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Being new to the Bend area, I had been keeping an eye out for local happenings, fun things to do and places to go. When I ran across the Winter Beer & Cheese Pairing hosted by Deschutes Brewery, being a lover of both beer and cheese and hoping to meet some locals, I immediately felt this was an event I just couldn’t miss!

I have in the past attended a beer dinner and the occasional wine tasting but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this event. Upon arriving at the Deschutes Brewery and Public House on NW Bond St. in downtown Bend, we were directed upstairs to the Tap Room where I promptly made a mental note to reserve this very cool spot for any upcoming gatherings we might have. For this occasion there were several large, round tables set up throughout the room, each table adorned with settings for 8. Each of these settings consisted of a paper placemat, a beer/cheese pairing chart, 3 small glasses of beer and a big empty glass for water. The paper placemat had 6 little round circles on it that were numbered from 1 to 6. These numbers coincided with a list of different beers on the right-hand side of the paper. There was a picture of a plate on the placemat as well, on this plate were the letters A through F. Printed below the beer list was a list of cheeses, also listed A through F. This list was for your own reference allowing you to refer back to it to see the names of each beer and/or cheese.

We were slightly perplexed upon sitting down at our table, finding the 3 glasses of beer not sitting exactly on the numbers on the placemat, which lead to a bit of confusion as to which beer was which. Similarly, when the plates of cheese were set down in front of us, each persons plate was angled a bit differently at our table so no one knew which cheese we were supposed to start with – aside from cheese A, but which one was A?

Our questions were quickly answered with the start of the presentation as the two presenters of the evening pointed out which beer and cheese to start with in order to embark on our tasty journey. Flavio DeCastilhos, Tumalo Farms founder and cheese maker, explained the cheeses and what they were made from, their ages, etc. The brewer from Deschutes Brewery, I believe was Abe. (Shame on me for not taking notes, I hadn’t planned on writing anything. Lesson learned.)  Abe discussed the beer, the spices and flavors we were experiencing, as well as the reasons behind the pairings. The room was lively, as it should be. Questions were flying and answers returned. The hum of conversation and laughter growing louder as the night progressed.

I was surprised to find that Deschutes served other than their own beer for this tasting and I applaud that, as they offered up their very own Super Jubel and The Abyss with guest beer appearances being made by Hub Abominable, Fantome de Noel, Duchesse, St. Bernardus Christmas Ale and Delirium Noel.

Tumalo Farms added to the party with their Pondhopper, Jewell, Rimrocker, Fenacho, Nocciola and Classico Reserve cheeses.

I am no expert nor will I pretend to be, so I won’t even try to go into detail about the cheese or the beer. I just know what I like the taste of and I have to say that I found each beer and each cheese to be very delicious in their own right, let alone once they were paired.

I thought the night was quite the success. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and those around us seemed to be very happy with the selections. This “new girl in town” will definitely be keeping an eye out for similar events to attend in the future. Thank you Deschutes Brewery and Tumalo Farms for the delicious fun!

*Bonus* –  Got info from table mates on some quick draining trails/areas for trail running and mountain biking – a big plus after the rain we’d had the days prior. See you out there!

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