Silky porters. Hoppy IPAs. Citrus loaded sours. Bend brewers know more than a thing or two about crafting exceptional microbrews. But as luck would have it, beer’s not the only tastebud satisfying game in town. Many a brewery and tap house are plating up savory treats that will rock your world (while also helping you stay sober enough for another round).
And with so many good things to eat and sip — Bend is one of the best friends vacations in the Pacific Northwest. Especially for those friends who come armed growlers and ready for a good time.
5 of the Best Places to Grab Drinks and a Bite in Bend
If you’re looking for a joint where the fork, spoon, and finger selection might just outshine the pours, Sunriver Brewing should be on your list. Founded in its namesake, Sunriver, this craft brewery opened its Bend joint in 2016. (It has since expanded Eugene as well.)
The menu is regionally focused and sustainably based. But that doesn’t mean you’ll get bombarded with an all-vegetarian assault. The hearty selection ranges from pulled pork nachos to the ‘impossible burger.’ (The impossible burger is a meatless patty that tastes, feels and looks like ground beef. It even bleeds if cooked properly!)
You can’t go wrong with the pub burger. Loaded with smoked Gouda, pepper bacon, and beer braised onions, it comes on jalapeño cheddar bun ($14).
The Wagyu sliders ($14.5) and the street tacos ($14) are also sure to satisfy. But really it’s the shareable apps that pair nicely with a pint or taster flight.
Served on a quarter sheet pan, the pub nachos are a toppings-heavy monstrosity ($10.5) Black beans. Pickled Green Chile beer cheese. Your fingers will get dirty. Your belly will smile. Especially if you add the generously portioned pulled pork (+ $3).
Crispy Brussels are also worth a look, tossed in ham, park and citrus vinaigrette ($10). So too is the general Tso fried cauliflower — a vegetarian-friendly choice that appeared to more than delight the table next to us ($8).
And while nachos and Brussels and cauliflower may grab your attention, don’t overlook the ‘Dirty Lil’ Fries’ ($12). You’d be hard pressed to find a better beer drinking choice. French fries come topped with all the things. A poutine of sorts — crispy pork belly and mama lil’s picketed peppers are sprinkled with Parmesan, bits of crispy kale and white cheddar. The whole thing is finished with a generous drizzle of lime sour cream, for an appy that’ll make you lick your fingers and maybe the plate.
Favorite Beer: Emotional Support Peacock. I mean, if the name doesn’t get you the fruit forward, slightly sour flavor will.
Tucked in what felt like a mix between a strip mall and an industrial zone, Good Life sports an impressive selection of pours. So good in fact, the argument was made that it was the best beer we had in Bend.
As a dark beer gal, the Coffee Stout was a sure winner — featuring a heavy feel and a smooth, dark taste.
On the lighter side of things, the Sippy Cup was bright and fresh. Loaded with juices flavor, this hazy pale ale still packs a big texture that satisfies.
The vibe here is more local pub — complete with mug club and communal tables — than restaurant. But don’t let the focus on hops fool you. The selection of roasted pork belly, elevated grilled cheese, and hearty meatball subs is mouthwatering, even on a full belly.
Our groups only complaint, we didn’t have long enough to stay for more than a tasting flight.
Looking for a dog-friendly joint to enjoy a pint? Immersion Brewing’s patio welcomes four-legged patrons with a smile and even a bed, should your pup need one.
In keeping with the high expectations for Bend beer, pours here are loaded with flavor. Ranging from a tart sour, aptly named the Sexy Girlfriend, or a lush Oatmeal Stout — they’re pouring something for everyone.
But don’t let your focus on hearty pints keep you from perusing the menu. Immersion Brewing’s gastropub fare is a zesty mix of flavor and texture. If you’re looking for a surefire appy to share, the Cajun Taters is generously portioned and addictively seasoned.
Crux Fermentation Project
Since opening in 2012, Crux Fermentation Project’s wild popularity outgrew its original one-room tasting room. Undergoing a major expansion, the original tasting room still butts up against the brewery’s tanks — helping it maintain its small-root feel. But the newer industrial chic tasting room features communal tables and large garage doors. During the summer months, the doors are opened onto an expansive lawn where you’ll find a taco stand, brat stand, and outdoor fire pits.
The beer ranges from big hoppy IPA and rich porters to barrel-aged saisons and mild pilsners. But one thing’s for certain, no matter what you choose, it’s sure to pack a punch of flavor.
Though not a brewery, you won’t want to miss this casual dining joint. The staff as Spork is friendly, thanks in part to their glassy eyes. The décor’s eclectic. And the menu has been referred to by The New York Times as “culinary magic.”
A frequent special, Vegetable Green Curry ($10), is true to its spicy description — packing enough heat that it’ll give your taste buds a zing. But somehow in all that spice, the subtle nuances of lemongrass and basil still ring true.
The Spicy Pork Noodles ($13) also back a punch, coming loaded with both caramel pork meatballs and bites of pork shoulder. Topped with peanuts, fried wontons, and bean sprouts, this bold is a riot of texture.
The Thai Steak Salad ($12) is an impressively large mixed-greens plate. Smothered in fried shallots and toasted coconut, it comes with a spicy-tart dressing.
But I would argue it’s the Carnitas Sando ($12) which steals the show. This toasted sandwich is stuffed with slow roasted pork and yuca chips. It’s hit with a bit of sweet onion, radish, and cabbage for brightness. Cojita adds a salty element. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, a fried egg is thrown into the mix — the egg yolk slipping into bites like liquid gold.