Beverages Farm Tour with High Desert EATs this Saturday

High Desert EATsSo here’s a really interesting-looking event taking place tomorrow (Saturday the 25th) over in Madras: a Beverages Farm Tour with High Desert EATs (which stands for “Educational Agriculture Tours”). It starts early—8:30am, at Maragas Winery—and among other things will cover beer, wine, and whiskey. How can you go wrong?

Here are the details:

Join us in the third farm tour event in the Jefferson County Farm Tour series, High Desert Educational Agricultural Tours (EATs). Have you ever wondered how our local libations are produced?

Taste milk fresh from Poland’s Organic Diary cows, tour Jefferson County’s only malting facility at Mecca Grade Estate Malt, check out how spirits are made at New Basin Distilling, and learn what makes the high desert soil great for growing grapes at Maragas Winery!

Tour Runs from 8:30am – 1:30pm
Lunch and wine tasting is included in ticket price: $35.00
This tour is recommended for ages 21 and up!

Tour Starts/Finishes at Maragas Winery.
Free Shuttle departs Maragas Winery at 8:30.

Tour Stop #1: Poland’s Organic Dairy Farm, 9:00 – 10:00
3751 NW Elm Lane, Madras

Tour Stop #2: Mecca Grade Estate Malt, 10:15 – 11:15
2048 NW Columbia Drive, Madras

Tour Stop #3: New Basin Distilling, 11:30 – 12:15
1789 NW Mill St., Madras

Tour Stop #4: Maragas Winery, 12:30 – 1:30
15523 SW Hwy 97, Culver, OR

Shuttle with 4-H Club guide service available for the first 24 registrants.
Water is available on the tours courtesy of Earth20.
We love pets but please leave yours at home for the tours.

Questions? Contact Maura at 541-325-1064.

One of the things I really like about this is both Maragas (the region’s first winery growing grapes here in Central Oregon) and Mecca Grade Estate (the region’s only—as far as I know—commercial maltster, growing and malting barley grain for beer brewing) — these are great opportunities to visit and learn about our own “growing” industries in the beer and wine industry. And I know Mecca Grade will have a number of special estate-grown and brewed beers on tap for this Tour.

The cost is $35 and you can get tickets here—hurry though, as the end of today (Friday) is the deadline for tomorrow’s tour.

If this is something that interests you, do it!

Fermentation Celebration and other beer happenings

Fermentation Celebration 2016 cupsThe fifth annual Fermentation Celebration is taking place today from 4 to 10pm in the Old Mill District, and if you’re into beer you should be there. (Of course I’m assuming if you’re into beer then you’re probably already planning to come.)

With 23 breweries and 6 cideries (plus an alcoholic kombucha and wine from Naked and Va Piano) there is plenty of drink options to enjoy. For $20 you get the Silipint cup and 9 tasting tickets (additional tickets are 3 for $5). And if you want to know more, I also wrote a guest blog post for the Old Mill, check it out!

This Saturday the 25th, Crux Fermentation Project is hosting their fifth annual Cruxapalooza celebration for their fourth anniversary—and I wrote my article in The Bulletin this week on the party and the beers being released. It’s going to be an all-day party with live music and 60 taps pouring Crux beers! That’s another party you’ll want to attend.

And on Monday the 27th, Deschutes Brewery is celebrating their 28th anniversary at the Pub:

Join us as we celebrate 28 years of brewing! We will be featuring our anniversary imperial porter birthday beer, Black Butte XXVIII. We will be serving vertical flights, culinary specials, back alley bash and more! The celebration is All day, kid friendly, with live music out back beginning at 6pm. Wear an old Black Butte Porter shirt and receive free swag or a complimentary drink! Check out the talented Portland based band, Dirty Revival.

Vertical Flight: BBXXIV, BBXXV, BBXXVI, BBXXVII, BBXXVIII, N2 BBXXIV!!!

Don’t miss it!

Chow down at the Bite of Bend this weekend

Bite of BendThe annual Bite of Bend takes over downtown Bend once again this weekend, kicking off at 5pm this Friday, June 17, and going on all day Saturday and Sunday. It’s Central Oregon’s largest food festival and there’s definitely plenty to do, taste, and see.

The Bite of Bend celebrates the region’s unique ingredients, cuisine and culture by bringing together chefs, bartenders, brewers, food enthusiasts, home cooks, and local purveyors for a three-day food party on the streets of downtown Bend. This year, the Bite of Bend will showcase over 40 food vendors from around the region. Festival attendees feast on bite after bite from chefs and restaurants directly as they make their way through downtown Bend.

