Thursday, August 18, 2011

Travel Log: Deschutes Brew Pub

I spent a day in beautiful Bend this past weekend, to visit sisters and to show my hubby a bit of the East side he hasn't seen. The poor guy did all the driving though, so I'm not sure he got as good of a view as he'd like. I'll drive next trip, though. ;) It was a beautiful drive through Lebanon and Sweet Home (where we stared about wondering if this would be a good area to buy in, the land values are great over there!) and then over the Santiam pass along the windy Santiam River. Not as windy a drive as Mackenzie pass, but still pretty darned windy and slow. A 2.5 hour drive definitely took us 3 and we arrived at my sisters house a bit frazzled and appreciative of a glass of delicious, local chardonnay. We supped on elk her boyfriend had hunted and fresh veggies my husband harvested at work, and filled ourselves in anticipation of a day of kayaking......  Or just filled ourselves. We were still full in the morning!

Can you see the Pocket pup in her yellow life vest running in the reeds?

What a beautiful day kayaking! We drove out to Sparks lake past Mt. Bachelor and put in some kayaks, a canoe and a paddle board to enjoy the pristine mountain waters. The water was so clear! You could see straight to the bottom, and saw no fish, much to my land-bound-with-fishing-pole-in-hand husband's chagrine. We were accompanied by dogs of all sizes: my Pocket in her life vest (makes it easier to pull her out of the water if she falls, which she never does, or jumps in for some stick fetching), Kobe the Chihuahua in his life vest, Saquoia with her energy and excellent swimmer's legs, and Amity with a will to tag along. I've never seen a dog swim as far as Saquoia did that day: impressive. Off we all went for a several hour long paddle about through craggy rocks under gorgeous mountain views.

After kayaking, we were finally hungry again and made it to the pub my other sister works: Deschutes Brewery. I've been drinking Deschutes' beer since i was young and just developing my beer-snob palette. I started with Mirror Pond as my favorite, but have refined my taste since living near Live Oak brewery in Austin with their fan-frickin-tastic hefeweisen.... I'm now more partial to the complex flavors in white ales and other interesting, often Belgian inspired brews. Our server brought us a few samples to try and i chose their Twin Pillars ale. So yummy! Golden orangey, tons of spice and flavor spinning about. This beer has a pretty high alcohol content, so they serve it in smaller portions in a fancy snifter glass. Ooh la la.

We indulged in an appetizer, the delicious pub pretzel. Man alive! This sauce is too good to even be explained. Cheesey, mustardy, delicious goodness on a plate. And the pretzel itself......   You can tell it was scarfed quickly.

For dinner my sister smartly ordered the salad that i should have ordered, my hubby got the toasted cheese and i got fish in chips. At least i didn't eat all the chips! The fish wasn't greasy though and was cooked perfectly: flakey yet moist. All the food was great. All the beer was great. The service was great (even on the super crowded local's night), and our seat outside (despite new construction of a more pub space next door) was perfect in the late summer temps.

If you're a beer connoisseur and find yourself in Bend, don't miss a trip to Deschutes Brew Pub. There's also one in Portland! If you have the time that we didn't, also check out the brewery itself for a tour to see where this fine elixer is made. It's always fun to hear about how beer is brewed: there's a lot more to it than you may think! It takes some skilled artisans to play with sugar, grain and yeast to create magic in a pint glass. If you stop into the pub in Bend, ask for Sarah and tell her Miranda sent you!

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