For those of you that are familiar with the town of Bend, Oregon you might have heard that it has a lot of beer. Deschutes Brewery is now the fifth largest craft brewery in the world and for an ever growing town that still has less than a hundred thousand people, 24 breweries (and counting) is a ridiculous about of beer. Some residents have even tried to take away the nearby city of Portland’s nickname “Beervana” and give it to Bend. They aren’t without reason! I’d even go to say that this region of Oregon has the highest percentage of great beers, but that’s just my opinion and I might be a bit biased 😉 … However, one thing that Bend Oregon has lost over the years is the local’s touch. So many people have moved in from the West Coast’s big cities that a lot of breweries have lost that genuine small-town feeling. But luckily, along with the new flood of residents comes a search by the locals to preserve what they’re seeing slip away. And from that we get something unique to the new Bend, Oregon — a placed called “The Lot”.
The Lot is a new haven for both locals and potentially the new residents to get a taste of Bend. To describe it as a restaurant or a pub would be a bit of a misnomer and also a disservice. It is however, indeed “a lot”, where five food trucks surround a covered patio. Within the patio you’ll find heated benches and of course, you will find beer. You can immediately tell that this place caters to the locals by the selection of brews on draft. I spoke with the man working the taps and he explained that the beers kept are highly geared towards those of Bend and the rest of Oregon. In fact, the only beer I noticed from outside state was a Lagunitas pull! As far as the clientele was concerned, it’s indeed a place that locals like to stop by on their way down from the city’s near by ski resort, Mt. Bachelor. With all of the provided ambience, I was really excited to try everything out!
I met up with a good friend of mine (also in Bend for the holidays) and we examined the food possibilities. There a great variety of options, especially for those that are health conscious (often lacking in the food truck world) I wouldn’t say that the food was necessarily cheap, but it wasn’t over extending itself either. Besides, you’re paying a dollar or two for the great, tight-knit environment. You’re also going to make up some money on the beer. That’s right! The beers here are only $4 a pint and are probably the best value in town. The choices ranged from six fixed local brews, to many more that spread a little further but not by far. Also, I toke note of the non-beer options that included “Hmm” kombucha, hard ciders, and even an actual alcoholic kombucha (roughly 3-4 percent).
After some debate, I went with the Thailandia truck and ordered a spicy curry dish to compliment the main event — a pint of Boneyard Beer’s “RPM”. The curry dish was very good and was a decent amount of food. RPM is and has been for some time, my favorite standard IPA out there. Therefore, my pint was… without a better work, blissful.
If you’re visiting Bend, Oregon, it would be a shame to miss out on such a great place to hang out with friends and mix with the locals over a tasty brew. They also have live music some nights so I’d imagine that it would be quite the experience. As my last thought from the sky — I’ll definitely be coming back to “The Lot”. If fact, I may just make it part of my routine every time I’m home for the holidays. In a town that’s forever changing, it’s nice to have a place that calls back to days past, where locals could have a pints together, and still looked for hope in the future.