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The Bend Ale Trail and a recipe for Grilled Beer Crust Pizza with Peaches, Burrata, and Pesto

This post is sponsored by Vist Bend. All the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Before we get to my new favorite pizza, let’s talk about one of my favorite beer cities on the planet! Bend, Oregon is a city for beer lovers, dog lovers, nature lovers,  so add it to your list, my friends. If you’re Pacific Northwest-based, it’s not more than a drive away, and if you aren’t then you obviously need a good reason to travel this way. 

Bend is a place where everything seems both exciting and slow-paced. There is a lot you CAN do, and nothing you NEED to do. Right on the Deschutes River, in the shadow of the Cascade mountains with water perfect for brewing, mountains that need to be climbed, slopes that beg to be conquered. But If you’re like me and you’re just in it for the beer drinking and the dog petting, it’s also a perfect getaway. 

My recommendations for breweries to add to your list for the aforementioned dog-petting-beer-drinking good time:

Monkless brewing. Not just for the Abby ale inspired Belgian beers (no monks required) but also for the space. GABF named it mid-sized brewpub of the year (that’s a big deal for those who don’t know), and it’s easy to see why with its river views, great food, and complex yet accessible beer. 

Crux Fermentation Project:

It’s not a conversation about Bend beer without a mention of Crux. One of the most popular spots to grab a beer in the entire city (possibly the state) because of its flawless beer, large open outdoor space, live music, food trucks, and pettable dog visitors. It’s really a must-visit. 


Bend Brewing: There may not be a better place to have a beer in the city than the edge of the river outside of Bend Brewing. The taproom isn’t super large but the outdoor space is mighty and expansive. It’s located right in downtown Bend and is walkable from the most popular part of the city. Sitting by the river with a Bend Brewing beer might just be the perfect afternoon. 

10 Barrel:

10 Barrel is a popular pub and an easy place to hang out if you can find a spot. It’s also a great place to sample the sneak peek R&D beers you won’t be able to get anywhere else while filling up on their handmade pizza. 

Sunriver Brewing: They have a beer that tastes like coca puffs. THEY HAVE A BEER THAT TASTES LIKE COCA PUFFS! All by itself Sunriver’s Cocoa Cow is reason enough to visit. It’s probably my favorite beer in Bend. It’s also a quick walk from 10 Barrel, so make this a joint adventure. 

On Tap: While not a brewery, this space is perfect to catch all the beers from the breweries you didn’t get to visit in town, all while chowing down on some food truck grub. The tap list is extensive with tons of local favorites. 

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For my new favorite pizza, I used an IPA from Bend’s Silvermoon, a local favorite and one of the first breweries to start in Bend many (silver) moons ago. 

Grilled Beer Crust Pizza with Peaches, Burrata, and Pesto

Ingredients
  

For the Crust:

  • 2 ½ cups 300g bread flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons 1 envelope rapid rise yeast
  • ½ teaspoon 1.5g garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon 5g granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup 6oz wheat beer
  • ½ teaspoon 3g kosher salt
  • ¼ cup 60g olive oil

For the Toppings:

  • Olive oil
  • ¼ cup prepared pesto sauce
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 large ripe, yellow peach, sliced
  • 6-8 leaves basil sliced
  • 2 4oz balls of burrata cheese
  • ½ cup baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, yeast, garlic powder and sugar.
  • Mix until combined. Heat the beer until the temperature reaches between 120°F and 125°F (double check your yeast package to confirm this is the temperature your yeast needs. Default to the temperature listed on the package).
  • Add the beer to the stand mixer and mix on medium speed. Once most of the flour has been moistened, slowly add the salt and oil while the mixer is still running. Turn speed to high and beat until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm room until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Preheat the grill to 500°F.
  • Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 10-inches in diameter, add to a pizza peel covered with flour or cornmeal. Brush with olive oil.
  • Add to the grates of the grill, oiled side down. Close the lid and allow to cook until grill marks appear, use the pizza peel to remove the crust, transfer to a work station.
  • Cover with pesto sauce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  • Return the pizza to the grill.
  • Shut the lid and allow to cook until the top of the crust is bubbly and starting to brown, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Remove from the grill, transfer to a serving platter, top with peaches, basil, burrata (pulled the burrata apart and distribute across the pizza), arugula, and balsamic glaze.
  • Slice and serve.

