Colorado Avenue Bridge closed through November 17

Starting today, October 5, the Colorado Avenue Bridge will be closed to traffic for the next six weeks, through November 17. It’s part of an extension to the Deschutes River Trail system that’s been underway, along with the new Whitewater Park project, and a new sewer line is going in as well.

Colorado Bridge detour

To improve the safety for trail users, the project includes a new 14-foot wide pedestrian undercrossing tunnel at Colorado Avenue.

A portion of the City of Bend’s Colorado Lift Station sewer line project also requires work at the bridge.  The City’s work during this period will also include construction of the sewer line crossing on the bridge, and underground sewer lines and associated pavement restoration east of the bridge to Wall Street.

For additional project information:

The Bulletin also has an article detailing the work and the sewer line project.

Bend Fall Festival, First Friday, and more

Downtown Bend Art WalkThis Friday is a busy one—not only is the seasonal Bend Fall Festival starting off Friday at 5pm for the weekend, it’s also First Friday Art Walk downtown, and of course other First Friday-esque events help to kick off the rest of the weekend.

The Fall Festival of course takes over downtown Bend, closing off Wall Street along with Minnesota and Oregon Avenues, and brings all the usual seasonal downtown festival accouterments: free music, the artists promenade (all of the booths along Wall with arts and crafts for sale), food, beer and wine, and naturally autumn-themed activities like a pumpkin carving contest, pumpkin pie baking contest, pumpkin painting, and so on. And the best part is, it’s free!

The monthly First Friday Art Walk takes place from 5 to 9pm downtown, concurrently with the Fall Fest this year—honestly I’m not entirely sure how that’s going to work, just because it seems like there will be so much going on downtown it’s going to be crazy. With First Friday, many of the downtown businesses stay open late, showcasing special art exhibits, and many offer free refreshments and alcohol along with music. It’s always a great time—and again, free (the best price!).

In conjunction with Art Walk, Deschutes Brewery’s Pub has their First Friday party kicking off with a firkin keg, and is partnering up with the Deschutes Land Trust to help celebrate their 20th anniversary. They will also photography from Jason Brownlee and music from the Moon Mountain Ramblers.

Over at Broken Top Bottle Shop, their fundraising First Firkin Friday this month is benefiting Grandma’s House (a non-profit shelter for homeless and/or abused pregnant and parenting teen mothers) with 100% of firkin beer proceeds going to the organization. The keg will be tapped at 4:30pm, and they’ll host free live music with Soul Reprieve from 7 to 9. Always good beer going on at Broken Top…

Shifting to another type of alcohol, McMenamins Old St. Francis School has a special Bourbon Dinner taking place from 7 to 10pm: “We welcome the evening’s host, Author and Spirits Expert Hoke Harden, to guide us through a spirited gathering of bourbon. We’ll be serving: I.W. Harper, Knob Creek Single Barrel, Maker’s 46, Old Forester 1870, Woodford Reserve Double Oaked and McMenamins’ exclusive Woodford Reserve Cosmic Selection.” The menu looks great, but it’s going to cost you a bit: $80 for tickets (buy them here), but really, that’s an outstanding bourbon list, so it’s worth the splurge.

And at 9pm you can catch ¡Chiringa! playing free over at Silver Moon Brewing—actually their second show of the night as they’ll have also played down at Fall Fest.

Now to figure out something to do for Saturday and Sunday… 😉

Bend’s first Chipotle opens this Thursday (updated)

ChipotleUpdated: KTVZ’s article says that a sign on the door indicates it opens Thursday, with a special event taking place last night (Wednesday). So perhaps Thursday is a “soft” opening of sorts?

If you’re excited for Chipotle coming to Bend, the Bulletin reports that this Friday is the big opening day.

Doors open at 11 a.m. Friday at the one and only Chipotle Mexican Grill in Central Oregon, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The newest Chipotle in Oregon is at 222 NE Emerson Ave., next to Walgreens at NE Third Street and Franklin Avenue. Fans of the popular restaurant have anticipated the restaurant opening since the company confirmed its plans for Bend in July.

Chipotle will not be giving away free burritos on opening day, Winslow said. The company no longer has the giveaways when opening restaurants, she said.

Winner of the PT80 Beerfest Challenge is… Silver Moon Brewing!

Yesterday’s Pine Tavern beer event, their PT80 Beerfest Challenge, was a lot of fun and (I think) a successful first-time event! The goal was not only to invite Central Oregon’s local breweries to pour beer and help support the Humane Society of Central Oregon but also to help pick the brewery who’s IPA would be on a dedicated tap handle at the Pine Tavern all next year (for their 80th anniversary year).

