Suttle Lodge hosts Winter Beer Fest


Last updated 2/27/2024 at 10:28am

Photo by Jarod Gatley

Fine beer in a beautiful setting makes for a good time at Suttle Lake.

Beer- and winter-lovers came together for the annual Suttle Lodge Winter Beer Fest last weekend at Suttle Lake. Unlike last year's blizzard conditions, this year's beer fest featured plentiful sunshine, and spring-like conditions.

Beer lovers, from Central Oregon locals to folks from Portland and Washington, gathered at the Suttle Lodge to try samples of beers from more than 25 craft breweries. The event's setting is outside in the forest air, with the sampling spots in the cabins surrounded by bonfires and a music tent.

The beer fest is kid- and dog-friendly, so it becomes an event for the whole family.

"It's a great family event, actually, and a fun part of a vacation from the valley in the mountains, and the sampling beers is a bonus," said one event patron.

The Suttle Lodge puts on the event, but it is mainly run by volunteers pouring the beer, keeping fires going, checking in ticket holders, and serving snacks.

Volunteer Leah Scaf came over from Portland for the event for the first time.

"My friend Emily is the event producer, so I came to see her and participate; we love doing fun things together. It's a great event, and I am having a great time being a part of it as a volunteer," she said.

In its 5th year, the event's proceeds go towards a nonprofit. This year, the event again benefits CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates). As their website notes, "The National CASA/GAL Association for Children supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy for children and youth who have experienced abuse or neglect. We believe every child should be allowed to thrive in a safe and loving home."

Bend local Jill Deckman Cooper volunteered for the event last year and wanted to return and be a part of it again.

"I love this event, and I love that it benefits CASA. I work with local high school kids in Bend and know some CASA advocates, and I love seeing an event like this benefitting kids. It's such a great way to support the organization. Suttle Lake is one of my favorite places on earth, so I love coming out here and being a part of an amazing event," she said.

Her partner, John Bravard, also volunteered.

"She talked me into volunteering and being a part of the event instead of just attending, and so far, it's been great; it's such a great venue and setting for something like this," he said.

The three assisted in the ticket booth, checking in ticket holders and directing people around the grounds.

Donald Kenney, one of the owners of the management company The Mighty Union - a group from The Ace Hotel based in Portland that owns Suttle Lodge - purchased the property in 2015. Kenney comes over every year for the beer fest.

"It's been a great time this year; the weather's been great, and we are in our fifth year," said Kenney. "I have a close friend who is an advocate for CASA, and I asked her how they get funded, and she said it's all fundraising and donations. I realized not enough people know about it. So I wanted to spread the word and support this great cause," he said.

"It's a great way to support our local community with a chapter right here in Central Oregon and a way to meet the needs for them."

Kenney plans to continue with the beer fest in the future.

"It's kind of an ideal thing, and honestly, it's hard to mess this up; you've got people drinking beer outside with their dogs, friends, and even kids running around. It's the perfect Central Oregon event."

The event also showcases the property at a different time than most people visit Suttle Lake.

"We want people to know that they can rent year-round, and the winter is a great season," said Kenney.

The Suttle Lodge is open year-round for stays in the Lodge, cabin rentals, and a full restaurant and bar. The lodge is eight minutes from Hoodoo Ski Area and 17 miles from Sisters. The owners and operators of the lodge encourage locals to come out for events like the beer fest, concerts on the lawn in the summer, and stay in the lodge's cabins.


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