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Bend's Best Tacos y Cervezas 

Not Bend's five best tacos, or five best beers, but five "best of both"

Cinco de Mayo, to many Gringo-Americans, is simply an excuse to drink more-than-usual amounts of margaritas. Just like you don't need St. Paddy's Day to drink Guinness, you don't need Cinco to drink copious quantities of Corona. To that end, no one needs an excuse to eat tacos. But we know you're gonna anyway, so we scoped out five places in Bend where you can feast on tacos and pair them with the right beers.

As such, taquerias that don't serve cerveza were excluded. Considering many Mexican lagers are actually Vienna-style lagers but hecho en Mexico, let's expand our options to perfectly pair those mini-meals.


J Dub + Boss Rambler Stokes Light Lager

click to enlarge CREDIT BRIAN YAEGER
  • Credit Brian Yaeger

You can't feast on tacos and beer all day if you don't start in the morning. And while Bend is rife with breakfast burritos, b-fast tacos aren't readily found. And when they are, rarely is beer available. Pop into J Dub on weekends to start the crawl off correctly, where the breakfast tacos feature scrambled huevos, bacon, home fries and both pico de gallo and sausage gravy, while the greeny bits on top eschew cilantro in favor of chopped chives. It's one of the most bombastic, bombest breakfasts in town. Although Boneyard Diablo Rojo sounds the part, opt for Boss Rambler's Stokes Light, Boss's stab at a crafty American lager that tastes great and won't fill you up.


Alebrije + 10 Barrel Sinistor Black Ale

click to enlarge CREDIT BRIAN YAEGER
  • Credit Brian Yaeger

Alebrije, the Oaxacan food cart at The Yard adjacent to Bunk + Brew, is popular even when nothing else in The Yard is open. The one other cart now is Sublime Food, proffering vegan Mexican street food, but unlike that, Alebrije slings carne asada, carnitas, pollo, adobada, chorizo and the street-meat du jour, birria. While Old Ironwood Tap's 10-tap beer truck isn't usually open at lunch, roll up when both trucks are open and pair Alebrije's phat and fatty carnitas tacos with a pint of 10 Barrel's Sinistor. The dry, black ale's roasted malts are a natural complement to roasted meats so it's a divine way to wash down the generous portion of chewy yumminess. If you're here primarily for drinking, you'd be forgiven for subbing some carnitas tacos with Alebrije's carne asada fries.


Sopa + Alvarado Mai TaiPA

click to enlarge CREDIT BRIAN YAEGER
  • Credit Brian Yaeger

The Mexican cart at the River's Place, Sopa, pod offers a good mix of traditional, or more common taco fillings such as carnitas, but for anyone on Team Pineapple, Sopa offers two piña-kissed tacos: pork adobo or the Walla Walla. Orders come with four tacos (starting at $14) and you can't mix 'em, but once you try the Walla Walla taco, it's hard to want anything else. Generously loaded with grilled chicken, additional ingredients include chunks of pineapple, diced bell peppers, grilled Walla Walla onions, cheese and a veritable garden full of chopped cilantro. River's Place offers a dozen beers—a baker's dozen if you include the michelada, which you should since it's a killer taco companion, but for the Walla Walla, opt for Alvarado Brewing's Mai TaiPA. Billed as a tropical IPA, the lush, island fruit flavors thrown by this hoppy delight make it a dream complement.


Tacos La Catrina + Three Creeks Fivepine Chocolate Porter

click to enlarge CREDIT BRIAN YAEGER
  • Credit Brian Yaeger

At Tacos La Catrina at Podski, $12 gets you any four tacos you want (they make four). All are tasty, and the potato-onion-jalapeño is great for vegetarians and omnivores alike. But the carne asada steals the show. Ask for it with those grilled jalapeños (from the potato one) and pair it with a pint of Three Creeks FivePine Chocolate Porter on tap at Podski and you've got a delicious mole-like marriage going on. People tend to think tacos only go with light lagers, but this dark ale is a natural and isn't so sweet that it can't go with non-desserts.


El Sancho + Pacifico Clara

click to enlarge CREDIT BRIAN YAEGER
  • Credit Brian Yaeger

Last but not least, El Sancho. There's a taco cart stationed at Crux Fermentation Project so there are several beer pairings available there, but when you roll up to the El Sancho on NW Galveston, the beer offerings range from one canned IPA to three other canned IPAs. But there's also Vitamin R as well as the tried-and-true Pacifico. Sometimes beer and taco pairings don't need to be over-thunk. The chorizo taco is perfection on a corn tortilla, but really, the grilled Oaxacan cheese and green chili taco steals the show, and that one's not available at Crux. It's not very spicy and not at all meaty but it's singularly delectable and the maize character of the imported Mexican lager means it's like a tortilla you drink.

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