Bend has long been a yardstick by which we measure other beer-crazy cities. Its breweries will play a large part in Oregon’s upcoming Craft Beer Month (July), participating in and hosting a number of events in town and across the state. Seattle Beer Week paid due tribute to Bend yesterday with Brave Horse Tavern’s Get Bend(t) event featuring a wide variety of Bend-devoted taps. As they become ever more of a household name, the Bend brewing community has got a lot to celebrate.

So why wait until August’s Bend Brewfest to do it? This year the acclaimed Beertown, USA is determined to have double the festival fun, applauding its crafty brewers and breweries with a start of summer Fermentation Celebration to rival the traditional summer’s-end Brewfest. Held in the historic, mixed-use Old Mill District, the event encompasses breweries representing the variety to be found in the Central Oregon region.

The event isn’t your average beer tasting, though: each brewery will provide samples of a beer that is “unique, limited or experimental” in some way, many of them available exclusively at this fest.  Tasting glasses are the innovative and endlessly useful Silipints, included in the price of a ticket. Featured breweries are twenty in number and include The Ale Apothecary, Three Creeks Brewing, Worthy Brewing, Central Oregon Homebrewers and Phat Matt’s. Apart from live entertainment (Truck Stop Gravy, Cody Bebee and the Crooks), event coordinators suggest they may even have a few surprises in store for the event. You won’t know until you go…

Thursday, June 20 || 5-10pm || Bend, Ore. || Free entry, $20/tasting. Buy tickets at Ticket Mill in Bend.