The signs of the warm part of the season are just starting to come into focus: Blossoming trees, tightrope walkers in Drake Park, a precipitous rise in out-of-state license plates, and, of course, back patios region-wide filled with people, barbecue, and drinks.
Crux Fermentation Project has undoubtedly led the brigade with the refurbishments it's done to the large outdoor area adjacent to its building in the center of town. Chief among them is a new seasonal outdoor pouring station, made from a 20-foot, used shipping container, that offers the same lineup of Crux beer as found inside the premises.
That's fortuitous, because Crux happens to have a great lineup of hot-weather beer for these sunny weekends. Prowell Springs, its pre-Prohibition style lager, isn't its lightest in terms of alcohol content, but it's arguably the most refreshing, offering a crisp pilsner feel without getting too watery. Want something more substantial? Try the Enigma Saison, named after the new Australian hop that gives the flavor its citrusy, melony backbone. (And while in the area, Atlas Cider Co. has an equally inviting outdoor area right in front of the taproom.)
When the sun gets even hotter and a dip in the Deschutes (the river, not the beer) starts to look inviting, Galveston Avenue is perhaps the best place to keep the party going afterward. Tons of places offer outdoor seating in the area. Assuming a high tolerance, a visitor could start the journey at The Lot for some Belgian fries and one of 12 different beers, mostly from Oregon; continue on to Sunriver Brewing and the new (and quite fancy) patio it's opened out back; and walk next door to Aspect Boards and Brews, where the scene is après chill all year. Shred Town whips up some mean tacos, and Boneyard's Diablo Rojo is $4 from open to close.
No discussion of Galveston is complete, of course, without 10 Barrel. The patio of Bend's friendly neighborhood InBev branch turns into Dog Town USA every summer, with labs sharing space with locals in harmony over Apocalypses. And the brewery's certainly got variety going this spring, too—cans of the Cucumber Crush sour on one end, and bottles of the 11 percent Estonya barrel-aged stout on the other. Everything any beer drinker needs, in other words, to make the summer seem to last forever.
Crux Fermentation Project
50 SW Division St., Bend
Hours: Monday 4-10 p.m.,
Tuesday-Sunday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.