lodge, which is located conveniently at the top of the Pine Marten Express lift (7,775 feet) and near the bottom of the summer snowfields.
A beer and a burger at the Pine Marten Lodge is a great way to close out your summer ski morning on Mt. Bachelor.
Copyright: Brian Becker, Mt. Bachelor Resort
This cafe is open at 11 a.m. Friday–Sunday, offering a full array of ski/hike rewarding sandwiches, burgers and local beers best served on the deck. The lift (ticket required) can take tired skiers back to the base, too.
For those not in the mood for skiing, the hike itself is worthwhile, with impressive views at the summit showcasing the majestic Cascades, including Three Sisters Wilderness and the Cascade Lakes.
A beer at Pine Marten is still suggested in a hiking-only itinerary case, which should whet the palate for the second part of a beer-soaked outdoor adventure in Bend.
Where to Finish
Ask someone from Bend to list off their favorite breweries and you’ll get a different answer from just about every person you talk to. This means you basically cannot go wrong exploring the town’s dozen-plus breweries. Putting Goggins on the spot, the Mt. Bachelor representative offered these suggestions:
It seems the people behind The Good Life Brewing Co. want you to know what you are missing by living somewhere other than Bend. A stop into the homey pub showcases an array of beer profiles that most of us are certainly missing.
The list of “Best Pub” awards for 10 Barrel Brewing Co. only begins to tell the story. The delicious craft beers mesh with an engaging and lively atmosphere—there’s an outdoor fire pit—and great pizza that makes this tap room a must stop.
Another of the city’s beermakers, Crux Fermentation Project has already made a name for itself for its tasty rich beers and sours, diverse menu and really cool outdoor patio.
Of course, a beer tour in Bend is not complete without getting a taste of the biggest name in town: Deschutes. It’s known throughout the country for its great beers, but it might be better to forgo a brewery tour and head to the Deschutes Brewery Bend Public House. The brewery often uses this as a test kitchen, so to speak, meaning the beers served here are often not available anywhere else.
While you might be able to get Deschutes brews at home, a trip to the Deschutes Brewery Bend Public House will likely give you the opportunity to sample some suds that you can't find elsewhere.
Copyright: Deschutes Brewery Bend Public House.