 

Blackberry Galette with Beer Tart Crust

Blackberry Galette with Beer Tart Crust

It started as a last minute trip to chase down an assignment for a magazine I write for, and it ended up being more of a revelation.

How is it that Bellingham—one of the countries best beer cities—is less than two hours from my door and I had yet to explore it? How is it that it took an assignment from 1889 Magazine to get me up there?

It started at Chuckanut, a brewery so heavily awarded it’s shocking they haven’t been around longer. Although the owners have brewed since the 1980’s, and done so all over the world.

My recommendations: Kolsch, British Brown Ale

I ended up at WanderBrewing next, of my favorite of all the destinations of the weekend. Maybe because the owner, Chad, was more than gracious and welcoming. Carving out time in his hectic beer-making-business-running-brand-new-tiny-baby-at-home schedule to have a pint with me.

Maybe it was because I’ve been in love with the beer since the first time I had it. Either way, this place is a must when you find yourself anywhere close to Whatcom county.

My recommendations: Global Mutt Baltic Porter, Wanderale Belgian Blonde

From there, I needed food and found myself at the Bellingham location of one of my favorite breweries from my last visit to Wyoming, Melvin Brewing. I was delighted to see that not only was the food fantastic, but they are in the process of brewing beer specifically for the Pacific Northwest.

I love what Melvin is doing with Wyoming ingredients and I can’t wait until I can sample what they do with Washington ingredients. Word on the street is that there will be brand new brews made in Washington, for Washington as early as November. Which means I’ll need another visit in a few months.

My recommendations: Asterisk DIPA, Drunken Master Burger, Shishito Peppers

If you’re like me, and you travel with your dog as often as possible, I can’t recommend Home2 Suites in Bellingham more. Not only was this a gorgeous, brand new hotel with a kitchenette in the room and the best complimentary breakfast I’ve had on the road, but I’m pretty sure they were thrilled to see Chowder Jones check in with me. I often feel like hotels put up with my dog, this place adored him.

Although at this point the beers were starting to kick in, I wasn’t nearly close to being done. There are 12 outstanding breweries in Whatcom County, and I was just getting started.

Aslan Brewing was a gorgeous space with fantastic beer.

My Recommendations: Disco Lemonade, Simcoe Slice

Although not a brewery, nearly everyone I spoke to about beer in Bellingham told me about Elizabeth Station. It’s a tap room, it’s a bottle shop, but it’s more. It’s a meeting place, a craft beer community room, a neutral ground for all things beer. It’s more than worth a stop in for a beer or two.

My recommendation: Sit at a communal table and chat with people, order a flight and let the bartender choose your beers for you

Bellingham is very dog friendly

Structure brewing was small in the way you want a tap room to be small. It was friendly and cozy.

My recommendations: No Sleep Stout, Group Think

Boundary Bay is Bellingham’s oldest brewery still in operation. The staff is friendly and the place is huge. Plenty of events in summer on the expansive outdoor patio, it’s both kid and dog-friendly and there is plenty of beer and food.

My recommendations: Galaxy Single Hop, Dry Irish Stout

Clearly I need another trip. Not just because I need more Wander beer, and I need to see what Melvin does, but I also need to spend more time at Kulshan, Gruff brewing and Stones Thrown. One trip isn’t enough.

For now, I’m leaving you with a recipe you need to make before blackberry season ends. It’s also my favorite tart crust ever. It’s a little soft and can be difficult to work with, but once it’s baked it’s the most tender crust I’ve ever made. Worth the hassle.

