Pacific Northwest Trip: Day #4

I awoke Monday morning to another drizzly Seattle day. After packing my bags I headed across the street for some coffee and breakfast. With my stomach full I jumped in my car and headed for Bend.

I really love the fact that the border between Washington and Oregon is the Columbia River. It was kinda odd seeing the “Now Entering Oregon” sign while crossing a bridge, but it doesn’t add a little bit more excitement to the proceeds than your regular “Now Entering” sign.

Just across the border I ran into some traffic. I’m used to sitting in traffic, but it was especially annoying because I could see my offramp (which was clear) and yet it was oh so far away. Soon enough I was out of traffic and on my way towards one of my favorite parts of the (driving portion of the) trip.

Google Maps apparently knows me very well and set me on a course that would lead me through Mt. Hood National Forest. I’m a huge fan on the look of the Pacific Northwest. I’ve always been enamored with coniferous forests and Mt. Hood was exactly that. Pine trees for as far as the eye can see and low-lying clouds dumping rain on my car. It would pour, then stop, the sprinkle, then stop, then pour, then stop…you get the picture. All the while I curved my way through the mountains, loving every minute.

As I made my way out of Mt. Hood National Forest the mountains slowly gave way to flatter lands. Trees still lined both sides of the road, but they were beginning to thin out and show the signs of autumn. Before I knew it I was out into the rolling plains of NW Warm Springs Highway. It was an odd change of scenery that found me crossing the Mill Creek bridge. I took this opportunity to stop and stretch my legs, and grab some photos while out I was there. As morbid as it is, I couldn’t help imagining myself loosing my footing and plunging towards the bottom of the ravine. Thankfully this did not occur.

Soon enough I was back in the car and inching ever closer to Bend.

Around 3 pm that afternoon I pulled into my motel in Bend, Oregon. After checking in and googling the local breweries I was on my way to start drinking!

With the wind picking up I donned my hat, coat and gloves and headed toward Silver Moon Brewing. I hadn’t heard of Silver Moon prior to my Google search, but it was the closest bar to my hotel. I made my way to Silver Moon and was glad to see that I was there in time for happy hour! Oh, yeah it’s a Monday.

It was a pleasant surprise to see over 10 beers on their beer board and each one was calling my name. Even though this was my first experience with Silver Moon beers I was still drawn to their seasonal/special release/one-off beers. My thinking behind this is that if I ever coming across a Silver Moon beer in my local beer store I’m more likely to see their award winning Snakebite Porter than I am their wet hop IPA. As you can probably tell where this is going I ordered their HOPOPATAMUS WET HOP IPA.

With my Hopopatamus in hand a took a seat to watch the Bears vs. Lions game. Being raised in the Midwest I was frequently subjected to the Detroit Lions and their inconsistent play throughout the 90s-2000s. The game started off kinda badly for the cats from Motown so I started focusing more on the beer in front of me and settled in.

The Hopopatamus went down so easily that I couldn’t help but order their other fresh hop IPA, HOP KNOB. Not a lot of brewers brew fresh hop IPAs, so it was quite a treat to see two on tap from this lesser known brewer. I had a marvelous time drinking two beers of the same style back-to-back that were both quite different from each other, but still incredibly tasty.

With a smile on my face and headed back out into the chilly October air on my way to my next destination: Deschutes Brewery Public House.

As I made my way up the block I was dismayed to see that people were waiting outside for their table to be ready. This didn’t bode well for me and the growing hunger in my stomach. Thankfully I was able to get a table almost instantly, which was one of the upsides to go at this trip alone. I took my seat and was glad to see that there was a TV in my eye line and they were showing the Monday Night Football game. Go Lions!

Deschutes is a brewery that is readily available in my area and I haven’t had a bad beer from them. Every single one of their beers has been tasty and I was more than excited to see what kind of unique beers they had on tap tonight.

I was thrilled to see that there were almost FIFTEEN brewery exclusive beers on tap…but I know have the horrible conundrum of deciding which beer to pick first. I went down the list and tried to find a style of beer that I hadn’t had in a while, so I went with their TWIN PILLARS STRONG ALE. This beast was 8.6% ABV and a big way to start the evening.

After polishing off beer number 1, a burger and some sweet potato fries I figured it was time for dessert. AFTERSCHOOL SPECIAL is Deschutes’s version of the milk stout and a chocolatey way to end a meal. Afterschool was a smooth, creamy beer that hit the spot, but really started to fill me up.

I knew I had to have at least one more beer before heading to the next brewery, so I chose a “smaller” beer to save space in my stomach. SPENCER’S GOLD is an American Pale Ale that has one of the greatest noses that I had smelled all weekend long. Sadly, the beer itself did not live up to the hype of that hop-filled aroma, but it wasn’t like I was gonna dump the beer out.

Three beers down and a Lions victory in my pocket, I figured it was time to hit the road. I picked up 22 oz. bottles of their CONFLUX NO. 2 and THE STOIC for the road, but I sadly have not cracked those open yet (soon…soon).

With the wind picking up and the temperature dropping, I headed toward the Bend Brewing Company. Thankfully I only had a few blocks to walk, but I was saddened to find out that the bar was closing for the night. It was pushing 10:30 and I had had a long day, so I decided I should probably just call it a day. I had driven across the state and enjoyed several good beers, so I had nothing to be upset about. Even better I had two more bottles of great beer and another day of travel ahead of me to look forward to! So it was back to the hotel with California on my mind.

Come back soon for the fifth and final day of my travels!

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