We decided to stop in Bend, Oregon for a night because we heard great things about the breweries there. Sure enough, they brag about how they have more breweries per person than most anywhere and even have an Ale Trail where you get a prize if you get your “passport” stamped by all 10 breweries. We were going to make a go of it, but we decided that it was meant for a multiple-day stay and was probably not prudent to be attempted in our 8 hours in Bend. But we did manage to hit quite a few.
We actually started in Sisters, OR (right outside Bend) at Three Creeks Brewery. They had an incredible beer sampler where you could try all the craft beers on their menu.
Sampler!!! At the extra credit brewery in Sisters. #overachievers #theaxelbaums #nycnomnom #bendaletrail by @nycnomnom
We also grabbed a burger there to make sure we could keep the sampling going. We split the Hawaiian burger which put pineapple and teriyaki sauce onto a hamburger. And it was pretty magical.
We then went into Bend where we walked around a bit to buy some binoculars (too many cool creatures and birds out there that we wanted to see up close) and we stopped at a brand new Naked Winery tasting room. We really enjoyed their wines and their clever names were clever and funny. From there, we walked up to find the breweries on the Ale Trail. We wound up walking through what looked like an abandoned parking lot and storage building until we found what wound up being our favorite brewery, Crux Fermentation Project. There we tried 2 of their craft brews: Tough Love and On the Fence.
Brewery tasting. Tough Love and On The Fence at Crux Fermentation. by @nycnomnom
Tough Love was one of the best beers I’ve ever tried. Here was the description: “Banished Imperial Stout - 11.5 ABV, 70 IBU. Tough Love is bold but nuanced, an homage of sorts to the traditional Russian Imperial Stouts and the ruling style of Catherine the Great. We construct it with dark roasted malts, malted rye, and oak-smoked wheat, and then banish it for nine months in Kentucky bourbon barrels. The aging process smooths out the edges on an otherwise bold statement, and bitterness succumbs to tender strokes of vanilla beans, hints of dried cherries, and new layers revealing themselves with each sip.”
We were there on a Monday, which happens to be the only day that the kitchen isn’t open. So instead they have food carts come to their patio where they have the coolest fire pit I’ve ever seen.
They had a Mexican cart, which meant my peppers allergy kept me away, but cool concept.
On they way out of Crux to the next brewery on the ale tour, we had trouble finding our way and wound up wandering through a neighborhood and saw a bit of the Bend underbelly. The map wasn’t exactly clear and we wound up at Boneyard a few minutes after they closed. Darn. And then we were a bit lost again trying to find the next place. (They should paint the sidewalks or add signage for this Ale Trail).
Extreme honeymooning. Here we see a tourist in his unnatural habitat. Notice the back pack, binoculars, map, and look of utter confusion. Let’s watch. #theaxelbaums by @nycnomnom
By this time it was a bit late and we were getting hungry again, so we went to 10 Barrel Brewing Company where we heard the food was good. While waiting for a table, we sat by the fire outside and Mike took this picture which has a very eery scull in the flames.
Photo by skywolfx * Instagram by @skywolfx
We wound up waiting a long, long, long time for a table (and I noticed a few people that absolutely came after us were seated before us). When we went up to ask, she was suddenly very concerned as she scanned up her list and then we were quickly informed “Oh! You’re next!” and sat immediately. Whooops.
We ordered the lamb burger which was ground with sun dried cranberries and feta cheese and topped with chevre cheese, artichoke tapenade, arugula, roma tomato, pesto aioli, and balsamic reduction. It took a long time to come out.
Lots of ingredients I absolutely love.
But when it came down to it, I didn’t really taste any of those lovely things. It tasted a bit lamby, but there were no other real distinct flavors. A bit of a let down.
And after a whole lot more waiting, our pizza came. We made our own by combining a garlic cream sauce white cheese base with prosciutto, mushrooms, pineapple, and artichoke hearts with provolone.
The pizza was okay. Just okay. Again, lots of great flavors in concept but nothing too distinct about any one of them on the pizza.
So all-in-all, we were pretty disappointed by our 10 Barrel dining experience. The beers we tried were also meh. I also didn’t feel so great in the belly region after this meal, and while I’m not sure if it was the food or not, I’m not entirely convinced it wasn’t. So needless to say, we won’t be rushing back here next time we’re in Bend (and yes… there WILL be a next time… great city).
Next time we’ll just stay a Crux a little longer and maybe try their kitchen.