To Boise, Idaho:
Prodigal Son Brewery
230 SE Court Ave., Pendleton, 541-276-6090, prodigalsonbrewery.com. 11 am-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday, noon-9 pm Sunday.
LET 'ER BUCK / The only brewpub in this town of cowpokes and wheat farmers marks 10 years inside a former Packard dealership. Prodigal Son's rustic interior and mismatched flea market-style furniture fit the mood of rough-and-tumble Pendleton, known for its annual rodeo. Having a beer here after watching a cowboy get bucked should be on your list of must-do Oregon experiences.
Drink: Wet your whistle with the seasonal fruit ale—last summer, it tasted like wild huckleberries in a glass of lemonade.
Side A Brewing
1219 Washington Ave., La Grande, 541-605-0163, sideabrewing.com. 11 am-9 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday.
WHERE THERE'S SMOKE / It's easy to miss Side A if you're not paying attention. The brewery is housed in a former firehouse, with a sign that still reads "La Grande Fire Dept." Inside, the hot shots have been replaced by customers tucking into outstanding pub fare prepared by chef Travis Hansen, formerly of Widmer's Gasthaus, but you'll still find the artifacts of their profession. While waiting for dinner, tour everything from old extinguishers to vintage fire engines in the attached museum.
Drink: Brewer Nicholas Fairbanks makes a hard-to-find altbier that's a deep copper color and tastes like a chewy, toasted bagel.
Barley Brown’s Beer
2200 Main St., Baker City, 541-523-2337, barleybrownsbeer.com. 2-10 pm-ish daily. 2190 Main St., Baker City, 541-523-4266. 4-10 pm Monday-Saturday.
HEAVY MEDAL / Decades ago, Tyler Brown started brewing on a hobbyist's kit in the kitchen of his family's Mexican restaurant. Little did anyone know it would eventually lead to a business that helped define the state's craft beer scene, and place a small city near the Oregon-Idaho border on the brewing community's map. That restaurant is now the pub, with Barley Brown's award-winning brews on tap in a country-style, wood-and-brick steakhouse. Or you can take a seat near the tanks that have produced some of the state's most decorated beers in the airy taproom across the street.
Drink: I'd drive 300 miles any day to get Pallet Jack from its wellspring.
To Walla Walla, Wash.:
Dragon’s Gate Brewery
52288 Sunquist Road, Milton-Freewater, dragonsgatebrewery.com. 4-7 pm Friday, noon-6 pm Saturday.
BEND THE KNEE / Adam and Jennifer Gregory have created one of the state's most unique brewery settings—part Belgian farmhouse, part King's Landing. The couple converted a cow barn on their 10-acre farm into a brewhouse and tasting room adorned with faux stone walls, suits of armor, and dragon skeletons that look snatched from Westeros. Drink among the serpent bones, or park yourself at a picnic table on the lawn, where you can enjoy a view of the Gregorys' jet-black Friesian horses and the surrounding orchards, which supply some of the fruit used in the beers, including a plum-apricot hybrid called a pluot.
Drink: Order anything made with fruit, like Dracarys!, a tangerine grisette.
To Wallowa Lake:
Terminal Gravity Brewing
803 SE School St., Enterprise, 541-426-3000, terminalgravitybrewing.com. 11 am-9 pm Wednesday-Monday.
MOUNTAIN HIGH / Getting to Terminal Gravity is a six-hour journey that takes you through the Gorge, over high desert and across nearly 20 miles of canyonland before dead-ending at the snow-streaked Wallowa Mountains. It's that sense of isolation and jaw-dropping natural beauty that makes you appreciate everything here a little more, from the creek that meanders by picnic tables in the brewpub's front yard to the Corriente beef that arrives in your burger. The environment also contributes to the quality of the beer: Terminal Gravity's water comes from the surrounding streams fed by snow runoff.
Drink: Eagle Cap IPA captures the essence of a pine cone that's fallen onto a damp forest floor.
To the Tri-Cities:
Burnt Field Brewing
1 E Marine Drive, Boardman, 541-288-4005, burntfieldbrewing.com. 11:37 am-8 pm or later daily.
ALL ABOARD / Ordnance brewer Logan Mayfield left that company in 2018 to give drinkers in this Columbia River port town another homegrown beer brand. Housed in the city's 1916 train depot, Burnt Field leans into the ride-the-rails theme with crossing signs on the walls, tie spikes molded into door handles, and an unusual opening time of 11:37 am—that's when the daily train would arrive in Boardman, though the brewery is a bit more flexible than that era's conductors and lets folks in early, where a list of brick oven-baked pizzas awaits.
Drink: Prescription Pale Ale is an adaptation of an Ordnance recipe—its mix of lemon and grapefruit offers relief on a hot day in the shrub-steppe region.
405 N Olson Road, Boardman, 541-314-8720, ordnancebrewing.com. 2-8 pm Monday-Thursday, 2-9 pm Friday, noon-9 pm Saturday, noon-6 pm Sunday.
GHOST TOWN / Not many people get to visit Ordnance's namesake. Craig Coleman, who owns both the brewery and the ghost town just east of Boardman, doesn't hold public tours—in fact, he farms much of the land. But photos of the community, before it was abandoned, adorn the taproom walls. Umatilla Army Depot workers and their families lived there before it became a pig farm and then Coleman's property. Former Deschutes brewer Paul Anderson has maintained the quality of the beer following Logan Mayfield's departure, helping turn the locals on to hops. "I've grown accustomed to IPAs," one said while ordering the Oregon Farmer hazy.
Drink: Bloops Blueberry Wheat ale is still one of Ordnance's best beers and uses fruit from Coleman's farm.