Boneyard has always been the nonconformist bad boy of Bend's brewing scene. Having scraped together old equipment from 13 different breweries across the country, Tony Lawrence decided to proudly embrace that pick-'n'-pull theme and put it in the branding. It's also the most popular beer maker in Central Oregon that, until recently, didn't have a pub. That changed last summer when Boneyard moved out of its garage-sized tasting room in a former auto shop, which only sold flights. You can now order a regular pint and actually sit down at the sprawling new location. The former Chinese restaurant is essentially divided into three sections: a brick-walled beer hall with a decibel level on the painful side of the scale, a smaller room that feels like a college student union scattered with couches and armchairs, and a back bar—the strongest evidence of its past life. The dimly lit dive, with a wall of booth seating upholstered in shiny black vinyl that could've been ripped from a classic car, is the best place to drink, but if that's too crowded, head to the patio and huddle up near the double-sided fireplaces. RPM, the classic, just-dank-enough IPA that made Boneyard a powerhouse, is always on tap. But since you made the trip, branch out. The sour program is hit-and-miss, but I discovered a quality wild ale called Funky Bunch that tasted like raspberry jam crossed with a tannic wine. And the Bone-A-Fide Pale, RPM's less-aggressive little brother, offers a mix of pine and lemon that's as bright and cleansing as Bend's average of 260 sunny days a year. ANDI PREWITT.
Eat this: Buh-bye, burger and fries. Always the rebel, you won't find a typical pub menu at Boneyard, which instead offers cuisine that leans Asian with touches of Latin flavors. Think of the Posole ($3.50 a cup, $8 a bowl) as the Mexican version of chicken noodle soup—warming, nourishing and soul-soothing.
Opened in 1995, Bend Brewing is the city's second-oldest brewery. And until recently, it felt a little tired. The staid tap list and dull interior seemed as bleak as the empty lots surrounding the property. But three years ago, a couple from Denver took over and eventually hired Zach Beckwith, formerly of Three Creeks, as head brewer. Just like that, Bend Brewing's beer options got a breath of fresh air. So did the pub—literally—when the new owners busted through the front wall and installed a garage-door style window that flips up in good weather. They also purchased a neighboring parcel of land, transforming it into one of Bend's best beer gardens, with a lush lawn and waterfront views of Mirror Pond. On hot summer days when pub crawling downtown, Dortmunder—a classic German export-style lager made with sweet Vienna malt—is just about perfect as it tingles and fades into a dry, crisp finish. Though when you're in the mood to just sink into the grass, soak up the sun and basically camp out in the pub's backyard, Tropic Pines will help you fall into a peaceful slumber. It's an IPA that'll make you forget all about the muted citrus that abounds in today's ubiquitous hazys and long for the depth and piny dankness in more complex iterations like this one.
Eat this: BBC has quintessential brewery food that'll leave you feeling full and happy. Anything that leans Southwestern, like the crisp breaded cod crowded into a tortilla with crunchy slaw ($13.50), tends to edge out other dishes. And if you're sharing, the answer here is nachos ($11.50), where there's never a naked chip.
Deschutes Brewery Public House
Deschutes Brewery is a Bend institution, and deservedly so. The Public House, opened way back in 1988, is a downtown anchor and favorite of locals and tourists alike. While the company had some stumbles in the past year (including laying off 10 percent of its workforce in December), you wouldn't know it from a visit to the pub. The space is comfortable and inviting even as it gets crowded, and a menu of upscale comfort food complements a varied and solid beer list. Everybody (rightly) knows flagships Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale, and Fresh Squeezed IPA is its best seller. But Da Shootz! is new, a "lifestyle lager" that's crisp and refreshing, with light hops reminiscent of a fruited tea. Take note of the pub specialties you won't find elsewhere—a balance of classic styles and more exotic offerings such as Dark Cherry Sour and Pinot Gris Pale Ale. And don't miss the two cask handles—if Bachelor Bitter is on cask, it's a must-try. JON ABERNATHY.
Eat this: You can't go wrong with most choices, but two favorites are the three-cheese Pub Mac & Cheese ($14.25), and the tender and succulent elk burger ($16). You might want to skip straight to dessert for the peanut butter pie ($6.50) for a decadent peanut butter and chocolate experience.
