The Mountain Jug is the kind of place any beer lover wishes was their local watering hole. Wood-paneled walls. Comfortable couches. An AC/DC pinball machine in the corner, and a '70s-era VW Thing parked semi-permanently outside. A few hundred vinyl albums for you to freely choose from. And, of course, lots and lots of local beer.
You'll usually find Mark Cornett manning the bar at this taproom and growler-fill joint in Sunriver. He and his wife Tonya—best known for her innovative brewing work at 10 Barrel—founded the Mountain Jug in early 2013, and it's been a cozy, homey, friendly beer destination ever since. It's a place you'd love to waste away a couple hours in after a busy day of skiing, bike riding, golfing, or whatever you do in Sunriver. Even if you're not into that stuff, even if you've lived in Bend for years without bothering to visit this resort town 20 minutes away, you should still check the place out. It's that good.
And the best part about a beer-oriented day trip to Sunriver is that the Mountain Jug isn't even the main event. That honor is reserved for Sunriver Brewing Company, which celebrated its third birthday last month with a special anniversary double IPA release. The brewery began very much under the radar, their beer produced off-site at the late and not-very-lamented Phat Matt's. But last year, Sunriver kicked its brew operation into high gear, building its own 15-barrel system and hiring head brewer Brett Thomas away from Silver Moon.
SBC's beer shows up around Bend these days; the Vicious Mosquito IPA perhaps the most visible out of its lineup. But a trip to the spacious taproom in the Sunriver Village shopping center is recommended to get a glimpse of the brewery's full lineup, covering everything from light lagers to heavy stouts and mandarin-flavored white IPAs. There's a full food menu, too, and in the tail end of summer, the bar's populated by an eclectic mix of breezy retirees and weekend warriors just back from a 50-mile ride. So while you'll never run out of good beer in Bend proper, a little field trip out to the rest of Central Oregon can be surprisingly eye-opening for craft heads.