It's not an exaggeration to say that Market of Choice, the upscale supermarket that opened near the Old Mill off NW Sizemore last week, completely changes the beer distribution picture in Central Oregon.
"Our aim is to provide the best experience we can with the beer and wine we offer," says Cameron Webster, manager of the Bend Market of Choice's adult-beverage section. "We're lucky that we live in a region with so much of both, and it's great to work for a place that is so proactive about it."
That ain't the half of it. Because they ship brands distributed in their Eugene headquarters to Bend, Market of Choice already offers a wide selection of beer that is impossible to find anywhere else in town. Highlights include:
Craft-beer giants debuting
Thanks to Market of Choice's Eugene roots, there are quite a few bottles from small Lane County-based outfits, such as Hard Knocks Brewing in Cottage Grove and Plough Monday in Veneta. They also offer a number of beers from larger regional breweries, such as Brooklyn-based Sixpoint and Chicago's Off Color Brewing, which have only been available along the I-5 corridor until now. The former puts out clean-tasting beers like the Resin IPA in unique, skinny cans, while the latter freestyles with off-beat varieties, such as its Troublesome Gose-style beer.
All kinds of wacky imports
That distribution advantage also means the market offers a fairly exotic lineup of beers from outside the US. Some of these are crappy adjunct lagers from India and such (try a tallboy can of Beerlao if seeking a surefire way to waste $1.75 quickly), but there are some admirable standouts. Yona Yona Ale, from Yo-Ho Brewing in Japan, is a juicy pale ale that's easy to enjoy a couple cans of at a time—as befitting its name, which means "night after night" in Japanese. For something more complex, try Zwet.be from Belgium's Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen, a dark porter made with Lambic yeast for a sour kick.
A tap list to match
The now-shuttered Ray's was the first supermarket in Bend to fill growlers. Market of Choice's Fill Station takes things to the next level, offering twelve taps of beer, cider and wine in a bar-like atmosphere. Webster says, "Nothing we have on tap is available in bottles, and we try to have as much variety as possible." They're doing a good job so far—beers like Baerlic's Salted Oat Gose and Portland-based Unicorn Brewing's Coffee Milk Stout are available by the pint or growler, and they also have a Crowler machine slinging out 32-oz take-home cans of everything on tap.
Market of Choice
115 NW Sisemore St., Bend
Open daily, 7am-11pm