Monkless Belgian Ales
One thing you'll notice about Monkless Belgian Ales is that you're sitting in a working brewery, within reach of pallets of kegs and cases of beer on one side and the industrial cooler on the other. That's perhaps not unusual for a small, modern tasting room, but Monkless has also managed to carve out a unique niche in beer-saturated Bend by brewing exclusively Belgian-style ales. That's right, no IPAs to be seen; the closest you'll find is Capitulation, a dry-hopped Belgian tripel that expresses floral, herbal hop notes with a bit of citrusy pith. Shepplekofeggan is the house witbier, dry and crisp with a mellow Cream of Wheat body tempered by lemongrass and coriander. The imperial version of that is the Peppercorn Wit, spiced with whole peppercorns, which works surprisingly well. Meet Your Maker is the brewery's burly 9 percent ABV flagship, a rich, dark Belgian strong ale full of dried fruit and caramel flavors. Despite an average strength of nearly 8 percent ABV across the board, all the beers are balanced and drinkable, and a nice break from hop-heavy styles. JON ABERNATHY.
Wild Ride Brewing
332 SW 5th St., Redmond, 541-516-8544, wildridebrew.com. 11 am-10 pm daily.
Wild Ride is actually Redmond's sixth brewery, but until it opened, I have to admit I never stopped for beer in the city less than 30 minutes north of Bend. Right from the start, Wild Ride came off as the new kid in town who had a little more edge than the older, play-it-safe breweries. The brash branding, fiery red accents splashed throughout the former lumber warehouse it now calls home and the taster trays fashioned out of skis all promise, at the very least, that Wild Ride's brewers will help you have as much fun as they do. And fortunately, it's not all gimmick. Paul Bergeman, who worked his way up from busser to brewer at Laurelwood then gained more experience at Kona before taking a position here, can deliver solid brews with subtle flavors. Three Sisters is a nice example that also seems to uniquely reflect its environment. The American red ale tastes like earthy pine cones were collected from the Central Oregon mountains and then tossed into the boil. Though to sample that wild streak, opt for the team's bigger beers. A hazy double IPA went from detectable piny notes to someone popping the top off a can of Orange Crush. And the angry, stampeding elephant on the label of Nut Crusher has good reason to be enraged if the brewers dipped into his stash of legumes to make that beer. The porter is basically like drinking a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. ANDI PREWITT.
Eat this: An entire pod of food carts thrives on Wild Ride's customers. There's a little bit of everything, but to stave off hunger pangs, the Bajan fish cakes (three for $8, five for $12) at The Jerk Kings (541-771-5403, thejerkkings.com) are bready cod fritters the size of baseballs that should be dipped in the accompanying tangy Marie Rose sauce.
Kobold Brewing/The Vault Taphouse
Look out, Bend: Your reputation as small-town Beer City, USA, could soon be eclipsed by Redmond. With the addition of several new breweries in 2018, there are now eight producers for a population of 30,011—meaning there's now more breweries per capita than in its beer-soaked neighbor to the south. Added to the list in July 2017 was the Vault Taphouse, started by retired air traffic controller Steve Anderson. The vibe is chill, neighborhoody and local—even in the heart of downtown. Regular offerings include hop-forward IPAs that Northwesterners consume as effortlessly as oxygen—but also some easy drinkers. The Safe Passage Session Ale is so easygoing you nearly miss any bitter hop flavor. Likewise, Dragon's Blood is smooth and creamy, even though it's an imperial India red ale. For something darker, the Oathbreaker Baltic Porter has the coffee and chocolate flavors you'd expect, with a sweet yet uncomplicated finish. NICOLE VULCAN.
Eat this: Don't pass up the chance to eat at the onsite food cart Westside Taco Co. (562-713-5150, westsidetacoco.com), where all tacos are just $4. The carnitas are marinated in interesting liquids like root beer, and a tri tip comes crusted in coffee and chili. Made with hand-pressed tortillas, except for the "gringo" flour version, they're among the best in Central Oregon.
South of downtown Bend is the Old Mill District, so named for the Brooks-Scanlon Mill complex whose smokestacks used to belch black pollutants all across Central Oregon. (The last mill closed in 1994; it's now an REI, of course). The area was bereft of good drinking until a few years ago, when the Box Factory urban hub opened up and brought both Avid Cider and Immersion into the central Bend fray. Several breweries have come and gone around the Old Mill area, but Immersion's thrived thanks to the sheer beauty of the outdoors (the ability to eavesdrop on distant summertime Les Schwab Amphitheater concerts is a plus) and its knack for maintaining quality where its forefathers couldn't. From the classically New England-y Hazy-E to the easygoing Schwartz and Coats black lager to the occasional palate-destroying IPA, there's really never a bad beer here. Plus, if patrons think they can do better, they can always reserve time on the Brew-It-Yourself kettles and whip up something for their own events. KEVIN GIFFORD.
