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Beer Here, There, and Beyond 

Belgium, Colorado, and Bend breweries all rocking April

Whoops, you've woken up dead again. Pic courtesy Left Hand Brewing. - LEFT HAND BREWING
  • Left Hand Brewing
  • Whoops, you've woken up dead again. Pic courtesy Left Hand Brewing.

One of the greatest things about being a beer connoisseur in Bend: the fact that traveling to other cities to check out the best of elsewhere is fun, but all the best will eventually make its way to Bend.

Take a look at what's happening around town this month, and it's obvious beer fans have it made here. Check out Saison Day, for example. Held by Crux Fermentation Project at its brewery, the second annual event will feature at least seven varieties of the fruity, spicy and highly carbonated pale ale genre from Belgium. A few from Crux themselves will be on, and places including Deschutes Brewery, Immersion Brewing (right down the street—just walk around that Mad Max-style barricade), pFriem Family Brewers, Three Creeks Brewing and Worthy Brewing will contribute saison kegs to the event. It kicks off Saturday, April 14, in the afternoon—just in time to procrastinate on mailing in tax forms.

Going outside of town, one of the largest regional craft outfits in the United States has finally, after 25 years of business, begun distributing in Oregon. Left Hand Brewing, based in Longmont, Colo., actually sells its beer in 40 states at this point, including all the ones that border Oregon, but never made it here until General Distributors signed on with them in January.

Left Hand began its Oregon conquest with a launch in greater Portland last month, but cans and bottles are beginning to trickle into Bend as well. This includes, most famously, the Milk Stout Nitro, one big reason why the brewery got so big across North America. Introduced in 2011, this was one of the first craft nitro beers, meant for pouring hard into a glass to work right—basically turning the bottle or can upside down, like the Brewers Association's "Independent Craft" logo. Milk Stout's a mainstay on tap across the Southern and Eastern U.S., but a lot of Left Hand's seasonals are worth looking into, too. The 2018 nitro lineup so far features Chai Milk Stout Nitro, Blackcurrant Cream Ale, Belgian Dubbel and Wake Up Dead, an imperial stout.

But if beer from the exurbs of Denver doesn't sound exotic enough, why not share this upcoming Saturday with beer diehards across the Atlantic instead? Starting at 2pm April 7, the gang at Monkless Belgian Ales will hold a party to join the worldwide Belgian Beer Day celebration. Beer from Belgium probably requires no introduction for people reading this column. Monkless is not only Bend's only Belgian-style specialty brewery, it's one of the best in the Northwest. Everyone who joins them Saturday will even get to join a worldwide toast to all things Belgian, centered around the main event at the Grote Markt in Antwerp. It just goes to show: To enjoy all the best the beer world has to offer, there's not much need to travel more than a few minutes from right here.

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