IMG_1515This weekend Hop Valley Brewing Company, amongst nine other local and regional breweries, gathered outside the doors of Growler Phils, a local growler fill station in Bend, Oregon. The event was in celebration for the season’s fresh hop beers, in addition to a delicious spectrum of autumn and winter ales.

For those unfamiliar with the term growler, it’s a popular way in which to hold and transport the plethora of craft beers, ciders and kombucha available these days. The pacific northwest, amongst other nooks around the country, have latched onto the idea and as a result, growler stations have been popping up at the most unexpected locations. Take for example, Gorilla Growlers who shares its residence with Empire Car Wash or The Growler Guys who sits inside the Stop and Go Shell station and now, adjacent to Primal Cut’s glass counter that serves tasty, locally and sustainably grown meats, you have Growler Phils. Did someone ask for bacon with that beer?


You wouldn’t know it, but there are six 12-ounce bottles in there!


For those in Bend, Eugene and Portland, look for it on shelves next week!

After working the morning shift at Patagonia, I rode over to the event where I joined Walter MacBeth who is a partner and director of sales/marketing with Hop Valley. Walter, it must be said, is the brewery’s main man who discovered me and my unrelenting dedication to hiking long distance trails. As a result, I am outfitted with a whole backpack of gear donning the Brewery’s logo while spreading the word up and down the plethora of trails, rivers and barstools I venture to. It’s a pretty sweet arrangement, if you haven’t already guessed. That said, we set up a stunning display which is never hard with Hop Valley as their design is nothing short of awesome. The simple and playful design is just one of the reasons people are asking for more. And what we had to sample would definitely make you ask for more. The three beers offered included a seasonal fresh hop, called Citra Self Down, which uses hops picked at peak ripeness. It’s likely you won’t have the chance to taste the Citra Self Down this season as it’s a limited release, but be sure to check back next fall as they will no doubt have it pouring on tap once again. Next on the beer list was the Proxima IPA, which received the quote of the day. The crowd pleaser uses eight different hops and yet still maintains its integrity instead of making it just another overly bitter IPA. “That’s nectar,” said a man after taking the first sip. Without a doubt, Hop Valley’s Proxima IPA would leave a lasting impression on his as well as many other folk’s taste buds. Last on the list was a winter ale, one well balanced in maltiness and spice. At 60 IBU’s and a 7.8% alcohol content, the Festeroo Winter Ale will be the perfect fireside companion this winter.

That's my old alcohol stove. I think it's time for a new one...

That’s my old alcohol stove. I think it’s time for a new one…

The evening wrapped up while it was still light out. After passing out some freebies to the crowd, we filled up my growler and then loaded the tent, table and remaining beer into the car. Walter was kind enough to drop me off at home, a whopping three blocks away, with an array of delicious brews. But besides drinking the contents, I have another project in mind for the empty cans. You see, I need to make a new alcohol stove for my upcoming hike. My old one, battered down by many miles spent backpacking, needs to be replaced. As a result, I look forward to spending an evening with my friends Shera and Kirk as we will no doubt enjoy drinking the 541 American Lager, Alphadelic IPA and Double D Blonde, but us gearhounds will have a blast designing ultralight backpacking stoves. Stay tuned for a write up on that one.

To visit Hop Valley or to learn more, visit:

For more information on alcohol stoves, visit:

To visit any of the aforementioned growler-fill stations or to read more, visit:


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