Continuing with the Bend brewery bonanza, my next stop took me to Silver Moon Brewing, Bend’s third oldest brewery. Founded in 2000, it was run as a brewery and brewing supply store until bought by a local pair of beer aficionados in 2013. The taproom was remodeled and expanded and a 30 bbl production facility was built down the road, helping Silver Moon expand while maintaining the quirkiness inherent to the Bend beer scene. Grab a growler, fill your glass, and read on to see if this brewery is worth howling at the moon about.
- Beer – I had my socks completely knocked off with the first beer of theirs I tried: Mango Daze, an American Pale Ale. One of their year-round offerings coming in at 6% ABV, it blends the sweet, summery taste of mango with the fruity taste of local hops, melding the best of both flavor profiles to build an eminently drinkable beer that bathed the taste buds in goodness. And that was just the first sip. I dabbled in several of their offerings, trying out some of their year-rounders, seasonal, and small batch beers. To be honest, they were all quite good, scoring solid marks with the fundamentals and experimenting with flavor and style profiles. I really love the places that have small batch systems that allow for experimentation and Silver Moon is no exception. You will find something for all tastes here and be sure to visit often to see what is new on the tap list. Score: 4/5
- Brewery – From the road, the tap room looks nondescript, with the name the only thing suggesting the delightful beers inside. Once you walk in the doors, you can see the effort and labor of love that went in to the recent renovations. The tap room is large, with the bar and old steel draft tank the first things that draw the eye. Walk in further and you will see the expansive wood beams on the ceiling, the artwork on the walls, and the door leading out to the patio. You can grab a seat at any of the numerous tables scattered around the room, or if you want to enjoy the summer weather, step out on to the best part of the brewery: the back patio. With a grain silo standing as a silent sentinel, you can park yourself at any of the tables and chairs on this large outdoor area and enjoy some sunshine while you drink with friends. Should you arrive after the sun has set, fear not the darkness, as they have strung up ample lighting to keep the party going, bathing the patrons in the soft amber glow of light reflected through beer in hand. Plan to spend your night here as they are open late almost every night. If you get hungry, you have plenty of pub-style food offerings (I recommend the tacos), and the prices are reasonable, about on par with the rest of Bend. Score: 3.5/5
- Ambiance – With the crowded beer scene in Bend, you must do something to stand out from your contemporaries, be it wacky beer offerings or observatory towers attached to your brewery. Or you could do something like having drift bike racing every week during the summer. Seriously, go watch the videos on their Facebook page and then come back here. I’ll wait…ok, welcome back. That looks like a blast and I wish I had been in town on a Friday so I could have joined in. Aside from that they have bingo nights, trivia, live music, and a few televisions for sporting events. Everything and more that you would hope to see at a brewery to keep drawing people in. Even better, they host fundraising events for the local animal shelter, and their F* Cancer series of beer raises money for the American Cancer Society. Who wouldn’t want to keep coming back to support such amazing causes? Score: 4/5
- Location – A few blocks from downtown Bend, the location isn’t quite as picturesque as many of the other breweries in town. Fronting a busy road, they can be hard to find if you don’t watch close enough, and the best view might just be of a passing train on the nearby tracks. If you drive, swing around to the back side of the building as there is ample parking available just outside the patio area, though I would recommend walking or biking anywhere you go in Bend. Being so close to downtown, if the in-house food offerings aren’t your style you can easily make your way to the dozens of restaurants around, or even check out some of the other breweries and tap rooms available if drift bike racing is not your thing. Score: 2.5/5
- Customer Service – Offering full table service, I felt well taken care of during my visit here. My server was friendly and answered all my questions about the different beers, made an excellent recommendation for the tacos, and checked on me frequently, despite it being fairly busy. I feel as though many of my recent reviews have griped about a lack of adequate staffing behind the bar, however that was not the case here. Wait times were minimal and everyone left with a smile on their faces. All around great customer service at Silver Moon Brewing. Score: 4/5
Total Score: 18/25
Final Thoughts: Well crafted beers, awesome entertainment, and a lovely tap room help make Silver Moon Brewing a must visit while in Bend. I recommend going on a Friday night in the summer so you can try your hand at drift bike racing while sipping their delightful beers.