The best breweries in Bend: family friendly brewery tours and brew pubs
I’m going to keep this short and sweet, but really helpful. Bend, Oregon is amazeballs. I don’t need to tell you that if you’re reading this already, but there you have it. One of the things that we loved, was the welcoming nature EVERYWHERE to us dads with our kids. We especially enjoyed all of the family friendly breweries in Bend. There may be non-family friendly breweries, but we didn’t find any. We’ve pared down the countless brewpubs and beer halls to our favorites.
Did you not know family friendly breweries were a thing? Yeah: wine tasting, distilleries, family friendly breweries, all of these are ways to encourage people to go out and explore the local culture and craft. Brewing is actually a science and an art, so teaching kids about making beer (not about drinking it) is a new way to plant the seed of creativity for later in life. Our kids love doing family brewery tours; maybe because they like to taste raw grains or maybe because they like to hear about science. Who knows, but the family friendly breweries in Bend were great to do with kids.
What you'll find...
How to visit breweries in Bend, OR
First off, always have a designated driver (DD). Whether you’re a group of adults or you’re doing a family friendly brewery trip, you always need to think about safety first. If it’s you doing the Bend breweries solo, then take advantage of Lyft (use code TRAVELDADS05319) or Uber to ensure that you’re being safe while enjoying the best breweries in Bend.
Don’t forget also, you need to set your Out-of-Office if you’re doing brewery tours in Bend. Our friends at 10 Barrel Brewing Co can help with that…
Once you’ve got your transportation and OOO set up, there are two ways to do brewery tours in Bend:
- Visit a different brewery for each meal during your visit to Bend, OR
- Set aside a day or two over the course of your stay to participate in the Bend Ale Trail passport game, collecting all 18 brewery passport stamps
Bonus: Visit Bend has set up special DD Passports for the Bend Ale Trail also, so whoever is in charge of transportation can still have fun.
We opted for the first choice of seeking out the best breweries in Bend with kids and visited during each of our meals. Being there for a week, we had ample chances to try many great brewpubs and ale houses.
“Didn’t the kids get sick of doing family brewery tours?” Nope, not at all. The kids know that breweries make the best burgers, and a good number of breweries and wineries have fun stuff set up for kids, so it makes incorporating brew-stops into your travel plans easy and fun for everyone.
As you’re plotting out your trip to Bend itinerary, take a look at the map of breweries and you can actually plan your lunches and dinners to happen in conjunction with daily hikes and time on the river.
Note: each of the family friendly breweries we recommend below has a Google Maps link, so tapping that link from your phone should open your map program for easy driving directions.
INSERT Bend breweries map
How many breweries in Bend, OR?
As of this moment, Fall of 2018, there are about 25 breweries in Bend, and then beyond Bend there are more in Redmond, Sisters and on. Central Oregon knows that it’s in a unique position of being the hub for outdoor fun and is the crossroads of farming. Put together a culture that loves micro brews and some of the best hops around, and you’re set up for an amazing, prolific brewery culture.
As you check out our list of the most family friendly breweries in Bend, be sure to let us know if there’s one we missed that we need to include or visit on our next trip to Bend. We love to find new places and share the work passionate breweries are doing!
Best Breweries in Bend, Oregon
Now, for our list of our favorite spots to enjoy the micro brew culture in Central Oregon. We feel that these are the best breweries in Bend, but there are so many and everybody has a different taste in beer, so if you drive past one that’s not on our list, you can still stop there and then share it with us!
Crux Fermentation Project
Before we even made it to Bend, Oregon people were telling us that we needed to go to Crux Fermentation Project. Okay then, we love a strong and consistent recommendation. We were not disappointed! The Crux brewery is a multifaceted experience. Inside is industrial meets steampunk. Outside is play space / beer garden.
We started inside and checked out the brewing operations, then we sat at one of the community tables for lunch. They had a great kids menu and an even better adult menu. Chris and I shared the amazeballs charcuterie platter and it changed our lives forever. Now we expect every meat and cheese plate to be exceptionally local, exceptionally craft, and ALWAYS to come with pickled mustard seeds. I didn’t know that was missing from our lives. #lessonlearned
Outside, there was a beer truck like you’d see at a street fair, a sausage truck with a steady flow of customers, a fire pit, lawn games, and lots of space to hang with the family or friends. The kids didn’t want to leave… so we got extra beers.
Notable experience: this was the brewery where we realized how inclusive and welcoming Bend is. If you’re not part of a gay family you might not fully get it, but there are few more subtly demeaning or judgmental instances than somebody blatantly asking if you’d like separate checks. Not only did we realize that at no time during our trip to Bend were we asked about separate checks, but the staff even referred to us at “the dads” and treated us like a completely normal family. That made us so happy, and now that we know what normal feels like, it puts every other interaction into perspective.
Beer to try: Gimme Mo – Not Just Another IPA. This was an awesome beer with the primary qualities of an IPA but brighter and more fun, kind of fruity actually. Delish on a hot day in Bend playing corn-hole with the kids
Worthy Brewing Company
Of all the breweries in Bend, or anywhere for that matter, Worthy Brewing stands out as the most unique, most interesting and most exciting of all family friendly breweries we’ve been to. Between making the brewery tour fun for kids (including lemonades) to being a living example of sustainability and eco-consciousness, Worthy Brewing captures the spirit of Bend and the future of community centered business practices. I know, we totally drank the Kool-Aid… I mean the Strata IPA.
Worthy Brewing is a must as you tour breweries in Bend for several super cool reasons:
- The hop vines, greenhouse and kitchen garden
- The outdoor patio and performance space
- Great food and wood fired pizzas
- Broad range of quality, interesting beers
- The Hopservatory
Yes, that last one is the big kicker for anybody who needs some perspective in life. Go, do your brewery tour and have dinner, and then when it gets dark, head up into the observatory, the Hopservatory, and see just how small you are in the grand scheme of the universe. Getting to actually look at Saturn with our own eyes was amazing. It really is another planet, another world, and we got a glimpse of that at Worth Brewing. A brewery.
Beers to try: if you just want a quality, standard beer, go for the Prefunk American Pale Ale. If you want to see what happens when you add fruits and fresh hops, you HAVE TO TRY the Kama Citrus and Stata IPAs. Both are impressive for being complex and interesting while adding adding fruit elements. Well executed.
I know, how can you even think of Bend, Oregon without thinking of Deschutes Brewery. I remember being 21 and first learning about beer and knowing that Mirror Pond Pale Ale was good. But then you actually go to the brewery or the brew pub and you see that they have SO MANY types of beer that you can’t get out of state, and it’s beer boggling.
For the full Bend brewery tour experience, go to the Deschutes Brewery and Tasting room right off the Deschutes River, on the way out of town to Cascade Lakes Highway. For an impressive beer selection, great food and event space, the Downtown Public House is centrally located with lots of street parking nearby. The brewpub atmosphere is great with kids, especially for dinner, as it’s loud enough that you can relax. The staff we met were all attentive and friendly, and they took time to interact with the kids. Perfect brewery for tastings or a good meal.
Beers to try: Fresh Haze all the way. Maybe we were just really into fresh hopped beers on when we were there or maybe Fresh Haze really was the single best beer in Bend, I don’t know, but I would love to have that available at our home in Washington.
Bend Brewing Company
You can’t go wrong when you’ve found great food AND outdoor play space with shady seating on a river. We were recommended to visit Bend Brewing Company by our tour guide with Wanderlust Tours, and he was so awesome on the trail we had to trust him about which breweries in Bend we needed to visit.
Located in the downtown part of Bend, not in the Old Mill District (use the map link below), Bend Brewing Company is the perfect afternoon brewery stop. If you want to hang out inside or outside, there is ample seating. If you’re there just to do beer flights, that’s fine too, and you can do beer tasting at the bar or outside on the lawn. The kids loved the open space to be crazy and play corn hole in the shade.
Beers to try: the second oldest of the breweries in Bend, they know their beer here. They offer both draft and canned beer at the brewpub. Exploregon Hoppy Lager and Tropic Pines Juicy IPA were of course our favs. Bend beers don’t disappoint.
10 Barrel Brewing
We first came across 10 Barrel Brewing beers in Westport, Washington when we were staying at the LOGE Camps location on the Washington coast. Just a short bike ride from the LOGE Camps Entrada Lodge in Bend was the actual brewery. Again, rocking the outdoor brewery experience, 10 Barrel Brewing Co is set up to either get you relaxing in the sun or around the outdoor fire pit.
And food. What was it? Was it a stromboli that was so delicious? It was! 10 Barrel Brewing has got the pizza biz down to a delicious art, but the Cubano Stromboli was where it’s at. And it was huge enough that there were leftovers to eat by the pool later.
Bonus: 10 Barrel Brewing Co is close to Columbia Park, which is our favorite park in Bend. Enjoy some lunch and beers at 10 Barrell and then go relax at the park and let the kids play on the coolest playground in Bend, or take a walk along the Deschutes River.
Beers to try: hold onto your hats, because this may be the only Pilsner I ever recommend besides from Icicle Brewing in Leavenworth, WA. Maybe it’s because the Smooth Talker reminds me so much of an IPA (my favorite), but it’s delicious. The other hit is the Sasquatch. The name says it all.
Cascade Lakes Brewing Company
So good we bought a growler. We don’t always buy a grower from every brewery tour or brewpub, but when we do it’s for a good reason. Cascade Lakes Brewing Company Lodge is found right at the start of the Cascade Lakes Highway, so it’s the perfect end to a day of hiking out in the Deschutes National Forest or an afternoon stop before biking around town.
If you asked our kids which was their favorite of all the breweries in Bend, they’d either say Worthy Brewing or Cascade Lakes Brewing. Why? Because the Lodge location (map link below) has vintage arcade games, that’s why. We try to limit the technology that sucks the kids in but when the dads are drawn to video games and they see us beyond excited about Ms. Pacman, you give in.
The food and the beer was good too, but having such a fun splash of nostalgia mixed into the Bend brewery experience really was a bonus.
Beers to try: the Pineapple Kush. We bought a growler of it to enjoy at our hotel. Such a unique beer with a wonderfully subtle pineapple back end. Well done, Cascade Lakes Brewing. Well done.
Other notable family friendly breweries in Bend include Silver Moon Brewing in the northern part of town, Good Life Brewing Co (roll up walls for summertime) and Sunriver Brewing Co (more roll up walls), both of which are on the west side of the river. All are welcoming to families and are great fore adults looking for the best beer in Bend. And if you’re thinking about a totally different brewery experience, check out McMenamin’s Old St Francis School, which is a combination brewpub, hotel, and public gathering place.
Family friendly breweries in Bend are not lacking in the slightest. The town serves as a great example of a progressive city that incorporates local craft brewing, travel, sustainability, cuisine, and fun. And now I think it’s time for us to head back to Bend…
Want to pin this for you own travel planning to do all the breweries in Bend? Go for it!!!
Rob Taylor is the founder of 2TravelDads, the original LGBT Family Travel blog. Focusing on ecotourism and education, 2TravelDads inspires LGBT families (and traditional families also) to go beyond their usual getaways and use travel to learn about and be part of a bigger world. “Traveling the globe and giving the kids a broad worldview.”