Early the next morning (July 11) I drove downtown to the visitor center where I picked up a more reliable map and some useful information. Learned where to rent a bicycle for the day and headed over there to hire a three-gear fat-tired cruiser. All right! It was barely ten o'clock and most of the brewpubs didn't open until 11 or 11:30. But the McMenamins would be open; it is one of their hotel pubs and figured to be serving breakfast.
4. In Bend, the Macs acquired a Catholic school building and converted it to a brewing hotel, the Old St. Francis School. It comes with all the trimmings, including a detention room/pub downstairs and a movie theater.
I imagine my nephew Joe and my nieces Cathy and Lisa, all alums of Boylan High in Rockford, would get a huge kick out of a place like this. The barmaids don't have that steely-eyed nun look, though. I don't consider a brewpub visit official unless I have a taste of something made there, so for late breakfast I ordered up a short glass of Father Francis Kolsch. Light and summer-y, 5.0% abv and a mildly tart 28 IBUs. Fourth stamp in the ale trail passport and the day was still young.
5. On the bike, I pedaled across the Deschutes River to 10 Barrel Brewing's pub on the west side. This place was just a few blocks from Goodlife's brewpub but when I cruised by last night, there was not a parking spot to be seen for three blocks in any direction. A madly popular spot like that, best to pop in right after they open, at 11 a.m. Worked like a charm. Manny was tending bar and he had time to talk about the operation before the lunch rush started. First, the name. Yes, they run a 10-barrel system, but that's mostly for R&D, one-off brews and experiments. The big casino is a 50-barrel system; the two are side-by-side in an industrial area across town. Second, the age. !0 Barrel was founded three years ago, and has already ramped up to enough sales to keep the big casino humming. They also have a pub in Boise and a presence in Portland. They bottle, the can, and they put out some stuff on a draft-only basis.
Manny drew me a nice pint of the CDA (Cascadian Dark Ale) and also encouraged me to check out a taste of the Swill. Swill is a shandy-like summertime beer, in which an imperial-strength Berliner Weisse is brewed and then diluted with a non-alcoholic grapefruit soda 10 Barrel also makes. Very nice. Add stamp # 5 to the passport and push on. It's still morning in this part of America.
6. Next target was the Crux Fermentation Project, reached in an odd way (you go west under the freeway, south a block, turn right and go back under the freeway again on a narrow dead-end road). Their writeup in the passport book said their grilled cheese sandwiches are renowned, so I called this my lunch stop. A brewer told me their system counts its capacity in hectoliters, and theirs was rated at ten of those (metric equivalent to an eight-and-a-half barrel system). They also employ some untraditional brewing methods like open fermentation, wild yeast strains, and decoction mashing, and create a wide variety in small batches. The operation has been going just over a year.
7. Boneyard Beer is a production brewery, without a restaurant. On-premise consumption is limited to little 2-ounce glasses, the first one free, additional tastes a dollar each. In brewery-speak, a boneyard is an area where old equipment is put after being replaced by something newer. This boneyard was assembled with castoff equipment and opened in 2010. Three years later, production on the 20-barrel system is surging.
(All seen on 7/11/13)