Are You Ready For The 15th Annual Bend Brewfest?

There are breweries all across the U.S. that are making some truly great craft beers, but I find that I tend to favor those that come from the West coast: Washington, Oregon and California.  I’m sure that’s probably due, in part, to what I guess you’d call regional loyalty.  I live in Washington and grew up most of the way in California.  It’s probably also party due to the fact my first introduction to craft beers was in California were I was drinking stuff from some of the early craft beer pioneers like Sierra Nevada, Mendocino Brewing and Anderson Valley Brewing, just to name a few.

Despite my general West coast preferences, however, please don’t ever ask me to pick a single favorite beer or a single favorite brewery.  It’s just become too difficult with so many great craft beer producers out there today.  There are, however, some breweries in Oregon that are doing some truly amazing work, particularly in the Bend area.  I’m a big fan of Crux, Boneyard and, of course, The Ale Apothecary – who was recently named one of the best 25 breweries in America by Gear Patrol. Also on the list were other West coast breweries: de Garde, Lost Abbey, MonkishSante Adairius & Sierra Nevada.  Personally, I’m a bit disappointed that Seattle’s own Holy Mountain Brewing didn’t make the list.

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Pacific Wonderland Joins Deschutes’ Year-Round Lineup

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Bend Oregon is a great city for craft beer lovers.  Sure, there are plenty of great breweries right here in Seattle but that doesn’t mean we can’t also appreciate the well crafted libations coming from other great breweries throughout the Northwest and across the nation. There are lots of breweries in Bend who are doing it right and one of the oldest and most successful breweries to come out of Bend is Deschutes Brewery.

When I think Deschutes there are plenty of great beers that come to mind.  The Abyss and its variants are, of course, always a popular choice as is their well known Black Butte Porter (now at number XXVIII).  I’ve enjoyed a great number of Deschutes’ beers over the years including: Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Red Chair Northwest Pale (find this one on Nitro, if you can), Fresh Squeezed IPA, The Dissident and many, many more.

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Deschutes Brewery & Bendistillery Release Black Butte Whiskey

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Deschutes Brewery out of Bend and Portland Oregon puts out a wide variety of Ales.  Their most recognizable beers include Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale, Jubelale and, of course, their Black Butte Porter – both the regular and the annually-released, barrel-aged version.

The barrel-aged version of Black Butte is a bit different each year and can include additions like chilies, cranberries, orange peel, figs, vanilla beans or any number of other special ingredients.  I particularly enjoyed this year’s release of Black Butte XXVIII.  It had smooth well-blended flavors of vanilla and cocoa with just a touch of smoke, giving you a feel for the barrel the beer spent 12 months maturing in.

Now Deschutes has teamed up with Bendistillery, the same distillery that created the Crater Lake line of spirits, to bring to us a project 20 years in the making: Black Butte Whiskey.  Double distilled from the wash of Black Butte Porter, it sort of brings things full circle.

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Feral One Returns From Firestone Walker

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Firestone Walker Brewing Company has quite a diverse palate of beers.  They brew everything from a light and crisp Pilsner (Pivo Pils) to a hearty and robust Barleywine (§ucaba) and everything else in-between.  The have several different annual releases that are always eagerly anticipated by their fans: Parabola Russian Imperial Stout, Helldorado Imperial Blonde, Stickee Monkee Central Coast Quad and, of course, their annual Anniversary release (this year’s was their XVIIIth Anniversary).

Now, returning for it’s second year, is Feral One American Wild Ale (Batch 2).  Feral One is actually a blend of three different Firestone Walker Beers, each aged anywhere from 16 to 48 months in American and/or French Oak.  The three other Firestone Walker beers blended to create Feral One are: Solace American Pale Wheat (43%), Agrestic American Wild Red Ale (43%) and Lil Opal Saison (14%) – each an amazing beer in their own right.

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A Blizzard Of Local Winter Beers Return – UPDATED 11/16

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It may not be Winter yet, but that hasn’t stopped many of my favorite local Winter beers from returning (and don’t forget that International Stout Day is tomorrow, November 6th).  Already here are beers like Jubelale from Deschutes Brewing Company, Sleigh’r from Ninkasi Brewing Company, Bifrost from Elysian Brewing Company, Hoppy Holidays Winter Ale from Schooner Exact Brewing and Festivus Holiday Ale, which arrived just yesterday from Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor)

Over the next couple of weeks, even more Winter beers will be making their return.  Among them: B-Bomb (Bourbon Abominable Ale) from Fremont Brewing Company, Old Wooly Barleywine from Big Time Brewing Company, Overhang Bourbon Imperial Porter from Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor), Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout from Reuben’s Brews, and Gunpowder Plot Nitro Porter, arriving today from Black Raven Brewing Company.

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