It’s fitting that Oregon, land of craft beer and gorgeous landscapes, would find a way to celebrate both. If the weather has you champing at the bit for wide open spaces and a tall cold one, we have just the trip for you. Saddle up and head out on the Eastern Oregon Brews Byway.
Start your tour in Boardman at Ordnance Brewing, a farmer-owned operation named after a ghost town. The taproom is located inside an old onion plant, where 15 taps flow with the brewery’s distinct beers and one guest cider.
Next head to Pendleton, where you don’t have to be a cowboy to appreciate the Western flavor of Prodigal Son Brewery and Pub. But out here, in the land of the Pendleton Round-Up and the Blue Mountains, you could start channeling Johnny Cash. Reach for A Beer Named Sue.
In Milton-Freewater, visit Dragon’s Gate Brewery, a farmhouse brewery specializing in small-batch, Belgian-style ales brewed from estate-grown hops and naturally carbonated through a bottle conditioning process.
New in 2017 is Side A Brewing in La Grande, located in the city’s historic firehouse. Be one of the first to taste the brewery’s brand-new batches and enjoy the upcoming back-alley beer garden.
Further on, you might feel like the wild beauty of northeast Oregon wants to eat you for breakfast. The towering peaks of the Wallowa Mountains, pristine depths of Wallowa Lake and remote trails of Eagle Cap Wilderness demand your respect. Raise a glass to rugged individualism at Terminal Gravity Brewing in Enterprise.
Back on I-84, you’ll find yourself steeped in Oregon’s past in historic Baker City. Reflect on the 19th-century settlers who passed by on the Oregon Trail at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, and learn about those who stayed to farm and build the charming town. End your own day at Barley Brown’s Brew Pub or Lefty’s Taphouse.
When you reach the far eastern border of Oregon, it’s nice to know you are still safely in beer country. Celebrate that fact at the bicycle-themed Tandem Brewing in Ontario, which shares a space with the Jolts & Juice Co., a coffee house and bistro. Here you can salute the wild and scenic region with a pint of Triple Chainring IPA.
Finally, it’s worth going the extra distance to John Day, where 1188 Brewing Company opened in 2014. Raise a glass of Box Canyon Pale Ale and journey onward to the Painted Hills and beyond.
Enjoy the Eastern Oregon Brews Byway safely, and please don’t drink and drive.