Blackberry Galette with Beer Tart Crust

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • Crust:
  • 1 ½ cups (180g) All purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) salt
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) sugar
  • ½ cup (114g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
  • ¼ cup (58g) Belgian ale beer (or pale ale, pilsner, or wheat beer)
  • Filling:
  • 4 ½ cups (590g) fresh, ripe blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon (2g) lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) melted butter
  • 375F 35-40 minutes

Instructions

  1. Add flour, salt, sugar and softened butter to a food processor, process until combined. Add the cold butter, pulse until just combined, you will still be able to see some larger pieces of butter, this will create flakey layers.
  2. Pulse in the beer until completely incorporated into the dough. Dough will be very soft.
  3. Lay a long sheet of plastic wrap on a flat surface, add the dough to the center.
  4. Form into a flat disk. Wrap disk tightly in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, about 3 hours and up to three days.
  5. In a large bowl add the blackberries sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice. Toss to coat. Allow to sit while you prepare the dough.
  6. Knead the dough lightly in hands until dough comes together and warms slightly. Roll out on a lightly floured pieces of parchment paper to form a large circle, about ¼ inch thick. Transfer the dough circle and the parchment paper to a baking sheet.
  7. Pour off any liquid that has accumulated in the blackberry bowl.
  8. Add blackberries to the center of the galette.
  9. Fold the bare edges of the dough up over the filling, using the parchment paper if necessary.
  10. Preheat oven to 400.
  11. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer, freeze for 15 minutes. Alternately you can chill in the fridge for 30-45 minutes (or overnight). This will help the galette stay together when baking and help the crust to be lighter and flakier.
  12. Brush the crust with melted butter, sprinkle with remaining sugar.
  13. Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Allow to cool prior to serving.
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Want to know more about my trip to Bellingham or read my beer column? Follow 1889 Magazine on Instagram or Facebook.

Breakfast Empanadas and 24 Hours in Grand Rapids Beer City USA

Breakfast Empanadas and 24 Hours in Grand Rapids Beer City USA

 

I stood, unprepared, in what was rapidly becoming a snowstorm outside the gates of an outdoor beer festival in Grand Rapids, Michigan. On a day that locals swore would be met with “spring like weather,” only to have the weather Gods laugh in the face of anyone naïve enough to believe that (me), with howling winds and quickly expanding snow banks. Although the natives hardly seemed to notice the sub zero temperatures, I shivered in my thin, ripped jeans, and shoes there weren’t even enough to keep my feet dry. I had a choice to make. After all, I was only gifted a little more than 24 hours in this fine city, and I needed to make the most of it.

I left. I left the festival, the lines, the tents, the pretzel necklaces, and mini tasting mugs. I left to find the beer. I left to formulate an agenda for those who want to squeeze as much as they can out of Beer City, USA in just one day.

Start on the outskirts, work your way into the city.

First stop:

Perrin Brewing. Perrin is under the same ownership as Cigar City and Oskar Blues, and with a water purification system so advanced they are the only location authorized to brew both Dales Pale Ale and Jai Alai, exciting for those who have yet to sample those classic brews. With a line up of impressive beer all their own, and a staff as friendly as you’d hope for in the Mid West, this is spot that’s worth the drive.

Address: 5910 Comstock Park Drive Comstock Park, MI 49321

Hours: Monday – Thursday: 11am – 11pm, Friday – Saturday: 11am – Midnight, Sunday: Noon – 8pm

Food: Full menu

What to drink:

  • PYP Chocolate Bock
  • 98 Problems
  • Kingdom of Tonga
  • You Bretta Run

Second Stop:

Greyline Brewing. Greyline is small but mighty, with a respectable line up of solid beer. The people are friendly and the beer is good, more than worth the trip over to the tap room for a pint or two.

Address: 1727 Alpine Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Hours: MON-SAT: 11 am- Midnight SUN: 11am-10pm

Food: Appetizers and sandwiches

What to drink:

  • Mosacca
  • Kona Brown

 

Third Stop:

The Mitten Brewing. The Mitten is what you want when you’re weary and in need of friendly staff, a cozy space, and sustenance. Craft beer and pizza in a restored Victorian-era firehouse creates a vibe that makes you want to hang out all day, and into the night.

