Craft Drinks for Sips and Smiles
Fresh-made local beverages quench the thirst of the traveler.
The craft drinks craze is brewing in Eastern Oregon. With such fertile land for growing hops, wine grapes, grains and cider apples, and so many makers already committed to providing people with fresh provisions straight from the earth and crafted by human hands, this country was made for delicious, creative spirits, wines and beers. Just like in days gone past, the region’s breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries are welcoming places to stop along the road, drink in a bit of refreshment and meet the people of this fine place.
After a day exploring the Painted Hills or the Wallowa Mountains, relax at one of Eastern Oregon’s sixteen craft brew houses (and counting!). From ale houses in John Day, Boardman, Hermiston, La Grande, Pendleton and Baker City, all the way to Joseph and Ontario, the breweries in the region make mighty fine ales and lagers. Fill a growler to go and take your fresh beer with you to the next destination—where you just might find another quality brewpub.
The climate on the east side of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains is much drier and more extreme than that to the west of the range, yet still can compare to the wine-growing regions of Germany and northern France. Visit the Rocks District AVA near Milton-Freewater, the Snake River Valley AVA near Ontario and Baker City, and more wineries or wine tasting rooms near Pendleton and Echo.
The apple orchards were already there. Why not make fresh hard cider from all of those delicious apples? Cideries are popping up around the region, including in the Blue Mountains of Milton-Freewater. From dry and crisp to sweet and refreshing, these ciders are delicious.
Creative souls use locally-grown grains to make spirits, crafted in small batches with care and attention. Distilleries in Joseph, Baker City and Pendleton provide the best vodka, gin and whisky to visitors to round out your craft drinks tour.