List of Bend’s food carts, from The Source

The Source this week has a good list of all the (known) food carts in Bend, organized by The Lot (four of them currently) and the other locations around town. Interestingly, The Lot is down to four carts now (The Brown Owl moved out) but they are looking for a fifth to get back up to capacity.

It’s a good list, with addresses, hours, and style of food; go check it out. Of course, I took it a step further and did the geeky thing—made a Google Map of all the carts with addresses for Bend (Broken Top BBQ and The Brown Owl aren’t on there as they are TBD):

Enjoy!

Bend among NYTimes’ 2015 destination recommendations

Check out #30 on this list published today by the NYTimes: 52 Places to Go in 2015. Yep. That’s us!

Once a frontier logging town called Farewell Bend, this picturesque city of 80,000 is a seductive spot for travelers who are into craft brewing and the great outdoors. The Bend region has 26 breweries, three wineries, two craft spirit distilleries, two cideries and the Cycle Pub, a tour that allows visitors to quaff craft beers while powering a sort of mobile pub by cycling… Bend has … an embarrassment of riches for hikers, fishermen, climbers, stand-up paddle boarders and kayakers.

McMenamins 2nd Annual High Gravity Extravaganza

Coming up on Saturday, January 17th, McMenamins Old St. Francis School is holding their second annual High Gravity Extravaganza—a terrific mini brewfest featuring all “high gravity” beers, meaning “strong.” It starts at 1pm and runs until 10, with a special meet the brewer part going from 1 to 5.

McMenamins High Gravity Extravaganza

Come celebrate the uniqueness of the High Desert in January with an extravaganza of big & bold high-gravity beers. We’ll be pouring beers from 10 McMenamins Breweries and 12 Central Oregon guest Breweries.

Huddle around the four blazing firepits while chat with the brewers and taste their samples. Meet the brewers from 1 p.m. ’til 5 p.m. Enjoy live music by Mark Ransom & The Mostest and Down North.

If you’re keeping count, that’s 22 breweries pouring beers, which is pretty impressive. How it worked last year was, you bought the pint glass and a punchcard which contained 10 punches, each which would get you a four-ounce sample (worth $1.25 per sample)—a much simpler way to handle and keep track of your tasters than carrying around tickets or tokens. I think they are doing the same this year as well.

The Central Oregon breweries that will be pouring beers are listed as:

  • GoodLife Brewing
  • Three Creeks Brewing
  • Bend Brewing Company
  • Solstice Brewing Company
  • Worthy Brewing Company
  • Sunriver Brewing Company
  • Wild Ride Brewing
  • Crux Fermentation Project
  • Riverbend Brewing
  • Deschutes Brewing Company
  • Boneyard Beer Company
  • Silver Moon Brewing

And among the McMenamins breweries that have made a special trip for the day:

  • McMenamins on Monroe
  • High Street Brewery
  • Thompson Brewery
  • McMenamins on the Columbia Brewery
  • West Linn Brewery
  • Edgefield Brewery
  • Concordia – Kennedy School Brewery
  • Crystal Brewery
  • Old St. Francis Brewery
  • Roseburg Brewery

All in all, this is a great little (or big!) fest that I’m looking forward to! Last year it was unseasonably warm for January, and so far the monthly extended forecast isn’t looking too bad for this year—important since this Extravaganza takes place primarily in the courtyard outside, between the main restaurant and the pub/theater building.

Don’t miss it! And don’t forget to get there early for a chance to meet the brewers and chat about the beers they brought.

Esta Bien!

On Friday we stopped by the relatively-new Esta Bien! on south Third Street, next door to the Third Street Pub and kitty-corner from the Red Carpet Carwash. (At 304 SE 3rd Street, to be exact.) In large part a taco shop, they actually have a more expansive menu that includes buritos, tamales, tortas, pupusas and more. Based on their website it would seem they are best-known for their pupusas, which are “a traditional Salvadoran dish made of a thick, handmade corn tortilla (made using masa de maíz, a cornmeal dough used in Latin American cuisine) that is usually filled” with cheese, pork, and refried beans.

Esta Bien

They basically have a full bar as well, offering 4 beers on draft (Negra Modelo, Tecate, Dos Equis, and the ubiquitous Boneyard RPM IPA) as well as margaritas, and bottled beers and drinks.

I ordered three different tacos (steak, pork, chicken), my son got a chicken burrito (HUGE), and my wife got a taco and a pupusa. All the food was excellent, and pretty inexpensive: $2.50 per taco (a few were higher for more expensive filling), the pupusa was $3, and the burrito was $8 (but like I said, HUGE). You should be able to see on the picture I posted (click to enlarge) most of the prices.

Apparently they make their own tortillas on site, too (according to a co-worker). And that big pitcher of white liquid? Horchata, which my son ordered—a sweetened, spiced rice milk essentially, which reminded me of eggnog. Yum.

