Bend, Oregon–let’s see, I think if I recall correctly, they have a brewery there. Kidding. Bend has gone insane. There are currently have, depending on how you count, around 18 breweries in Central Oregon, and ten or so in Bend proper. The difficulty is not finding breweries, it’s choosing which ones to go to.
The first thing I’d recommend is getting the Bend Ale Trail app if you have a smart phone. It has listings of all the breweries and a map that helps you navigate around. Then you have the hard choices. Deschutes is definitely a must–it’s one of the best breweries in the US, and a bit of a pilgrimage to see the original downtown brewpub. If you want to stay downtown, Bend Brewing is another venerable favorite and just around the corner.
I’d recommend three other places. Definitely try Crux Fermentation Project, which just opened last year. It’s Larry Sidor’s new brewery–he was the master brewer at Deschutes for ten years prior to starting Crux. (Inversion, Green Lakes, the Abyss, Hop Henge, etc etc–all his.) It’s in a bit of a no-man’s land, but the pub is gorgeous and fun. Next, you might try to stop in at Boneyard, which is on the walkable outskirts of downtown. Boneyard is an IPA house, which I know is not your sweet spot. But it’s also the “it” brewery in Oregon right now–they have the most popular IPA from Bend to Portland, which is really saying something. A funky little place named after the brewer’s efforts to cobble together his brewery by picking the “bones” of other breweries. (They only have a tasting room with limited hours, so plan ahead.) Finally, Worthy Brewing is brand-new, and a place I haven’t yet visited. But it’s a big project helmed by Chad Kennedy, who was formerly the longtime brewer at Laurelwood in Portland. He’s a really fantastic brewer.