Eat this: Right across the parking lot is The Brown Owl (550 Industrial Way, Suite 120, 541-797-6581, brownowlbend.com), whose food truck features one of the best all-day breakfast sandwiches ($12) in the Pacific Time Zone. Does it have brisket? Of course it has brisket ($12). The beer menu's a highlight, too.
Crux Fermentation Project
If there's any Bend brewery that could be considered the region's IPA powerhouse, Crux Fermentation Project is probably it. On a recent visit, 10 of the 20 regular taps were pouring IPAs running the gamut of sub-styles, including the brewery's flagship Cast Out as well as Bubble Wrap Hazy IPA (not actually terribly hazy), the Beezley Experimental Belgian IPA and Gated Community Brut IPA. Crux probably vies with Deschutes for the title of "most popular spot in Bend," but Crux offers more of a "Bendite" experience. Located in a former auto transmission shop, the tasting room offers a sweeping view of the Cascades as well as an expansive patio and yard featuring fire pits, cornhole, families and dogs. With all the hops on tap it's easy to overlook the excellent lagers (Crux Pilz is a mainstay, and the Märzen is malty and rich) and dark beers like the chocolaty PCT Porter, Coco(a) Stout and barrel-aged Tough Love Imperial Stout. Parking can be an issue, so consider a ride-share service or, better yet (and more Bend-like), bike there. JON ABERNATHY.
Eat this: For a tasting room that originally had no plans for a kitchen, Crux has a devoted following thanks in part to its Grilled Cheesy ($12)—two kinds of cheese and bacon on Parmesan-crusted bread—and the Project Board ($20) is a great choice for some variety.
Some breweries start small, operating out of backyard sheds or abandoned mechanic shops. But Worthy was big from the get-go. The mammoth compound erupted from the ground on Bend's eastside in 2013 and has only continued to grow since then. It's obvious a lot of money was poured into the campus, where no detail is too small: Handsome wooden ceiling beams are old-growth Doug fir repurposed from the Oregon Mental Hospital, the wood-fired pizza oven sparkles with colorful mosaic tiles depicting a swirling solar system where toppings are reimagined as planets, and the beer garden has a stage some concert venues would envy. Like the homeowner who never tires of renovations, Worthy has a never-ending list of projects, so each visit may promise something new. But the add-on to beat is the observatory with a 16-inch Ritchey-Chrétien telescope to peer skyward from the rotating dome that glows red at night. Your perfect partner for stargazing is Strata IPA. A sip will have you swear you've just popped a handful of the experimental hops of the same name into your mouth. Additional standout flagships on tap include the tangerine and rye-tinged Stoker Red as well as the dark-as-night Lights Out, which should be the stout of choice to warm you inside out after descending Bachelor. Worthy also keeps things interesting with the Heart & Soul Series made on its 5-barrel pilot system—many of those beers are as luminous and fleeting as the shooting stars you might spot from the observatory. ANDI PREWITT.
Eat this: That pizza oven isn't too pretty to singe a crust well. Order anything kissed by fire. The Smokehouse ($17) comes with crumbly sausage atop saucers of pepperoni.
Sunriver Brewing Galveston Pub
Here's an easy-to-follow itinerary for your next trip to Bend: Go to Sunriver Brewing, order a burger and a Vicious Mosquito IPA, ascend into bliss. Frilly embellishments, both in beers and aesthetics, are slim at this industrial brewpub on the city's westside. Beer geeks and hop-agnostic diners alike can appreciate the brewery's flagship IPA—which is crisp, citrusy and aromatic, without blasting taste buds with overwhelming bitterness. Those in search of a milder brew, however, can opt for the Rippin Northwest Ale, which is essentially Vicious Mosquito's restrained kid cousin. And during warm summer months, Sunriver's light, lemony and slightly creamy Fuzztail Hefeweizen is truly refreshing. ELISE HERRON.
Eat this: Sunriver's food options are more impressive than many of its neighbors'. But the real standout is the pub burger ($14)—a stack of juicy beef, smoky gouda, beer-braised onions, thick bacon and creamy garlic aioli in between two large cheddar jalapeño buns. It's close to perfect.
