My next beer adventure takes me to…Redmond, Oregon and Wild Ride Brewing (bet you thought I was going to say Bend didn’t you?). Located in downtown Redmond, I have wanted to visit for a while now after finding and trying their porter back home. I relished the chance to try some of their brews straight from the source. For a brewery that opened their doors and taps in early 2014, they appear to have grown exponentially, becoming Redmond’s largest brewery, and one of the largest in central Oregon with the capability to produce 9,000 barrels per year. So pour a pint of your favorite brew and join me for this wild ride of a review.
- Beer – Options abound at Wild Ride, with an extensive year-round and seasonal tap list that is quite impressive when you realize how busy they must be to keep so many options available. They check all the boxes for your standard beers, including whatever the latest IPA trend is (juicy? hazy?). Even better, at least in my book, are the dark beer offerings, with several porters and stout variations on tap I was quite happy to dive in to. For those of you who like sour beers, don’t fret, as they have sour and farmhouse style offerings for you too. One question always arises with a place like this: with the focus on quantity, does quality suffer? I say no, as every beer I tried I gave a score of 3/5 or better on Untappd. They dabble in complexity with many of their beers, melding flavors to create a unique offering, such as their vanilla coffee stout, peanut butter porter, or blood orange IPA. All around solid beer offerings that make me excited I can find them in stores closer to my home. Score: 4/5
- Brewery – From the moment you walk under the wall of hops ushering you into the tap room, with sunlight glinting of the brew kettles and fermentation vats, there is no mistaking the fact that you are in a working brewery. The tap room is modest, with a few scattered tables that spread towards the brew floor. The outdoor area is the real crown jewel, with a large patio, fire pits, a grassy area for games, and several food trucks in residence, all presided over by a gleaming grain silo. It is quite lovely, though it can get a bit hot during the warm central Oregon summers. Should you get hungry while enjoying your beers on the patio, fear not! There were at least 4 food trucks in residence while I was there, and the options were delightfully varied, and the food was tasty. The prices are comparable to Bend, with a pint running you around $5-6. They are open from 11 am to 10 pm every day, giving you ample opportunity to enjoy as many beers as you want on the lovely patio while chowing down on some pretty good food truck grub. Score: 3/5
- Ambiance – The delightful patio features heavily in this section, simply for the relaxed atmosphere it provides, the opportunity to sunbathe in lounge chairs with friends during the summer, and the ample outdoor games (giant jenga!) that are available here. Events are held almost weekly here, ranging from beer releases to brewery yoga and art galleries. Occasional live music and one of the more interesting events I’ve seen at a brewery, once yearly BMX-style events, round out the wild ride this place can be. Score: 3.5/5
- Location – I was in the heart of downtown Redmond in the late afternoon on a weekday, yet the surrounding area was surprisingly empty of activity, giving a ghost town sort of vibe until I walked inside. I saw a few restaurants and bars within walking distance if the food trucks aren’t your cup of tea and there are a few other breweries close by should you wish to explore the craft beer scene further. They have plenty of on-site and street parking around the brewery for those who want to drive, which I would recommend as the surrounding area did not look particularly bike friendly. Score: 2.5/5
- Customer Service – No major issues here, my order was taken and served quickly, and the bartender was great at letting me try a few beer samples before I decided on what I wanted. They do not have table service to the patio when I was there, though the food trucks would bring you your food which was nice. Score: 3/5
Total Score: 16/25
Final Thoughts: Solid beer offerings, an expansive tap list, and a well-appointed tap room make Wild Ride Brewing worth a visit if you are in the area. Be sure to pair your beers with food from the trucks and enjoy an evening on the patio enjoying the beautiful central Oregon weather and the cozy fire pits.