Oregon

How Did Bend, Oregon, Become a Craft Beer Powerhouse?

Bend, Oregon_Imbibe

Photo: My Instagram feed!

For the latest issue of Imbibe magazine, I attempt to suss out just how Bend became such a national player on the craft-beer scene. Back in 1988, the town's timber industry had collapsed. The population hovered around 18,000. Downtown was a ghost town.

Then along came Deschutes, which helped jumpstart a stunning revitalization. A quarter-century later, the brewpub has blossomed into America’s fifth-largest brewery, and Bend has undergone a night-and-day revitalization. The town has swelled to around 80,000 residents, who have been lured by a family-friendly lifestyle highlighted by outdoor recreation, a thriving walkable downtown, an abundance of sunshine—and boatloads of craft beer.

Today, there are 17 breweries in Bend (and another half dozen in neighboring towns), each one unique, and together offering an impressive range of beers. If you favor hop bombs, then try Boneyard10 Barrel and Below Grade. For wood-aged elixirs, tryAle Apothecary’s funky fermentations, while Crux Fermentation crafts a kaleidoscope of styles, from an unfiltered pilsner to a peaty Scotch ale. Bend Brewing Company pairs pub grub with medal-winning porters and sour ales, and GoodLife and Worthy Brewing specialize in that crucial companion to hiking and fishing: canned beers.

Care to read the story? Check out "Around the Bend" over at Imbibe.

Five Great Places to Get Pie-Eyed in PDX

For craft beer consumers, Portland, Oregon, might just be mecca. Dozens of breweries and brewpubs dot the city, serving up suds as inventive as they're flavorful. Picking a favorite place to drink is as tough as my parents picking their favorite kid. (Hey, Mom and Dad, it's me, right?) But for Food Republic, I penned a piece highlighting my five favorite spots from a recent trip to the Rose City. I loved the sour beers at Cascade Barrel House, the hoppy ales from Hopworks, the farmhouse-style brews from Upright and the, uh, offerings at Mary's Club. Curious? Check out the full article at Food Republic. Drink it up!

Exotic New Hop Varieties Infuse Local Beers

Photo: Ross William Hamilton

This month, I started contributing to The Oregonian's food and drink magazine, MIX. It's great to be ale  focus on the craft beer goodness of the Pacific Northwest, which is about as close to heaven as a hop head can get. For my inaugural piece, I touched on the quirky, flavorful contributions of a couple new breeds of hops: Nelson Sauvin and Citra. New Zealand's Nelson has a lovely white wine–like character, while Citra smells strongly of mango, papaya—the tropics, if you may. Curious about this new breed of IPAs? Check out my full story over at MIX. Drink it up!