Bend’s beer scene has gotten all sorts of media attention recently. With a highly-debated superlative for most breweries per capita of any city in the US, people have been turning to Central Oregon’s hub for beer-cations and ale trail drinking experiences.
All the while, Redmond has been gearing up to compete with its brother about 20 miles to the southwest.
Besides old boy Cascade Lakes Brewing, Phat Matt’s has been hanging around Redmond since 2011, followed by Smith Rock Brewing (inTerrebonne…close enough) and Shade Tree Brewing in 2012. ThenJuniper Brewing Company opened for business in 2014, and its products can be seen around Central Oregon with some frequency.
Now, a new brewery adds to the number as Wild Ride Brewing Company opens in Redmond.
There was a significant amount of hype around Wild Ride as its taps first flowed on May 10. The early photos of the facility prove the building is massive for a start up; the beer was seen around Bend’s tap houses a week or so before the grand opening, and rumor has it the brewers’ resumes include Laurelwood and Kona.
So I headed out there with a buddy of mine to see if there was any validity to the rumors.
|From front to back: Big Booty Golden Ale,
Fly.P.A., 3 Sisters Red, and Stand up and
Shout Stout featuring Coffee & Vanilla
In all honesty, most of the rumors were spot on. The building, located on a street parallel to the city’s main street, is extremely impressive. Painted a sharp red, grey and black with outdoor seating and giant roll-up garage door, the building was the kind of place I would invite friends to for a pint. Inside, beautiful striped wooden tables dot the tasting room leading to a bar at the back. As you walk in, the brewery shines through a windowed wall to the right.
Like I said—impressive for a start-up brewery.
I grabbed 6-ounce tasters of each beer that was available. Let me state for the record—I usually refrain from judging a brewery’s beer until it has had some time to calibrate their equipment and ratios. But, there was so much hype around these guys that I had to make it out there.
So, here’s the quick rundown:
Wild Ride does a couple of lighter beers—a golden ale, lager, and wit—all of which were okay. The golden was riddled with buttery diacetyl, and the wit was a bit too light in the body.
The red and maple brown ale were both forgettable. Not enough flavor in either to really get excited about.
I really enjoyed the “Stand up and Shout Stout” (why not just call it Stand up and Stout?), a coffee stout with a ton of sweetness and espresso. Although this sounds like an insult, it tasted a lot like those Starbucks Frappuccinos in a bottle; hear me out—it is the kind of beer I would give to a person who says they don’t like beer to show them what beer can be. Also, it would work really well as a dessert stout.
|Awesome stuff like this dots the area
I think the IPAs are done best. The “Fly.P.A.” was a nice, standard example of an American IPA and the best of show for the night goes to the cleverly-named “Hopperhead IPA,” a generously dry-hopped balanced beer with good body and mouthfeel. That’s a beer I would go back for.
Although the tasting room doesn’t offer food, there are a couple of food carts parked outside. I went to the burger cart and got a messy but delicious Reuben burger—it was the first time I had to eat my burger with a fork, but worth every sacrilegious bite.
Overall, Wild Ride is a brewery to keep an eye on as it goes forward. Like all breweries, it needs time to get its feet under it before the beer can be properly judged. So, look for a revisit post soon about these guys.
Because, there will be more, and more, and more visits.