Bend OktoberfestIt’s that time of year again—Oktoberfest season! Oktoberfest officially runs from September 20 through October 5 this year, and the local events are gearing up accordingly. Here’s a rundown:

Eagle Crest’s annual Oktobercrest is taking place this Saturday the 13th, running from 11am until 9pm. There will be “dozens” of beers on tap, along with cider and wine, and Oktoberfest-inspired foods, live music, and more. There is even, for the first time, an Oktobercrest 5K Beer Run taking place from 11am to 1pm tied to it (which will cost you $25 to enter). For the Fest itself, mugs cost $10, and tasting tickets cost $1 each. It should be a fun day with a lot of things to offer! Hat tip to radio’s Robin Fox for the heads-up!

The Bend Oktoberfest is taking place the next weekend, on Friday the 19th and Saturday the 20th. This is Bend’s oldest Oktoberfest celebration, taking place on Oregon Avenue downtown and features beers, specialty foods, games, wiener dog races, and more—including family-friendly activities. And one of the features I like about this Fest is the beer—you buy the steins, and then you get full pint pours of all the beers (or cider)—$4 to $5 per pint, at least, but it’s not the ticket/token based method, and if you’re going to be eating brats and listening to Oompah music then you’re going to want a pint of beer in your hand!

Over at the Old St. Francis School on Saturday the 20th, McMenamins’ own Oktoberfest is taking place all day long, a nice companion to the Bend Oktoberfest. They’ll have live music in O’Kane’s Square starting at 1pm, and moving to Father Luke’s Room at 8pm—all free, all day long. Look for a special beer, food specials, and I’m quite sure some colorful, festive figures running around.

Any other Oktoberfest celebrations taking place? Let me know and I’ll post updates!

Bend Creamery: Scratch-made ice cream using liquid nitrogen

I got a press release recently about the newest ice cream cart, Bend Creamery, and it sounds intriguing: they make their ice cream from scratch using liquid nitrogen. And according to that press release, it’s made on the spot for you, to order:

Bend Creamery, creators of Bend, Oregon’s only made-from-scratch organic ice cream, recently opened its tiny and powerful cart downtown. Mixing and flash freezing the ingredients right in front of visitors with a unique process that always brings a smile, this local company serves up delicious, organic goodness each weekend.

They’re going all-in on the organic angle as well, keeping it simple with only three base ingredients going into their ice cream: milk, cream, and sugar (all organic). Here’s a bit more from the press release about the process:

New flavors are added seasonally and the cart is currently serving fresh mint, sweet cream and chocolate ice cream, along with fresh waffle cones, fudge, caramel and raspberry sauces all made in house.

The ice cream is flash-frozen right in front of the customer using a tank filled with something that’s found in 78 percent of the air we breathe: nitrogen. This liquid nitrogen is -321 degrees and it freezes the ice cream ingredients 10 times faster than commercial batch freezers (after which it evaporates). Faster freezing means there’s simply not time for tiny ice crystals to form, and results in the creamiest ice cream possible. This process is also why Bend Creamery does not need to use any gums, stabilizers or any other “extra” ingredients.

So far they are only open on weekend (Friday through Sunday) from 1 to 8pm, in the Riverfront Plaza (by Crow’s Feet Commons). I haven’t personally tried their ice cream yet so I can’t vouch for it, but it’s sound interesting enough to check out!

Bend Creamery

Bend’s newest cidery: Far Afield Cider

Far Afield CiderLast weekend after the Little Woody we swung by the new Maker’s District to check out some of their block party action and to stop in at the new Far Afield Cider, which was having its grand opening the same day.

Far Afield grand opening

Far Afield is located on NE Second Street, in the former Nectar of the Gods Meadery (you might remember this mead was only available at the Horned Hand before closing). As such, they go into the space with minimum renovation needs—it was already plumbed and set up for fermentation, and included a walk-in cooler.

Far Afield cidery

Far Afield cidery

The Bulletin ran a profile of John Gessner, the owner (whom I’ve known along with his wife Brenda for years), back in July and highlights a few key points behind the Far Afield philosophy:

Gessner, who formerly homebrewed as a hobby, said he’s doing something a little bit differently than the other Bend cideries — aging the cider. He currently has about 1,200 gallons aging and hopes to have it available in kegs this month.

One day he would like to have the apples pressed on-site. But for now, he said, he gets his juice from the Yakima Valley in Washington. When the juice arrives, he ferments it. He adds yeast, lets it sit for up to 10 days, removes the yeast and stores it in the cooler to age from two to six months.

The only difference now is that I believe the juice is coming from Hood River—at least that’s what I thought they’d said last week.

They are focusing on two main types of cider (as well as apple cider vinegar): a sweet cider that is sweetened with honey and seasoned with vanilla, and a cider fermented with an ale yeast—“For the beer lovers,” as they said last week, pouring samples of this particular one. I don’t know that it had a beer character but I do think it had a bit of a fruity ale yeast profile and more body/mouthfeel than you usually encounter in a cider. (The sweet cider wasn’t pouring, as the latest batch was still aging.)

