The paddleboard's been paddled, the lake swum in, the trail hiked, an unduly large number of food-stall dumplings consumed; now it's time to cap off the summer with some beer.
Summer is always a busy time for craft enthusiasts, but over the years, Bendites have seen the second half of August turn into an unofficial second Central Oregon Beer Week (in addition to the "real" one in May). These range from the small—such as the White Water Taphouse's weekly brewer bingo events (Ex Novo from Portland is coming over Wednesday)—to the very, very large.
Take Beer Wars. Now in its fourth year, the 10 Barrel-hosted event (taking place at the neighborhood pub Wednesday Aug. 17) has grown just as exponentially as the brewery that founded it, now a must-attend despite its relatively small physical size. Thirty different India Pale Ales are on offer, six each from five different states, and visitors get to taste-test them blindly and then vote on what their favorite beer-producing state is. (The identities of the beers are revealed mid-event.)
It's a great chance to try all kinds of IPA from outfits not usually seen around here, from LA's Golden Road Brewing to Washington's Black Raven and Colorado's Denver Beer Co. Plus, with IPA heavy hitters like Stone, Barley Brown's, Boneyard, and 10 Barrel's own hop-heavy Boise operation, fans of the genre are guaranteed to find something they like.
Bend Brewfest then starts up the following Thursday, Aug. 18, giving beer fans just enough time to recover from Beer Wars. Bend's largest beer-related event, the Brewfest, may look a little different to visitors—local breweries were no longer guaranteed a spot this year, so some of the Central Oregon companies that have poured there in the past (most notably, Crux) won't be around.
Most of the gang is there, however, with Deschutes releasing an autumnal IPA called Hopzeit and Boneyard releasing an extra pale ale with blood orange on the rotating X-tap. Among the smaller guys, check out the vanilla imperial IPA from Slanted Rock Brewing in Idaho, not to mention a barrel-aged Scotch ale from Astoria's Fort George Brewery, imaginatively titled, "Anni, Are You Oak-Aged?"
Bend Beer Wars IPA Fest
10 Barrel Brewing
1135 NW Galveston Ave., Bend
Aug. 17, 4-9 pm
Les Schwab Amphitheater 344 SW Shevlin Hixon Dr., Bend