Hello Bend! Are you ready to get into craft beer mode? Bend Brewfest is just a couple days away, and man does this town know how to celebrate beer! Get ready for “three full days of craft brew bliss” smack-dab in the middle of Beer Town USA. If you haven’t yet made it over to Brewfest, let me break it down for you and hopefully offer up a few insider tips.
The biggest question I had last year, when we went for our first time, was “is this a kid-friendly event?” Kids are allowed at Brewfest, yes (only until 7pm with a signed waiver by the parents), but kid-friendly? Not so much. I was picturing bounce houses galore to keep the kiddos entertained like we normally find at Munch & Music, the free Sunday concerts, and most other festivals around Bend. This is NOT the case at Brewfest. No bounce houses…instead lots of beer! So unless your kids enjoy standing in line after line, while you enjoy your tastings, I recommend you leave the kiddos at home.
My husband and I opted for a sitter, arrived at the event around 4pm, and had an awesome date night! As the night continued, it quickly became clear why children must leave the event by 7pm. The Les Schwab Amphitheatre practically turns into a nightclub complete with DJ, lights, and some serious dancing!
Admission to the Bend Brewfest is free. A one-time purchase of a souvenir mug is required for tastings (…and last year’s mug won’t work). Mugs cost $20 and include 5 tasting tokens, additional tasting tokens can be purchased at a cost of $5 for 5 tokens. Go ahead and buy extra tokens upfront when you get your mug to avoid yet another line when you want more. One token is good for a 4-oz taste. Find your favorite and want a little more? You can give up four tokens to fill your mug, and skip the lines for a few while you enjoy emptying that whole mug.
Oh, and if you’re not quite into beer or looking for a change, there is a great cider section and there will even be wine available this year!
So, here are two of my biggest tips:
- Bring CASH…there is an ATM onsite, but the line gets incredibly long. Wouldn’t you rather spend your time in line waiting for a beer?
- If you really want an awesome Brewfest souvenir t-shirt, check out the shirts upon arrival and if you can, go on one of the earlier days. By the time we arrived on Saturday, every single shirt was sold out in both our sizes…and there were over 10 different styles to choose from. That being said, maybe they learned their lesson and will have more on hand this year, but if you are a big t-shirt buff like my hubby, don’t chance it and get yours early.
There are food vendors on hand, but not as large a line-up compared to some of the other festivals. Glad to see Island Noodles on the list. It’s so good!
Looking to score some free beer? Sign up to be a Bend Brewfest volunteer! Volunteers receive a free t-shirt, mug, and tokens to enjoy the festival at the end of their shift. Volunteers pour for short shifts (3-4 hours), and even have the option to attend the after-party for volunteers pouring on the last shift of each night. Brewfest is still looking for volunteers, so what are you waiting for? Sign up today and earn your free beer!
So there ya go, Bend Brewfest in a nutshell. Have any other tips or suggestions? Please leave a comment and I will add it to the list. As always, I love to hear your feedback. So come Thursday, grab your mug and tokens, and let the craft brew tasting begin…Living the Bend Life Beer Town USA style!