Open at 5pm on Friday night, preview a taste of things to come when the full event opens on Saturday. Start with bites from local chefs, taste the region’s spirits and cocktails at the Mixology Showcase, watch the final 8 bartenders battle shaker to shaker in the Bartender Brawl and listen to the sweet sounds of Precious Byrd and Sassparilla!!

Come back on Saturday & Sunday for an event full of food, music, spirits, The Beer Run, Little Hopper Root Beer Run, Top Chef competitions & the final Bartender Brawl.

The usual downtown festival closures will be in effect: Minnesota and Oregon Avenues, and (based on last year’s map which they have on the website) Bond Street (and Wall?). There’s plenty of food (of course!) and alcohol, and I like that they have a “Locavore Alley” listed as well.

If you’re planning to go, keep an eye on the schedule, particularly for the live music. And don’t forget your rain jacket, since it’s supposed to have chance of showers on Saturday.

Meet Rob Widmer of Widmer Brothers Brewing, June 16

Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen

Widmer Brothers Brewing out of Portland has been brewing beer for three decades, and their flagship beer, Hefeweizen, is 30 years old this year. To celebrate, Widmer has been making a “Hefe” tour of Oregon, hosting pub crawls and—you guessed it—drinking Hefeweizen. Next Thursday, June 16, they stop in Bend, and owner/founder Rob Widmer will be here as well.

Come join Widmer Brothers Brewing is we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen (Hefe). On May 15, 1986, brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer made their very first delivery of Hefe to the Dublin Pub in Portland. Three decades later, Hefe is still the best-selling craft beer in the state, and the brewery just released the beer in cans in Oregon only. Please join Widmer Brothers and Rob Widmer himself for a Bend pub crawl. Prost!

The pub crawl will last from 5 to (roughly) 9pm; here are the locations and schedule:

  • Sidelines Sports Bar, from 5 to 6:30
  • The Summit Saloon, from 6:30 to 7:30
  • Wall Street Grill, from 8 to 9

All times are approximates, of course. And yes, you’ll likely be drinking Hefeweizen and other Widmer beers all night long. It sure sounds like fun!

Powell Butte Highway will be completely closed June 20

I had posted back in March how the intersection of the Powell Butte Highway and Alfalfa Market and Neff Roads were closing to build a roundabout there. At the time, the main intersection was closed but they did build an access road for the main highway, which could be accessed going from or to Alfalfa Market Road.

Now though, the County is closing the roads down around the construction entirely, starting June 20:

Starting Monday, June 20, the intersection of Powell Butte Highway, Neff Road and Alfalfa Market Road will be closed to traffic. Crews will be finishing up final paving on the Powell Butte Highway and Neff Road legs of the new roundabout. Traffic will be routed onto detours as shown on the attached map. This closure will be in effect through Saturday, June 25.

And here is the map:

Powell Butte Highway Closure, June 20

So for that week from the 20th through the 25th take note of this closure—and hope it doesn’t go longer than the 25th.

The Riverhouse’s new look

Wednesday evening I was invited along with many other people down to the Riverhouse Hotel for the grand opening unveiling of their massive redesign—you may remember that the Riverhouse sold last year to Vesta Hospitality, and one of the big projects was to be a multi-million dollar renovation project. The format was a self-guided open house, with several “stops” in the main lobby building, the convention center, and the hotel rooms. Most of the stops offered complimentary food, as well as beer and wine, and the tour ended at the dining deck overlooking the river.

I have to say, it’s a very impressive job that Vesta did to renovate the hotel—more than one comment about bringing the Riverhouse into the 21st century with modern sensibilities was made. For starters, the lobby has moved from the first building facing the street down to the building shared with the restaurant and lounge, which frankly seems better. The river views are as great as ever—it’s hard to go wrong there—and I’ve been to the convention center recently so there wasn’t much “new” to see there for me.

The biggest change was to the hotel rooms themselves, with the buildings getting new fixtures, paint, carpets, and the rooms themselves getting a complete makeover. Used to be they were pretty ’70s, ’80s in style, now they’re definitely what I would expect to see in a brand-new hotel, while maintaining that “rustic” look with plenty of wood, stone, and leather. And the river views are great too.

And a bonus! One of the activities of the evening was an attendance drawing, which to participate you had to visit each of the “stops” on the self-guided tour and get a stamp in a brochure. At the end of the evening, they drew names from the completed, stamped brochures for some nice prizes. And I won one! I rarely win anything at events like this, so that was fun.

Check out the Riverhouse if you get a chance, or their new restaurant, Currents. In the meantime, enjoy some photos from the evening: