BEND, Ore — The Bend Ale Trail is the largest beer trail in the west - you can pick up your 'passport' and start your trek anywhere you like, but the best place to begin might be at the brewery that put Bend on the beer map. Deschutes Brewery’s Bend Brewhouse in downtown is the original spot where the venerable brewery started making beer back in 1988. Kim Holcomb asked Robin Johnson, master brewer if it was the first craft brewery in this town that’s now known for beer.
"Yes, we were the first craft brewer here in Bend,” said Johnson. "Things were made with love, made by hand, made in small batches, and people were kind of blown away by it. In 1988 people hadn't seen dark beer before and it was a big eye-opener for them."
Classics like Black Butte Porter - their first beer - and Mirror Pond Pale Ale are popular worldwide now.
But a trek to the original brewery is rewarded with beers you'll only find there, like 'Raucho-Marx', a smoky lager the brewmaster came up with that's also his current favorite.
Plus, the original pub remains a place where beer is 'crafted for the community':
“I think the combination of the food and the beer here, the atmosphere, everything kind of combined. It's a great place to hang out."
The final step to getting a stamp on your Ale Trail Passport - pick a pint. Once you’ve gotten 10 stamps from ten different Bend breweries, you can pick up swag at the Bend Visitor’s Center and call yourself an official Bend Ale Trail Champion.