When the Bend Ale Trail passport launched in 2010, it did so with eight breweries that represented the bulk of the regional brewing scene. At the time, the self-guided tour (one of only two in the nation) was unlike anything else in Oregon, giving beer buffs the chance to collect stamps at their favorite breweries and win fun prizes.
Much has changed in the years since, not the least of all Bend’s brewing scene. Today more than two dozen breweries pour award-winning ales and lagers within city limits and even more call Sisters, Redmond, Sunriver and Prineville home. This means about 30 possible stops to visit along the trail.
And as the Central Oregon craft-beer scene has grown, so too has the Bend Ale Trail. An updated passport launched in June 2021, boasting new prizes, seven new “territories” to explore, a web-based mobile experience and a bevy of outdoor activities to pair with your brewery-hopping. So as you look to chart a course along the Bend Ale Trail, here’s a look at what’s new — and how to fit in some tastings on your next trip to the region, in between skiing, biking, hiking, paddling and exploring other top attractions.
The Bend Ale Trail ushered in several changes when it relaunched with a new look and experience in 2021. Here’s a quick breakdown of the most notable differences:
No longer are all the participating breweries in Central Oregon grouped together. Now the Bend Ale Trail has been broken up into seven distinct territories — five in Bend, one in Redmond, and one for breweries in Sisters, Sunriver and Prineville. Each territory hosts a handful of brewpubs and tasting rooms, making it easy to concentrate on one area at a time, rather than sprinting all over the region to collect stamps at the likes of Spider City Brewing, Porter Brewing Co., Three Creeks Brewing, Sunriver Brewing Co. and CR Brewing.
Visit all the breweries in each territory and you’ll be awarded a special tasting glass emblazoned with that region’s logo; visit every brewery in all seven territories and you’ll earn a taster tray to show off that new glassware. You can also win a special glass for visiting seven of the 16 wineries, cider makers and distillers on the passport, and designated drivers can win a prize for visiting any five establishments. Prizes can be claimed at the Visit Bend office in downtown Bend. (Keep in mind that November is Bend Ale Trail Month, complete with extra prizes, contests and giveaways.)
Paperless Mobile Experience
Point your phone’s browser to BendAleTrail.app, where you can create an account and check into each brewery without ever plunking down for a paper passport. If location services are enabled on your phone, you can check in via GPS; if not, look for a manual code to enter on the lower-right corner of the Bend Ale Trail sign at each stop.