 

Address: 27 Leonard St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 12pm to 10pm, Friday-Saturday: 12pm to 11pm

Food: Pizza

What to drink:

  • Triple Crown Brown
  • The Stretch Cream Ale
  • Country Strong IPA

 

Fourth Stop

Tired yet? I hope now, we’re not even close to being done! Of all the location in Grand Rapids, The Knickerbocker, New Holland Brewing’s pub, is the Don’t Miss stop. It’s not just a gorgeous space, the food menu is quite possibly some of the best food I’ve ever had at a brewpub, and the beer, of course, is fantastic.

Address: 417 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Hours: Monday – Thursday, 11:00 am – 12:00 am, Friday – Saturday, 11:00 am –1:00 am, Sunday, 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

Food: A full menu, with very impressive food 

What to drink:

  • Dragon’s Milk
  • Any variation of Dragon’s Milk
  • Hoptronix

 

Fifth Stop

Founders Brewing. It’s impossible to travel all the way to Beer City, USA and not stop in to this iconic pub for a pint. Founders is one of the most well known, and well respected, breweries in Grand Rapids. You’ll have to battle the crowds of beer fan boys who travel from the outer reaches of the world for a Dirty Bastard, but it’ll be worth it.

 

Address: 235 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Hours: Monday to Saturday: 11am to 2am, Sunday: 12pm to 12am

Food: Full menu

 

What to drink:

  • Nitro Breakfast Stout
  • Watermelon Gose
  • Grease Monkey IPA

Last Stop

Brewery Vivant. When enlisting the help of locals, friends, and random internet people, this was the brewery that came up most often. This was hands down the most recommended place in all of Grand Rapids. With a gorgeous space, housed in a refurbished historic funeral home, dare-I-say elegant food, and beautiful crafted beer, it’s easy to see why.

Address: 925 Cherry St, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Hours: Mon-Thurs: 3pm-11pm, Fri: 3pm-midnight, Saturday: 11am-midnight

Food: Full menu

What to drink:

  • Paris
  • Tree Bucket
  • Stone Fruit Sour

I also made you a recipe. Because I do that sort of thing. I was inspired by the breakfast empanadas I fell in love with at San Chez.

Breakfast Empanadas

Yield: 12-14 empanadas

Ingredients

    Dough
  • 3 cups (350g) Masa Harina (corn flour)
  • 1 cup (120g) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) salt
  • 1 cup (235g) warm water
  • 1 cup (235g) wheat beer (or pale ale, or pilsner)
  • 2 tbs (32g) oil
  • Fillilng:
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ½ lbs (1 large, or two small) red potatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 8 wt ounces sausage, raw, removed from casing
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese, grated
  • Canola oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Add the masa, flour, water, beer, and oil to a bowl, stir until a soft dough forms. If the dough is too wet, add additional flour. The consistency should be similar to Play-Doh. Cover the bowl and allow to rest while you prepare the filling.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook the potatoes and bell pepper until softened, about ten minutes. Remove from skillet, set aside.
  3. Add the sausage, cooking until browned, breaking up into small pieces.
  4. Remove from heat, add to the potatoes and red peppers, toss to combine.
  5. Form dough into balls about the size of golf balls.
  6. One at a time place between two sheets of parchment paper (parchment works better than plastic wrap, the dough removes more easily) and using either a tortilla press or a rolling pin, press/roll into 6 inch circles.
  7. Add about 2 tablespoons of filling in the center, top with a pinch of cheddar cheese. Using the parchment, fold over the dough to form a crescent shape. Peel back the parchment and press the dough to seal the edges. Repeat for all dough balls.
  8. Add about 2 inches of the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until hot.
  9. A few at a time, fry the empanadas until golden brown, turning over halfway through cooking, about 3 minutes on each side.
  10. Allow to drain on a stack of paper towels.
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