The Bend brewery extravaganza presses on! My next entry brings me to Worthy Brewing, one of the larger craft breweries in central Oregon. Started in 2013, its rise since has been nothing short of meteoric to the scale it has reached today. They combine many unique features across their beers, tap room, and community involvement that I find fascinating and fun on many levels. So pour yourself a pint and follow along to find out if they are worthy of calling themselves a brewery.
- Beer – I’ve had several of their beers out of the can at home, with my favorite being their Lights Out stout. At the tap wellspring, I went for some things I’ve never tried before and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed them. My favorite was the farmhouse ale, a lightly tart, layered Belgian style ale that finished strong on the palate. They offer plenty of variety with their standard, seasonal, and small batch pilot beers, with enough options to please even the most hardened of beer snobs. Be sure to check back often as they are likely to have something different out of their small batch every time. What I find most interesting about their brews is the collaborative effort they have with Oregon State University to grow experimental hops and utilize them in their brews. With any luck this will help create some truly worthy beers. Score: 3.5/5
- Brewery – The brewery and taproom are gorgeous, grand, and decidedly unique in many ways. One of the first things you see as you walk up is a large garden and green house, growing scores of experimental hop plants in conjunction with OSU as well as garden vegetables and herbs for use in their kitchen. And that is just the beginning. The indoor portion of the brewery, while more restaurant than tap room, offers expansive table seating along with an enormous bar that dominates the room and never lets you forget you are in a working brewery. Want to soak up the sun or sit around a fire at night? Step out through the large roll-up doors to the patio and grab a seat under the sun shades and enjoy your beer. While sitting outdoors you might look up and wonder what the three-story silo-like portion of the building is. If you would have guessed night sky observatory, with a working telescope that is open to the public for tours, you would be correct. It is an incredible addition to the brewery, and one that sets them apart from any other one I’ve been to. In addition to all that awesomeness, the food is delightful and is composed of the expected pub-style food with plenty of lighter, healthier options mixed in. The prices are average for Bend, with a pint costing you about $5 and a flight $10. Their hours begin just before lunch and extend until at least 9 pm, 10 on the weekend, giving you plenty of time to down a few beers and observe the cosmos. Score: 4.5/5
- Ambiance – From trivia nights, charity events, and new beer releases, to live music and night sky observing, there is almost always something happening every day here. If you want to watch the game, sit inside at the bar or in the restaurant section. Want to get some sun and play lawn games? They have that too. Just want to sit by the fire and chat with friends? Yep, you can do that too. They have even created a non-profit group to help promote community awareness of the importance of environmental stewardship of this planet, a worthy cause indeed. Worthy Brewing has a little bit of everything, making this one of the most complete breweries I’ve ever been to. It’s almost impossible not to stay here for hours and have a great time. Score: 4.5/5
- Location – Right on the eastern edge of town, they picked a (relatively) under saturated area of Bend to put a brewery. The locale surrounding the brewery is mostly residential and light commercial, with condos and apartments dominating the immediate area. The on-site parking is reasonable but quickly filled during peak times, so you will likely have to find a spot on the road, which can also be a challenge some days. There is not much in the way of nightlife within close walking distance, not that you will want to leave once the stars come out and you can wander up to the telescope. There are a few restaurants close by should the in-house fare not suit your needs. Score: 2.5/5
- Customer Service – Worthy’s size and bustling nature inherently inhibit the ability to have more person to person interactions with the staff and bar keeps here, giving the place more of a restaurant server-patron relationship than brewer-beer aficionado. That being said, everyone I met was very friendly and sitting at the bar I was checked in on fairly frequently. After a short wait my orders were taken and filled quickly and closing my tab was painless. All in all they treat their customers well, I just did not get that personalized feeling native to many small craft breweries that I enjoy. Score: 3/5
Total Score: 18/25
Final Thoughts: Worthy is worth a visit, if nothing else than to see the hopservatory, though their strong line-up of beers and the rest of the tap room are even more incentive to stop by. I strongly recommend making them a must-visit on your craft brew tour if you are ever in central Oregon, or at least picking up a few six packs should you come across their brews in your area.