Friar's Festivus | Monkless Belgian Ales
10.2 percent ABV 52 IBU | Belgian Quad
Won Gold in "Flavored Beers" at the 2018 Oregon Beer Awards
Monkless is Bend's best kept secret—but not for long! They were just added to the Bend Ale Trail in May and recently received a license to sell their ales in Washington state. Their recently expanded eastside taproom is cozy, but they make the most of the space by breaking out the patio chairs in the summer and host food trucks every Friday and Saturday.
Friar's Festivus is a winter seasonal, as you may have guessed, but it's too damn good not to mention. This dark Belgian is big and bold, with warming spice notes and a sweetness to boot. I'm pretty much exclusively an IPA drinker, with a Hefeweizen here and there in the summer, but I have to say I fell in love with Friar's. I've become quite smitten with just about everything Monkless has to offer. If you're looking for something lighter for those sunny days out on the river, try their Shepplekofeggan Belgian Witbier. At 5.4 percent ABV, you'll be able to enjoy a few without needing to take a nap. Their Peppercorn Imperial Witbier may just turn me off of IPAs this summer. Fresh orange peel and coriander accents, double the IBUs of their base witbier and a myriad of spices—the flavor profile of Belgian ales is rounded out by yeast rather than hops like an IPA. It's refreshing. Dare I say I'm suffering from hop fatigue? No, I won't go that far, but Monkless is a welcome change of pace. Keely Damara
Monkless Belgian Ales
20750 NE High Desert Ln #107, Bend
Frontier Justice Coffee Stout | Three Creeks Brewing
8 percent ABV 55 IBU | American Stout
Won Gold in "Coffee Beers" at the 2018 Oregon Beer Awards
This collaboration with Sisters Coffee Roasters packs a punch! Each barrel boasts 4 pounds of Sumatra beans, a whole slew of malts and Cascade hops. This is a beer that gets even better with age, as the imperial stout base starts to shine through the rich coffee flavor over time. You can find it on the "Wanted" taps at Three Creeks Brewing or you can pick up 22-ounce bottles to drink (or save for later, if you have the patience to age it—if so, I admire your grit).
I recently visited Three Creeks Brewing for the first time and loved it. The interior is fun, with an Old West theme. A quilt hangs on a wall, bearing their name and logo (how cool is that?) The Sisters Movie House is just across the parking lot, making Three Creeks Brewing the perfect date night spot to grab dinner and a movie. Keely Damara
Three Creeks Brewing
721 S. Desperado Ct., Sisters
Bog Trotter | Bridge 99
7.8 percent ABV 24 IBU | Irish Ale
I discovered Bridge 99 Brewery when my kid was going to the Central Oregon Gymnastics Academy. I had heard of all the big breweries in town, but this one had so far escaped my radar, and I decided I needed to try it.
I'm glad I did. The current space has a small tasting area, but will expand this spring with rotating food trucks and a fun, tented area to sit in. I had the beertender pull me a draft of their Bog Trotter Irish Ale, made with all Irish ingredients, including buckwheat honey, harking back to when the English blocked sugar from being imported to Ireland.
The beer smelled good and tasted better. The honey's sweetness on the nose didn't transfer into sickly sweet when I took a sip. The beer has that traditional European ale flavor, not overly hoppy, but clean and delicious. I'm more of a porter person in the winter, but will definitely put the Bog Trotter high on my summer beer list.
Bridge 99 has rotating food trucks and free popcorn. The brewery is hoping to have the expanded space ready for people to relax and enjoy its beers and food by June of this year. Chris Miller
Bridge 99 Brewery
63063 Layton Ave., Bend
Mango Session IPA | Kobold Brewing
4.4 percent ABV 52 IBU | IPA
Redmond's Kobold Brewing is easy to find—located right on the main drag in downtown, in an old shopfront. The small space serves Kobold's brews as well as guest taps from other Oregon brewers.
I'd never had a beer at Kobold before. I picked the Mango Session IPA. I'm not usually into sweet beers, but citric beers are in fashion, so I thought I'd give theirs a try. The taste was good, kind of like a mango-margarita-meets-IPA. It made me think of being in Mexico; all I needed was mystery meat nachos and I was there. The Mango Session IPA is definitely a summer beer. Light, crisp, and like most session beers, low on the ABVs so you can drink all day.
Kobold serves Schatz Pretzel products, including pretzels and pretzel dogs. They also have free popcorn and Westside Taco Co. has a truck just behind their outdoor seating area that has a big wood-burning fire pit. Chris Miller
245 SW 6th Street, Redmond