Look for their cider to go on tap at the usual suspects initially—the Platypus Pub, Broken Top Bottle Shop, the Growler Guys—but I don’t know when and where that will be for sure yet. But you can follow their Facebook page to keep abreast of updates.

Far Afield Cider - apple tree branch
Apple tree branch they used for their “ribbon” cutting

Hollinshead Garden Open House

OSU Extension Service - Master Gardener
OSU Extension Service – Master Gardener

How did your garden grow, this summer? Personally, I cultivated a beautiful salad bar for the “antler’d rats” (er, adorable deer). Luckily they don’t seem to like the taste of hops… yet.

If your tomatoes are troublesome, if you need advice about growing veggies, or if you just want to tour the gardens… then be sure to check out the Hollinshead Community Garden Open House this Saturday, September 6th, 10am-2pm.  Highlights will include tours, classes, and tastings in the garden and homestead house. Got a gardening question? You can ask an OSU Extension Service Master Gardener as you roam.

The Little Woody starts today!

The Little WoodyOne of Bend’s premier beer festivals, The Little Woody Barrel Aged Brew and Whiskey Fest, kicks off today at 5pm and continues tomorrow at noon (ending at 10pm both days)! It’s also one of my favorites, featuring beers aged on wood in some form, many brewed specifically for this event.

As always it’s taking place at the Des Chutes Historical Museum, and is featuring some 23 breweries pouring something like 38 beers (I posted a handy list here), not to mention the whiskey tasting that will be taking place inside the museum throughout the event.

If you can go, I’d highly recommend it. It will cost $10 for the basic entry fee, which gets you in plus a commemorative glass. $20 gets you that plus 10 tasting tokens, which are worth $1 apiece. Remember, though, that beers (and whiskeys) always cost multiple tokens—last year, they ranged from 2 to 6 tokens in price.

But it’s definitely worth it, you’ll be tasting some unique beers you won’t find anywhere else, and the Museum is a great setting. Don’t miss out!

Alpenglow and baked. Have Closed Their Doors

A couple of closures came to my attention recently…

I heard about baked. closing at The Night Light Show on Monday. (Have you been to The Night Light Show? It’s fantastic. But that’s a topic for a different post.) Confirmation on their FB page:

The rumors are true. Baked will be closing our doors for good after this week. Our last day of business will be this Saturday, August 23rd. If you’d like to stock up on bread or pastries, please call the bakery to place your orders at least a day ahead of time, as we will probably be selling out. Our number is 541.389.2390 . Thank you so much for supporting us over the past 4 years. We’ve had a great time baking goodies and getting to know you all.

Rumor has it that Foxtail Bakery and an independent bookshop (!!!) are planning to take over the space.

Also, I got a message from a friend that Alpenglow Cafe had their last day of serving delicious, from-scratch meals on Sunday 8/24. I haven’t been able to find any confirmation, and have not had a chance to stop by and peek in the doors to see what’s up. I’m curious if the owners were done, or if the landlords were raising rent or something like that.

It’s always disappointing to see locally owned and operated businesses go dark. Any others that folks should know about?

Join Bend’s new Maker’s District for a block party on August 30

Bend Maker's DistrictYou may have heard about the new “Maker’s District” that has formed recently, a group of local businesses located on First and Second streets loosely between Greenwood and Olney Avenues, just east of downtown.

They have a block party celebration coming up on August 30, with over 20 businesses participating and 19 of them offering up a “passport” that you can get stamped by them (think Bend Ale Trail) to be entered into a drawing to win prizes. You can pick up these passports at any of the Maker’s District businesses, and it just needs to be turned in by 8pm on August 30.

Here’s the blurb on the block party event:

August 30, 4-9pm businesses between Olney and Greenwood on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd street (and side streets) will be hosting music, food, drinks, bike events and other special events to cross promote the new district. Come check out our businesses ranging from kombucha to bikes, fitness, produce and a cafe. We will be holding a raffle as well! This a family friendly event!

And among the things they have listed going on that night:

Natural Edge Furniture will have the following, BBQ & freshmen’s, Daniel Paggi-One man band extraordinaire & The Cutmen-Southern style funk band

2nd Street Theatre will have improv!

humm kombucha will have 3 performances: singer songwriter Tyler Robson, singer/songwriters Jesc Miller, and members of Harley bourbon. Oregon Spirits Distillers will have a outside booth for cocktails, and beer from Bridge 99 is available as well as Volcano Vineyards Peach Sangria on tap.

Free Range Equipment & Sara Bella Upcycled will have the band Jigs & Reels free beer on tap. 1234 NE 1st

inMotion will have Cornhole, beer from North Rim Brewing chips and salsa, Giant Jenga, and music!

Hold Fast Kustoms will have Betty Ace Broads & Rods Magazine pin up models! Beer and Five Pint Mary!