All in all, pretty much a no-frills, hole-in-the-wall place that’s inexpensive and has surprisingly great food—this is the place that could give Taco Stand a run for its money (and I like Taco Stand). If that’s your thing—and it should be—then you need to head over and give Esta Bien a try.

An update on Old Mill Brew Wërks

A quick update to yesterday’s story about Old Mill Brew Wërks closing: stopped in at OMBW today for their last day for a couple of happy hour-priced apps and a beer, and picked the server’s brain a bit on what’s going on. According to what she said, it’s just the restaurant portion that is closing, for now, as it transitions to new owners and they reorganize.

Part of that will be remodeling the restaurant portion and (I guess) reworking the brewing side; what that means actually, I don’t know. She said they have a target re-opening date of March 23, in time for spring break.

Will it be under the Brew Wërks name, for the brewery, restaurant, or both? No clue, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Old Mill Brew Wërks is closing

Old Mill Brew WërksIt’s official, Old Mill Brew Wërks posted the news on Facebook:

This Sunday we will be CLOSING the doors to Old Mill Brew Werks!! A farewell to all our fans we will be running happy hour specials all day with mention of this post!!! And free swag giveaways!! Come down and say bye to us all. We will miss all you all!!!

There had been rumors for awhile that something was amiss—I’d heard that a “brewery in the Old Mill” was for sale a couple of months ago, for instance. And from what I could tell, Brew Wërks Brewing—the entity they had spun out from the original OMBW to handle the brewing portion of the business—had quietly been rolled back into the “Old Mill” part of things with uncertain status (on their Facebook page, updated only once in over a year, was a post from someone I know informing them that their (old) business phone number was her new landline number—oops!).

This marks only the second regional brewery to close in 27 years (since Deschutes Brewery first opened in 1988), which is too bad but goes to show that not even the beer industry is successful 100% of the time. (Phat Matt’s of Redmond was the other to close, or rather quietly disappear since there was no formal announcement.)

If you want one last drink and bite from OMBW, head down there Sunday (tomorrow) to pay your respects.

The High Desert Museum’s new Brewing exhibit

High Desert Museum Brewing Culture exhibitIn two weeks the High Desert Museum will be opening a new exhibit I’m a little excited about: Brewing Culture: The Craft of Beer. It’s promising more than just the history of beer and brewing, and is the perfect addition for the Museum to complement our beery culture here.

Oregonians love their stouts, ales and IPAs, and no Oregon town has more brewpubs per capita than Bend. So it’s only natural that Bend’s landmark museum would create a popular exhibit about the craft of beer-making.

Brewing Culture: The Craft of Beer opens January 17th and will be on display through Memorial Day weekend. Special brewing events, tastings, and beer-themed programs will be presented at the Museum throughout the 19-week run, starting with a big kick-off party on January 16th at 6:30 p.m.

The exhibit, conceived and designed by the High Desert Museum staff, will present the history of brewing, the ingredients used in craft beers, the process of brewing and the culture of the craft brewing industry.

In the interests of disclosure, Museum curator Faith Powell did reach out to me a few months ago to pick my brain on beer and the local brewing scene, and I’m also going to be a guest at the January 16th exhibit opening:

Join us for the kick-off event of our newest exhibit, designed specially for beer lovers. Celebrate our local craft brewing community and the history of brewing at the opening of our highly anticipated exhibit. Enjoy beer tastings, bar food and music. Stay for a special discussion with Jon Abernathy, author of Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon, brewers Veronica Vega and Paul Arney. Live music and a no-host bar with plenty of locally-brewed beer.

6:30 – 8:30 pm   Members, free; Non-members, $5. Beer tasting package, $10, includes souvenir glass and five tasting tickets. Additional tastings, $1 per ticket.  This is sure to be a popular event, so please click here to RSVP: www.highdesertmuseum.org/rsvp

January 16 won’t be the only beer event they host, either. In addition to the general exhibit, they will be hosting a number of beer tastings and extra events during the 19 weeks it will be active:

BEER TASTINGS (4:00 – 8:00pm):

  • Feb 5 Porters & Stouts
  • Mar 5 Winter & Spring Seasonals
  • Apr 2 Sessions & Imperials
  • May 7 Sours & Belgians

PANEL DISCUSSION:

  • Feb 19 6:00 – 8:00pm
    Learn about current issues and trends in brewing from experts.

FARM TOUR & BEER DINNER:

  • Apr 25 1:00 – 6:00pm
    Take the full post-production tour from brewery to farm to pub.

OPEN TILL DARK:

  • May 29 4:00 – 8:00pm
    Live music and beer after hours at the Museum.

So I might be a little biased, but I think it’s going to be a great feature offered up by the Museum, and mark your calendars for two weeks from Friday, the 16th—and come out to the exhibit opening! I’ll be doing a talk/Q&A with Paul Arney and Veronica Vega, two of my favorite local brewers, and it’s going to be a great night! See you then!