by LINDEN GROSS, One Stop Writing Shop
My dad discovered the Bend Brewing Company (or the BBC as it’s called) shortly after moving to Bend. Instead of holing up at home alone, he would head there more often than not for dinner. I know exactly why. The food is solidly dependable and the casual friendliness makes you feel like you’ve dropped into a friend’s house rather than a restaurant—and a house on the river no less.
Before heading to the BBC to do my review, one of my chums raved about bartender Eric, who’s been there 15 years and is actually now making cocktails with fresh-squeezed juice as well as pouring beer and wine. Another friend recommended the burger. A third person announced that the fish and chips are the best they’ve ever had. Then I learned about the BBC’s Local Tuesdays, where the beer is just $2.75 a pint, as well as their Happy Hour with half-price appetizers.
How did I not know about all this? I wondered.
By the time I arrived at the brew pub, my nephew already had a plate of nachos waiting. Crunchy chips were layered with black beans that have a hint of sweetness due to being soaked in the BBC’s dark, malty Pinnacle Porter, as well as melted cheddar cheese and salsa, and then topped with guacamole and sour cream. In short, they were everything that good nachos should be.
We also enjoyed the calamari, billed on the menu as “locally famous for good reason.” They were light, hot and crispy. The accompanying dipping sauce was a surprise, a blend of Chinese hot mustard, honey, lemon, sugar, spices and a splash of red wine vinegar.
I knew it was overkill on the deep-fried front, but I had to order the Brewery Fish and Chips. I’m glad I did because they were just as good as I’d been told. The tempura and Golden Ale batter (the same one used for the calamari) works so much better than a traditional batter in large measure because the fish winds up absorbing a lot less oil. The Atlantic Cod was mild and super fresh. “This doesn’t taste like fish,” said my nephew when he tasted my entrée. “More like very creamy potatoes.”
He had ordered the Thai Curry Sauté, a medley of fresh vegetables in a Thai coconut curry sauce served over a bed of rice and topped with Tri-tip. The beef was tender and juicy despite being cut into small pieces that would have been very easy to overcook. The shredded vegetables, which included yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, snow peas and red cabbage, melded the bright flavors of yellow curry with coconut milk’s heavy sweetness. I loved the fact that the vegetables weren’t even slightly mushy, but for some reason they didn’t seem to work with the beef. Opting for the chicken or veggie options might have worked better for me. Still, I enjoyed stealing separate bites of both the beef and the curry vegetables.
After all I’d heard, I didn’t expect the high point of the evening to be dessert, but then I’d never had the Pinnacle Pub Brownie before. OMG! Imagine a soft, rich, warm chocolate brownie that virtually melts in your mouth. Add vanilla ice-cream, top with house-made chocolate malt balls, and drizzle with the BBC’s signature Pinnacle Porter ganache, a sauce that blends dark chocolate, cream and yes, the brewery’s robust Pinnacle Porter.
“This is ridiculously good,” I thought to myself.
We didn’t have room for a second dessert, which I still regret. I just have to try the marionberry crisp since the marionberry compote is infused with the BBC’s Ching Ching sour beer.
I love the expression: Life is short. Eat dessert first. And that just might be my approach the next time I hit the BBC.
Bend Brewing Company
1019 NW Brooks St., Bend
Owner: Wendi Day
Hours: 11:30am to close daily