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Out in the "Woods" 

Sipping beer at Shade Tree Brewing

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click to enlarge Corvette Strong Ale, with its winnings. - COURTESY SHADE TREE BREWING
  • Courtesy Shade Tree Brewing
  • Corvette Strong Ale, with its winnings.
or my second piece of 2020, I stuck with my promise to review more beers outside of Bend. This time I ventured all the way to.... Deschutes River Woods!!! OK, OK... so yeah... it's technically still Bend, but please keep reading. It was a fun visit and is completely unique to Central Oregon.

I took Baker Road to get to Shade Tree, admiring the huge lots along the way. Indian Road turned to gravel, and if I hadn't had the address up on GPS, I might have missed Shade Tree— which is on a residential lot. On the door of the brewery (a large shop) was the Shade Tree sign, only visible once you've pulled into the driveway. I was greeted by Larry Johnson, the sole owner of Shade Tree.

Inside the brewery was a beautiful classic muscle car, the Ford Mustang. Behind that, Johnson's beer taps were made of real Hurst brand shifters. I'm a bit of a car buff so I thought that was awesome. Johnson used to be an ASE certified mechanic before he dedicated his time to brewing. It shows in both his custom brewing system and his self-converted 100% biodiesel Volkswagen, which is his daily driver.

Shade Tree's website boasts the brewery's philosophy: "Being Green Saves Green." Johnson's brewing system is not automated, which saves water and energy while reducing wastewater. But I'm giving away too much! I'll leave the rest for you to check out on your tour.

I tasted several Shade Tree beers, but my favorite by far was the Corvette Strong Ale. This strong ale isn't too sweet, but still nice and malty, and oh, so smooth, rich and delightful. The aroma had a touch of earthiness and a great malty aroma. It's quite fantastic. It had a little kick to it, too, at 10% ABV. It drinks easy, so those who partake, beware! Plus, the label is really neat. Corvette won a bronze medal in 2017 at the Best of Craft Beer Awards, a national brewing competition held right here in Bend. This year's Best of Craft Beer Awards was held Feb. 7-9, and yours truly was a judge. Johnson also brews the beer for the Pour House Grill, under the name Chapter 13.

I highly recommend bringing your beer-loving visitors to Shade Tree for this Bend-centric beer tour. Check the Shade Tree website for tour times. A ticket is required through Eventbrite, but it's free. People can also contact the brewery directly to schedule appointments for individual or small group tours—just call or use the "contact us" option on the website. The beer isn't available anywhere else, and visitors can even buy some beer to take home with them to impress their beer loving friends back home—totally something I would do. Cheers!

Shade Tree Brewing
19305 Indian Summer Rd, Bend (contact the brewery before visiting)
shadetreebrewing.com
541-383-3730
Free tours


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