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Craft Beer

Craft Beer: a Cultural and Economic Phenomenon

Bend’s has come into prominence as a craft beer producer. This impacts employment, attracts tourists and has spun off related activities such as the Bend Ale Trail tourist promotion, a plethora of growler stations and the pedal-powered Cycle Pub, a favorite of travel writers and locals alike. Deschutes Brewery, founded in 1988, has grown to become the fifth largest craft brewery in the United States. Community festivals devoted to beer include Central Oregon Beer Week, Bend Brewfest and the Fermentation Celebration.

The chart below lists breweries and pubs in Bend, Redmond, Prineville and Sunriver. They range in size from the local colossus, 25-year-old Deschutes Brewery, to tiny “nanobreweries” that occupy taps at farmers’ markets, festivals and specialty pubs.

In between these extremes is a wide assortment of brewing operations and brewpubs that range from slick to studiously funky. The industry provides its own ladder system for brewmasters and technicians who enter and perfect their craft. Sometimes they move up, sometimes they answer the siren song of entrepreneurship.

Bend’s breweries figure prominently in national and international competitions. Deschutes Brewery’s Red Chair IPA was named World’s Best Beer in 2010 and 2012 in a blind judging competition that drew entries from Asia, Europe and the Americas. Deschutes was also a gold and silver medal winner in the 2012 European Beer Star competition. Bend Brewing Co. was among gold medal winners at the World Beer Cup competition in 2012. Deschutes, Silver Moon, Bend Brewing Co. and 10 Barrel are regular winners at the Great American Beer Festival. Honors continued to accrue in 2013.

Bend’s love affair with beer has been getting plenty of press. Recent accolades have been seen in the New York Times, The Seattle Times, Seattle PI, Toronto Globe and Mail, The Wall Street Journal, Korean (TV) Broadcasting System, CNNTravel.com, Saveur.com, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, TravelOregon.com, Liftopia, Huffington Post, TheStreet.com, VIA Magazine, USA Today, Men's Journal and Imbibe Magazine.

About the tables below

The first lists beer producers and a few selected pubs in alphabetical order. Separate entries will be found for stand-alone brewhouses and for multiple brewpub locations (including out-of-town brewpubs launched by Deschutes Brewery and 10 Barrel Brewing Co.) Some breweries encourage visitors and conduct tours and tastings, others (usually the smaller ones) do not. We have listed a small number of pubs and restaurants that are not ancillary to brewery operations but which provide pub atmosphere and focus on multiple taps of popular and little-known labels. Just about any restaurant or bar in Central Oregon will have multiple taps at the ready.

The second table lists brewery tour providers. They are guided tours by chartered vehicle except in the case of the Bend Ale Trail, a self-guided tour managed by Visit Bend. Visitors are supplied with a map and passport that can be stamped at the site visited (or this can be done via a smart phone application); full validation earns a free “Silipint” silicone travel glass.

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