Boss Rambler Beer Club
1009 NW Galveston Ave., Bend, bossrambler.com. Public tasting room coming in 2019.
It's somewhat cheating to include Boss Rambler on this list, given that the brewery—founded by two ex-Crux Fermentation Project staffers last year—doesn't have a physical location at the moment. It opened in a former skate and snowboard shop right next door to Sunriver last winter, only to close for renovations; it should reopen in the spring, but its stuff's on tap across Bend in the meantime. Boss Rambler gets included in this guide regardless because it's the best of Central Oregon's new spate of 2018 openings, proving once more there's no end to Bend's thirst for decent craft. Padang Padang is a double dry-hopped juicy IPA whose combination of four hops produces a very un-winterlike tropical fantasy, while the Boss AF CDA (made with McMinnville's Allegory Brewing) is both robustly dark and incredibly dank. Between this and fellow local newbies like Terrebonne's Mystic Roots and downtown's Spider City, Bend's big guys have a lot of fresh competition to worry about. KEVIN GIFFORD.
Eat this: Boss Rambler beer can always be found at On Tap (1424 NE Cushing Drive, ontapbend.com), one of Bend's many food truck lots and now the home of Phillystyle, the region's only authentic cheesesteak joint and one nobody would be afraid of bringing the guys from It's Always Sunny to.
The Ale Apothecary
It takes a state like Oregon to support a brewery as unique as this one. This is true in a couple of ways. First, everything in ex-Deschutes brewer Paul Arney's beer—from the flagship Sahalie to the brandy barrel-aged El Cuatro—is made with Oregon ingredients, including local barley, wheat, hops, barrels, and even the wild yeast drifting around the high desert air. Second, Ale Apothecary is supported by the 300 members of its Ale Club, each of whom pay $350 yearly for a case of exclusive beer, an epic birthday party and bottle share, and exotic one-off ales not available anywhere else. Wanna get in? Join the waiting list—but in the meantime, stop by the tasting room to sample what's available to the general public, learn the story of the Arney family's Pacific Northwest roots, and savor the back-to-nature brewing style that, perhaps, he's more dedicated to than any other brewer in the state. KEVIN GIFFORD.
Eat this: Outside food is allowed, and for a contrast in brewery styles, walk across the parking lot to GoodLife Brewing (70 SW Century Drive, 541-728-0749, goodlifebrewing.com), which offers its own beer and a ton of pub food, including a wedge salad ($12.50) with Rogue Creamery's Oregonzola blue cheese.
GoodLife is a taproom built for admiring beer—but you have to work a little bit to find it. Not visible from the street, it's tucked in the back corner of a U-shaped, mixed-use building, where one windowed wall connects the taproom to the silver tank-filled brewery. The small space is, as a server described on a recent visit, "very communal." But it's well worth waiting for a seat. One of GoodLife's most popular beers, the juicy and refreshing tangerine-forward Sweet As! Pacific Ale rarely disappoints—so said judges at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival, which awarded the brew a gold medal. Descender, the flagship IPA, is also solid and tastes like a hoppy distillation of Central Oregon pine tree sap, with a healthy handful of orange rinds thrown in. Adventure-seekers should also try some of GoodLife's small-batch, seasonal ales—like the 2018 Reserve Saison, which is aged for 14 months in French oak barrels. ELISE HERRON.
Eat this: There's a decent selection of pub grub coming out of this kitchen if you're looking for something a little fattier than the wedge salad. Of note are the house nachos ($12.50)—a comfort classic that features fresh, warm tortilla chips and your choice of chicken, pulled pork, bacon or flank steak ($2-$3).
Three Creeks Brewing
Walk in the doors of Three Creeks Brewing and you'll spy relics that characterize the town of Old West-themed Sisters so well: ski memorabilia, a pair of old snowshoes and even a mountain bike, which looks trail-ready if you could just hop on it. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018, and as its combination of outdoor equipment displays and many taps illustrate, Three Creeks is a reflection of the culture and interests of this little town on the edge of the Willamette National Forest. The beer menu offers IPAs that don't explode with bitterness like some others; its citrusy Crowdpleaser IPA has been among our favorites for years, and the Hoodoo Voodoo IPA may be one of the maltier of this style you've ever encountered. FivePine Chocolate Porter is also high on the list of beers you must try, with just enough toast to balance out the cocoa sweetness. NICOLE VULCAN.
Eat this: Like McMenamins' Cajun Tots? Then try the Habanero Tots ($4) at Three Creeks—definitely spicy, but fried just right.