Thursday, August 4, 2011

Beer & Burgers at the Cascade Lakes Brewery

Since the racers had a criterium in downtown Bend late Saturday afternoon, we decided to go out to eat afterward at the Cascade Lakes Brewing Company. Nano and I had eaten there the year before with a different group of friends and I had really good memories of how great the buffalo burgers & beers were. Actually, I had a great memory of how one of the beers was, because I only tried one last year, the 20" Brown, and I had purchased a 6-pack that I stretched out until the end of May.

So when we went back to Bend this year, one of my priorities was getting another buffalo burger from this restaurant and getting the taster tray of all their beers so I could purchase a few to take home.

One side of the menu listed all the food dishes that were available. Although there was a lot to choose from, everyone in our group ordered a burger, and most of us paid the extra $2 to get the buffalo patty. It was worth it! Buffalo meat is amazing.

I am a woman of very plain tastes, so I always order my burgers "just the meat and the bun." If it comes with vegetables, I get them on the side and eat them separate from the main dish. The buffalo burger was delicious! I highly recommend getting a buffalo burger whenever you can - they can be hard to find and might cost a little more, but they are oh-so-tender and very tasty.

I tend to put a lot of ketchup on my hamburgers and hotdogs! Also, you can't eat fries without some ketchup for dipping!

The flip side of the menu listed all the drinks offered by the brewery. Since I was planning to buy a lot of beer after dinner, I decided to get the taster tray so I could have a clear idea of which beers I like and which I don't.

Since I don't like IPAs, I substituted the Riverside Red. Clockwise from 11 O'Clock, the beers in the tray are Blonde Bombshell, Pine Marten Pale Ale, Rooster Tail Ale, 20" Brown, Monkey Face Porter, and Riverside Red.

These two were my favorite of the bunch - 20" Brown and Rooster Tail Ale. I'm not a fan of really light ales, but I did enjoy the Blonde Bombshell and I thought it would be great on a really hot summer evening. I couldn't detect any distinctive differences between the Pine Marten and Rooster Tail ales, but the Rooster Tail seemed slightly more mellow and less "sharp" to me than the Pine Marten, though it was still quite enjoyable. 20" Brown was just as malty & tasty as I'd remembered and I once again decided to buy it. I'm not a fan of porters, but the Monkey Face Porter was by far the best one I've ever had and I considered buying it, but since I couldn't think of any occasion where I would choose to drink the Monkey Face over any of the others, I decided against it.

I really liked the Riverside Red, the first red beer I'd ever had, but alas! Cascade Lakes Brewing Company does not sell 6-packs of the seasonal brews! Sad face.

These were the notes I made to myself while tasting the beers. As you can see, I am quite the beer connoisseur - not! The numbers next to the beers indicate how many I intended to purchase. A 6-pack costs $7, and since my beer budget was $50, I planned to purchase seven 6-packs (which would have come to $49). However, when I got to the counter, I saw that a case was $25, so for only $50, I was able to get a total of eight 6-packs instead of just seven.

The taster tray came with this nifty little information sheet on the various beers. It was nice to be able to taste the beers and try to distinguish their characteristics, then read about them to see if I was right.

I brought two of those bad boys home - enough to last for a year with some to share! I asked if they could mix & match the cases for me, and sure enough, they could! So I got three 6-packs of the 20" Brown (still a favorite), two of the Rooster Tail Ale, two of the Pine Marten Ale, and one of the Blonde Bombshell. Cheers!

(In case I didn't make it clear, I highly recommend visiting this restaurant if you're ever in Bend. Here is a link to their website.)

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