With a day to myself on America’s birthday, I set off to explore Bend on foot, and of course to check off another brewery on my list. I stumbled upon GoodLife Brewing Company in my wanderings and stopped in to see what makes life so good to them. Founded in 2011, this brewery is inspired by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and the good life that those of us lucky enough to live here enjoy in the great outdoors. From biking to hiking, skiing to mountain climbing, the love of outdoor adventure is reflected in their tap room and beers. So grab a pint and listen as I live my best life here in the PNW.
- Beer – Right off the bat the names of their brews reflect their dedication to outdoor life, paying homage to their love of the Pacific Northwest. Their beers range from the super hoppy IPAs to various seasonal and barrel aged offerings. Their variety is great and on average their beers received the highest rating on Untappd of all the breweries I visited in Bend. My favorite was a seasonal named Searching for Clarity, a delightfully juicy, floral IPA that was not overwhelmingly hoppy and finished crisp. I would also recommend trying their stout if you stop in, especially during the winter months. With just the right combination of roasty malt and full-bodied mouth feel, if you like dark beers you will surely enjoy this one. I really enjoyed not only the beers I tasted but their expansive tap list that always seems to be changing and their attention to detail while crafting some delicious beers. Score: 4/5
- Brewery – The bierhall is moderately sized with lots of windows to let in the sunshine, wood accents, tall ceilings, and a vaguely German pub feeling bar. Outdoor art dominates the décor, further emphasizing their love of the active lifestyle. The real piece de resistance however, is the outdoor seating area, their bier garten. With lawn games galore, plenty of seating, and a minibar for when you need a new brew, this place simply rocks. Their food menu is the expected pub-style food (I recommend the pretzel and beer cheese) with prices on par with everything else I have seen in Bend. A pint of beer is reasonable and will cost you around $5 for the year rounds, a little more for the seasonal and special releases. Plan to spend a while here as they are open late every night of the week, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the good life. Score: 4/5
- Ambiance – This place felt incredibly relaxed and open when I walked in, exuding the kind of vibe that welcomes all comers. While there are a few televisions in the tap room where you can watch various sporting events, the real fun is out in the bier garten. With lawn games galore and lounge chairs to soak up the sun, who wouldn’t want to spend the afternoon basking in summer’s glory? Even better, throughout the summer they have live music each week and sprinkle new beer releases and other special events throughout the year. Score: 4/5
- Location – GoodLife can be a bit had to find initially as it is tucked back into a small shopping complex on the west side of Bend without much in the way of street level advertising or directions. Once you see the large red building it will be hard to miss after that though, and they picked a spot that gives them room to expand in the future, so I get the trade-off. With plenty of car and bike parking on site and neighborhood street parking close by, you won’t have to worry too much about finding a spot when you visit. Should you wish to venture out, there are a handful of restaurants, bars, a distillery, and even a dispensary close by. Downtown and the Old Mill District, as well as many other breweries, are only short bike ride away. Score: 3.5/5
- Customer Service – Hands down some of the best customer service I’ve come across. They offer table service and my server was congenial, chatty, and always attentive (I wish I could remember his name so I could give a shout out). My orders were taken quickly and served with the same speed. When I clumsily knocked over my last taster that I had already had about half of, a fresh one was brought to my table at no charge. Hats off to this place, they know how to treat a customer. Score: 5/5
Total Score: 20.5/25
Final Thoughts: All around one of my favorite breweries in Bend. The strength of their beers combined with the excellent customer service and awesome bier garten make this a must visit when you venture to central Oregon. In fact, I recommend grabbing some cans or growlers while there, so you can enjoy them any time you are out enjoying the good life the PNW has to offer.
The first part of my day was me doing just that: