(Next week, my hubs and I are taking a mini-vacay to my home-state of Oregon, and in celebration, I'm going to tell you about some awesome beers. You're welcome.)
Oregonians are not strident state-lovers like Texans or Californians. Part of it is because our state flag isn't particularly awesome, and partly because there are relatively few native Oregonians--most people come to Oregon in search of a place to hang their Tibetan prayer flags and drink Campajujujuju tea in peace. (I kid, I kid.)
Oregon is a quirky place--part unabashed redneck country, part self-aware hipster, part hand-wringingly evironmentally-concious and part-the-Earth-is-our-playground joyful.
One place that captures all the sides of Oregon (and one of my personal favorite destinations) is Deschutes Brewery. It has the kind of food one expects from the Northwest (gluten-free and vegetarian options abound) while still maintaining a lumber-jack-ish, manly quality to many of its offerings. (Pear, goat cheese and arugula pizza shares menu space with wild boar sausage, for instance).
The restaurant location in Bend, Oregon is pure perfection, located in the heart of downtown (close to the Deschutes River, natch) and complete with the kind of easy-going, loud atmosphere that any good brewpub should have. (There's also a brewery tour, complete with free beers, apparently, which WHY have we not done that yet? Next week, I'll try it for y'all, and report back, like the selfless tester I am.)
But I haven't even gotten to the best part yet, which is obvious: THE BEER. Oh you guys, the beer.
My hubby, a stout-lover, likes the Black Butte Porter, a creamy dark beer with a nutty chocolate flavor. It's considered the "flagship beer" for Deschutes Brewery, so that means (lucky you!) that it's available at most BevMos, even if other flavors aren't.
It's only available May-September (boo!) and is harder to find out-of-state, although I have found it in California on occasion. It's less citrus-y than many summer ales, and has a dangerously drinkable quality - I'm pretty sure I could burn through a six-pack on my own pretty easily.
Really, though, these are just our personal faves. I've never had a bad beer from Deschutes Brewery, so you just need to go taste some and decide for yourself.
"The meek shall inherit, well, some pretty dull beers." -Deschutes Brewery