I was one of four judges invited to sample and judge all 16 IPAs and our top pick was placed head-to-head against the People’s Choice in a final taste-off tiebreaker.

There were a lot of great beers, but ultimately the winner was Silver Moon Brewing, for their IPA 97! Congrats!

PT80 Beerfest winner, Silver Moon Brewing
Head Brewer Jeff Schauland from Silver Moon Brewing

Here’s a few other pictures from the event:

Pine Tavern beer garden
The “beer garden” getting set up and ready to pour beer

Pine Tavern beerfest glasses

Pine Tavern beer garden

Pine Tavern beerfest judges
The Judges! Left to right: Jon Abernathy, Katie Reeves, Tim Underwood, Doug Schmick
Pine Taverns beers to judge
Beers being judged. Taste the rainbow!

Black Butte Ranch’s new Lakeside Complex

Last week I was invited out to Black Butte Ranch to tour the newly-renovated Lakeside Complex, located next to the Lodge which includes a new pool, activity center, and the Lakeside Bistro, which is open to the public. This was an $11.5 million project that started just after Labor Day last year and finished up this past June, and the results are pretty impressive.

Have you been out to Black Butte Ranch lately? (Ever?) It had honestly been years since I last visited, though we drive right on by quite a bit on Highway 20, going to or from the Valley. I always forget that there are absolutely stunning views from just about anywhere on the property:

Views from Black Butte Ranch

The Resort itself is expansive, offering the usual resort amenities—golf, horseback riding, vacation rentals, the Lodge and restaurants, tennis, swimming, bicycling, and so on. It’s also one of the oldest recreational resorts in Central Oregon. But it’s that word “resort” that I think tends to make people glaze over and overlook it (and others) as destinations for vacationers from outside the area—I know I do, so the Ranch (as well as the other resorts) are never top-of-mind when thinking of local dining, recreation, and so on.

The Ranch would love to change that perception, positioning itself not only as a destination resort for tourists but a great staycation option for locals, according to Kendal Daiger, Director of Sales and Marketing. And highlighting the new Lakeside Complex is a great way to do that. Hence, my invitation for the tour. (And if you’re interested, here is the official press release.)

Black Butte Ranch Lakeside Bistro

Black Butte Ranch Lakeside Bistro

We started in the Lakeside Bistro, open year-round, an expansive high-ceiling space with walls of windows letting the terrific views in; it’s a combination of restaurant and retail/gift shop space and very comfortable. The menu here is casual and seasonal, and I was treated to a mixed-berry kuchen pastry and coffee as we chatted about the facility and the Ranch. It’s airy with lots of exposed wood (keeping with the “ranch” theme) but it doesn’t feel rustic; in fact the entire renovation was done with a very modern architectural plan in mind—open space, lots of light, wood and concrete, no right angles anywhere.

The Bistro is open to the public (though the pool and activity center are not, only to guests and residents), and there’s a sizable outdoor patio space as well, with fire pits, overlooking the lake. There’s also a full bar, with six or so beer taps, wine, and hard alcohol available (though not as many options as in the main Lodge). All their baked goods as well as pizza dough are made fresh in-house daily.

Black Butte Ranch Lakeside Bistro

Black Butte Ranch Lakeside Bistro

Being open to the public and fairly easily accessible from the highway, the casual aspect of the Bistro lends itself to becoming a quick-option rest or snack stop if you’re traveling through on Highway 20—something Kendal suggested as well. Frankly this wasn’t something I had ever really considered (back to that “resort-as-destination” mentality) but it makes perfect sense; heading to the Valley? Stop in and pick up coffee and a pastry to go!

The swimming pool, hot tub, and Activity Center are equally impressive—but remember, these are only open to residents and guests of the Ranch, so that’s where the “staycation” aspect comes in. The pool itself is an infinity pool, going up to nine feet deep, and the hot tub is a 24-person, outdoor tub that is open year-round. (The pool will close in October.) Guests using the pool also have walk-up window access to the Bistro and a private section of the patio.

Black Butte Lakeside Complex pool

Black Butte Lakeside Complex pool

Black Butte Lakeside Complex hot tub

The Activity Center, at first blush, looks unfinished: the walls have that raw composite panel look and the ceiling rafters are exposed. Surprisingly, it is finished and that’s exactly the look they are going for, something of the “open rec room”/active-and-lived-in look it’s meant to evoke. It’s an interesting choice.

The center itself houses a ping pong table, shuffleboard, foosball, and more, and includes an expanded kids’ section for kids camps and classes, complete with a kitchen, kiln for firing pottery, crafts, a playground, and more.

