Visitors enjoy bluegrass and beers at Mirror Pond Plaza in Bend, Oregon.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Kennedy/VisitBend

#1. Bend

Breweries like Cascade Lakes, Silver Moon and Riverbend illustrate the attachment Bend, OR, residents have to the great outdoors. To many people living in Bend, the city’s thriving beer scene is as important an amenity as bike trails, hiking paths, ski resorts and parks. On a per-capita basis Bend has one of the nation’s highest concentrations of breweries. The more than 25 breweries located in and around Bend give residents easy access to high-quality, locally made beer. It’s factors like these that make Bend the best beer city in America and one of our Top 100 Best Places to Live.

Breweries in Bend focus on creating intense and often unusual flavors. Take for example Cucumber Crush, which won 10 Barrel Brewing Co. a gold medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. The Bend Ale Trail loosely follows the Deschutes River, which runs between several of the city’s best breweries and is the namesake of Bend’s biggest brewer, Deschutes Brewery, which distributes beer to more than 25 states and two Canadian provinces. The Fresh Squeezed IPA from Deschutes landed on’s 2013 Top 25 Beers of the Year.

The four growler filling stations in Bend allow beer lovers to take home their favorite brews. Brewers in Bend love to share their concoctions and often treat residents to limited releases of seasonal or experimental beers. Some beer lovers even share with pets. Bend resident Daniel Keeton, a craft beer enthusiast, created and sells Dawg Grog, a nonalcoholic beverage for dogs made from malted barley water.

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