We had a great couple of hours last weekend at Zwickelmania in Central Oregon. Unfortunately, we only enough time to visit two breweries, so we chose Deschutes Brewing and Bend Brewing Co. It was very interesting to see the different operations and speak with some of the folks behind the scenes.
Deschutes was our first stop, where we had an opportunity to learn about the process in making their beer. They have a fairly large production facility and are capable of making 8, 30 barrel batches per day. That is a LOT of beer! It was cool to have the chance look into each of the different tuns and learn a little about them.
Just a few of the interesting facts we learned on the tour: Deschutes is the biggest craft brewery in Oregon, the 3rd largest in the country and #11 of all beer producers in all of the US. We received two free tastes here, one is a new wheat beer that they are about to start producing, which was very good. The other was a taste of Red Chair, also excellent.
Our second tour was at Bend Brewing Company, just off the main drag in the downtown area of Bend, with an amazing riverfront view. The brewery is a 7 barrel setup that produces mostly just for the pub downstairs.
The brewer mentioned that they do bottle some of their beer, but only in small amounts since they have to bottle everything by hand.
After the tour we stopped for some happy hour specials. The rings and fries hit the spot, and the extensive beer sampler was a great way to get a taste of their beer offerings. We will definitely come back in the summer to enjoy the patio, river view, and a few cold ones.