Black Butte Ranch Lakeside Activity Center

Black Butte Ranch kids crafts

All in all it was an impressive tour. Black Butte Ranch has put a lot of thought and money into completely renovating their Lakeside Complex, and it shows. We’re going into the fall and the shoulder season, so unfortunately the pool will be closed soon (though the hot tub will remain open) so if you’re thinking of that staycation, keep that in mind—although there are many other things to do at the resort.

Myself I really like the casual aspect of the new Bistro and the idea of a quick and easy travel stop. But I always forget, too, that you don’t have to be a guest of the Ranch even to come out and enjoy dinner at the Lodge for that matter. This tour served as a good reminder of that—big thanks to Black Butte for inviting me out!

And yes, if you’re thinking of doing a weekend getaway or even just an afternoon, keep the Ranch in mind. It’s just far enough away to feel like a big trip, but close enough to get there and back again easily. Check them out if you get a chance.

Black Butte Ranch Lakeside Bistro painting

Black Butte Ranch Lakeside Complex

Bend Roots Revival starts today, runs the weekend

The annual Bend Roots Revival music festival begins today, kicking off this afternoon and running through the weekend, bringing over 100(!) bands down to Shevlin-Hixon drive, across from the Les Schwab Amphitheater for a fantastic free weekend of music.

Bend Roots Revival 2015

Bend Roots 2015 is a FREE, FAMILY-FRIENDLY, community festival featuring 100 musical acts–from Blues to Bluegrass; from Funk & Jazz to Rock N Roll.

The BEND ROOTS REVIVAL is an authentic GRASS-ROOTS event, home to six stages between the ART STATION and DESCHUTES BREWERY WAREHOUSE on Shevlin-Hixon Rd (near Les Schwab Amphitheater). Bend Roots is a grand celebration of our community’s unique creativity and the end-of-Summer party for locals in Bend! Proceeds from beer and merchandise sales, sponsorship and donations at this event support art and music education through the local non-profit Rise Up Presents.

It’s a packed schedule with an amazing number and variety of bands. If you didn’t already have plans this weekend, head down to the Old Mill and check it out—“Just come to the event and wander around,” as founder Mark Ransom told The Source.

Follow along on the Facebook page as well for any updates.

The Sisters Fresh Hop Festival returns this weekend, Sept. 26

Sisters Fresh Hop FestivalIt’s that time of year again, a favorite for beer lovers, when the most fleeting of beer styles appear for a very narrow window: fresh hop beer season! “Fresh hop” beers are those brewed with hops that were picked that very day, that have not yet been dried, which exhibit a very green, ultra-fresh character that you don’t find with regular (dried) hops. (Think of the difference between using fresh versus dried herbs in cooking.) Because hops are harvested only for a few weeks during late summer and early fall, these types of beers can only be made at that time—and are best consumed as fresh as possible.

And since 2010 Sisters has been hosting the annual Sisters Fresh Hop Festival, bringing together over 20 breweries to pour their various fresh hop beers at the town’s Village Green Park. That’s returning once again this Saturday, September 26, and will be taking place from noon to 8pm. From their website:

All ages are allowed in the tent, but you must be 21+ to purchase a mug and tasting tokens.

This event features brews from around the state of Oregon and their unique Fresh Hop flavors. All breweries that participate bring at least one fresh hop beer (meaning the brews are made with hops straight off the vine!).

Tasting mugs are required to taste the beer and are $5 per mug. Tokens are $1 per 4oz taste.

Breweries compete for the People’s Choice award – the coveted Golden Bunny!

And here’s their current list of attending breweries (which is subject to change):

  • 10 Barrel Brewing – Bend, Oregon
  • Base Camp Brewing Company – Portland, Oregon
  • BridgePort Brewing Company – Portland, Oregon
  • Burnside Brewing Company – Portland, Oregon
  • Calapooia Brewing – Albany, OR
  • Cascade Lakes Brewing Company – Redmond, Oregon
  • Crux Fermentation Project – Bend, Oregon
  • Deschutes Brewery – Bend, Oregon
  • Gilgamesh Brewing – Salem, Oregon
  • GoodLife Brewing – Bend, Oregon
  • McMenamin’s Old St. Francis School – Bend, Oregon
  • Portland Brewing – Portland, Oregon
  • Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider – Portland, Oregon
  • RiverBend Brewing  – Bend, Oregon
  • Seven Brides Brewing – Silverton, Oregon
  • Silver Moon Brewing – Bend, Oregon
  • Smith Rock Brewing – Redmond, Oregon
  • Sunriver Brewing – Sunriver, Oregon
  • Three Creeks Brewing Company – Sisters, Oregon
  • Three Mugs Brewing Company – Hillsboro, Oregon
  • Wild Ride Brewing – Redmond, Oregon
  • Worthy Brewing – Bend, Oregon

This is always an event I look forward to every year—can’t wait!