Les Schwab Amphitheater, Old Mill District Mid-August
These days, beerocratic Bend doesn’t do much of anything that isn’t a lively major production, and millennials might be surprised to learn that not long before they were born, busy, bustling, ebullient Bend was a rather quiet little oasis where strangers said hello when passing on the quiet downtown sidewalks. Such nostalgia aside, these days Bend is a swank destination drawing visitors from all quarters; it is now the state’s fifth-largest metropolitan areas and among the fastest growing in the nation.
Bend Brewfest – USA Festivals Photo Gallery
Bend is also one of the most beercentric cities in the West, as evidenced not only by its myriad always-crowded breweries but also by the massive, jovial, frolicking Bend Brewfest, spanning three days each August at the sprawling lawn of the Les Schwab Amphitheater in the Old Mill District just south of downtown. Shoulder-to-shoulder crowds vie for samples of dozens upon dozens of regional beers in this incredible event that surely must by now rank among the most grandiose brew festivals in the state. In recent years, the Bend Brewfest has boasted at least 100 breweries, cideries, and wineries, and that number may soon hit 200. One of the popular aspects of the Bend Brewfest are the XTap samplings at the Brewtality Tent: numerous participating brewers bring low-production specialty beers to sample during designated time slots and the brewers themselves are on hand at the
Bend Brewfest is a massive, three-day celebration of regional ales.
Brewtality Tent to talk about their creations. The Brewfest begins on Thursday at noon and runs through Saturday, open until 11 each night. Thursday generally begins rather inauspiciously, making it a great time to find nearby parking—get there early and plan to stay into the night. There is no actual admission fee, but sampling requires one-time purchase of a souvenir mug that comes with five tasting tokens and additional tokens are sold separately.
A variety of excellent food vendors (cash only/ATM onsite) provide an eclectic lineup of meals and snacks. Parents are welcome to bring children up until 5 pm; thereafter the event is 21 and over only. August in Bend almost always means all-day intense sunshine, so bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and perhaps even a low-profile carryable beach/camp chair. Parking is always a challenge, so consult the event parking map at www.bendconcerts. com/parking_map.html. Lodging in Bend is even more challenging than parking, so make hotel reservations weeks if not months in advance. Campgrounds are scattered throughout the region, including ever-popular and conveniently located Tumalo State Park on the north end of town. This three-day festival allows readmission, so you only need to buy the required sampling mug on your first entry; spend some time exploring the city, then come back for more frivolity at one of Oregon’s biggest brew fests.