The folks at Crux Fermentation Project sure are smart. They know that patrons will stick around longer if tasty snacks are the norm, rather than overpriced chips and salsa and Costco-quality buffalo wings. Real food also pairs better with all those heavenly high-alcohol beers Crux specializes in. If enjoying a Doublecross (Strong Dark Belgian Ale, 12% ABV) try Crux's Artisanal Cheese Board ($12) with soft and hard cheeses and a glorious ale cheddar, as well as olives, slices of rosemary baguette and a strawberry rhubarb compote. The Charcuterie Board ($15) is also a great bet. The cured meats, chicken pate, and bacon wrapped figs are magical when paired with an unfiltered German Pilsner. The $7 Pickled Plate, with its pickled veggies and mixed nuts, is a nice, light option. And the $6 Beer-Boiled Pretzel is always at the ready should you have one-too-many Tough Love Imperial Stouts. Crux Fermentation Project, 50 SW Division St. 541-385-3333.
What's better than salty, crispy tortilla chips after a few ice-cold, locally brewed beers? Tortilla chips covered in cheese! Bend Brewing Company's nachos may not be revolutionary—we've come to expect some type of nacho dish on every pub menu (it'll be right beside the mozzarella sticks and French fries)—but they are done right. Loaded with all the fixings en masse—diced tomatoes, salsa and green onions topped with a dollop of sour cream and guacamole and sprinkled with spicy Pinnacle Porter marinated in black beans—a heaping half-order is only $5.50 ($9 for a whole order). With appetizers half price on weekdays from 4-6 pm and pints discounted to $2.75 on Tuesday (locals night, 4-close), budget beer drinkers can have a meal and a pint for little more than the change found between the couch cushions. Bend Brewing Company, 1019 NW Brooks St., 541-383-1599.
There's cheaper food in Bend on a Monday night, but there's no better value than Deschutes's $6 Pub Burger. No frozen patty and Sysco bun here. Deschutes's juicy, grilled-to-order patty is made from local beef (Borlen Cattle Company in Alfalfa) and comes served on a fresh house-baked bun (whole wheat also available) with a choice of a mixed greens salad (the Green Lakes Vinaigrette is tops), fries or sweet potato fries. All this for only $6. $6!!! Why so cheap? Monday is locals night! So some of Bend's best beers are a dollar cheaper, too. Eat late or plan to down a couple pints at the bar—getting a table on Monday night can take a while. Delicious beers and a value-packed meal make the wait worth it. Deschutes Brewery & Public House, 1044 NW Bond St. 541-382-9242.
Chef Rudy Garcia of Old Mill Brew Wërks prides himself on an updated and upscale pub menu where hungry beer-lovers can order tavern staples, like burgers, as well as homey classics, like Garcia's sausage meatloaf with potatoes and veggies, or a fresh pasta dish, updated daily to reflect the seasonal ingredients. But the burgers are why we flock to Brew Wërks' ample patio seating. Try the Brew Wërks Burger, which comes smothered with house-made Irreverence IPA barbecue sauce. Come dinnertime a delightful vegetarian Portabella Burger, complete with marinated mushrooms, goat cheese and pesto, is a fine choice. Old Mill Brew Wërks, 803 SW Industrial Way, 541-633-7670.
Not only is 10 Barrel a pleasant summer sipping spot, with its expansive outdoor patio, roll-top garage doors and fire pit, the westside brewery also makes some of the best pizza this side of the Cascades. The dough is made in house daily and hand tossed to the perfect consistency—thin but chewy. Options are plentiful, too. Pizza-crazy beer drinkers can choose from a 12-inch or 18-inch, gluten-free or wheat, veggie or meaty, or a build-your-own option. Which one to order? We've said it before and we'll say it again: The Hippy Pie ($13 or $22 depending on size), a veggie-lover's delight, with sausage is the way to go. We also suggest starting with a Swill, one of the best summer beers out there, and an ISA to accompany your pie. 10 Barrel Brewing, 1135 NW Galveston Ave. 541-678-5228.
Although securing a seat on the sprawling outdoor pavilion can require a frustratingly long wait, the wood-fired pizzas come out in the blink of an eye at Worthy Brewing. True, wood-fired pizzas are no longer unique, but the selection here is imaginatively varied. The Oregon Pear ($13) is a favorite pairing (ha! get it?), smoky hazelnuts with the nuttiness of Rogue Creamery's gorgonzola; pears and honey lacing sweeten the pie. Another smart choice is the Prosciutto Fig ($14), a hearty-flavored pizza that adds arugula to lighten the taste. Although busy, Worthy spaces tables far enough apart to create a surprisingly intimate and peaceful feeling of a family picnic. Worthy Brewing Co., 495 Bellevue Dr. 541-678-5027