30 SW Century Drive, #140, Bend, 541-797-6265, thealeapothecary.com. 2-7 pm Thursday-Saturday.
Ale Apothecary brewer Paul Arney doesn't have any trouble selling anything he makes. The Apothecary doesn't make much beer—just 300 barrels per year, all packaged in wine-sized bottles at wine-sized prices. And much of it is already spoken for through the brewery's exclusive 200-member ale club, which has a running wait list of 100. One of Oregon's most boldly experimental specialist brewers, Arney has taken a singularly idiosyncratic approach to beer and brewing, producing intriguing mixed- and wild-fermented beers with wine-like characteristics. The actual brewery, located outside of Bend, isn't open to the public, so make do with this simple, functional in-town taphouse instead. The taproom is pretty simple, just a walk-up counter and a few tables, but it's enough to be pleasantly sociable, and if Arney is in the house, he's always worth engaging in conversation. On the wall, you'll see pictures of the hollowed-out spruce tree, kuurna, that ferments some of Ale Apothecary's beers. If one of the specially tagged "ale club" beers is being offered by the glass, don't hesitate.
Nearby: If you're popping bottles at Ale Apothecary, you might as well make a night of it at Bend's best restaurant, Zydeco (919 NW Bond St., Bend, 541-312-2899, zydecokitchen.com). This Cajunish kitchen in downtown Bend makes scratch classics like jambalaya and pulled pork, plus variations like a batter-fried fish sandwich with potato chips and a truffle mac and cheese. We highly recommend the Cuban sandwich made with capicola.