Updated: Jul 14, 2020
We all knew that summer would return eventually.
I mean, June 20th would land on our doorsteps regardless of the pandemic situation. After their guest chef series, which kicked off last winter, had to be canceled due to our current pandemic status, it wasn't clear how events would resume for The Suttle Lodge and Boathouse, Bend and Central Oregon.
Luckily, it's easy to social distance across the 15.5 acres of Sisters, Oregon Deschutes National Forest where The Suttle Lodge and Boathouse is situated. And while this summer might look a bit different than in years past—the Lodge is closed until further notice and all food and drink are served exclusively out of the boathouse—they have managed to host a series of outdoor events (with limited capacity) focused on food, beer, and wine.
In late June, they commenced two new events: the family-friendly Wednesday night cookout and Thursday wine and food pairings on their sprawling lake-view deck. Each event is hosted by an Oregon brewery and winery, respectively.
After several months of quarantine, isolation, and extreme social distancing, the anticipation of spending a few days among a rustic setting with limited cellphone reception was refreshing. A breezy 45-minute drive from Bend and relaxing 2.5-hour drive from Portland, The Suttle Lodge and Boathouse is a retreat for staycation seekers and those escaping Urban dwellings.
Wednesday Night Cookout
Buoy Beer Company recently made a visit to Central Oregon in February for the inaugural Winter Beer Fest at Suttle Lodge. We most notably remember Buoy for their Dunkel Lager which is inspired by the classic Bavarian lagers in Germany. The Northern Coastal brewery brought forth their Pale Ale and the cleverly-named Another IPA to the cookout.
A heaping serving of dinner was provided for $20 per ticket which was just enough to feed me plus one kid. Al fresco dining featured an applewood-smoked chicken duo, which included a thigh and drumstick perfectly dressed in Alabama white sauce. If you're not familiar with this southern-style dressing, it's a riff on a classic barbecue sauce with mayonnaise taking the place of a tomato base. It's tangy, slightly sweet, and complements the brined and smoked chicken. A generous serving of Panzanella salad and crispy herbed potatoes pleased everyone at the table.
Picnic tables are spread out across the lawn, allowing for children to run and play within earshot while grown-ups enjoy the serene setting of Suttle's outdoor dining accommodations. The cookout is first-come-first-served every Wednesday through September 2nd. You can get more information here.
Thursdays on the Deck
Abacela Winery, located in the heart of the Umpqua Valley, is probably best known for its Spanish grapes. Their Fiesta Tempranillo is the "Jack of all" Reds. It will please those who appreciate a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon, yet is light enough for the guests who prefer a lighter Pinot Noir.
Chef Jarrott Moonitz guided our four-course tasting with small bites to complement both the palate and geographical regions influenced by each wine. Their Grenache Rosé is light, crisp, and slightly fruity. One might suggest it to be the "perfect day drinking" Rosé, which, at 1 p.m. on a Thursday, has so far proven these anecdotal findings to be true.
Admittedly, it was a bit of a surprise to be served canned fish alongside rosemary crackers and fresh lemon to pair with the Albariño, but a pleasant one at that. The light and high-acidity white varietal are classically served with canned fish in Spain; the brine of the fish combined with the fresh citrus on herbed crackers was, well, a delight.
Wine on the deck takes place every Thursday through Septemeber 3rd. Seating is staggered to allow for two 2-hour rotations from 1-3 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. Bonus: children summer programs are available from Starshine Theatre by reservation so that you can enjoy, guilt-free. Tickets are $55 per person and include a four-course wine and food pairing. You can get tickets here.