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The Wine Shop in Bend Oregon
The Wine Shop and Beer Tasting Bar is a delicious and welcoming slice of Europe right here in Bend.  Originally known at The Wine Shop and Tasting Bar, they’ve now, very appropriately, added the word BEER to the title.  The Wine Shop and Beer Tasting Bar is for wine and beer connoisseurs alike, as their 8 taps offer up some of the highest quality local and international beers to be found.

Owner Melanie Betti added the taps after taking a trip to Europe which included time in Belgium and Austria.  The free-flowing Belgian beers on tap were an entirely different experience than in the bottle, and she wanted to make that incredible experience accessible to her customers back in Bend.  Currently, half of the eight beers on tap at The Wine Shop are Belgian, and they are served up in the correct stemware for a truly authentic experience.  The other four taps aren’t too shabby, either.  On those taps Melanie generally features the best of local and regional craft brewing, often offering special edition kegs and brews that are harder to find.  She generally always has a Pilsner, an IPA and a darker brew on tap to give some nice, rounded variety.  Melanie indicated that local beer aficionados praise her beer offerings, which she takes as a big compliment.

I’m a brew lover so I got really excited about that, but don’t get me wrong, there’s so much more going on at The Wine Shop than beer.  If you’re not familiar with The Wine Shop, it’s a beautiful space located in a central spot in downtown Bend on Minnesota, next to Thump Coffee.  The Wine Shop is definitely more than a retail spot to buy yourself a fantastic bottle of wine to take home to go with dinner (although you can certainly do that, and Melanie is happy to help you choose one).  It’s also a great spot to hang out, have some great conversation, and relax.  With its warm brick walls, dark woods, high ceilings and walls of wine bottles, it’s got a cozy, European feel.  It’s a local pub sort of spot that makes you want to linger a while.

In addition to the world-class wines and beers, The Wine Shop also serves some tasty food and offers a fabulous array of meats and cheeses from all around the globe.  A cheese-lover’s candy store, you can get yourself some triple cream brie from France, some gruyere from Switzerland, some smoked gouda from the Netherlands or some lavender and fennel-infused “Purple Haze” goat cheese from California.  And that’s just a small sampling of what’s on the menu.  In addition to the vast selection of cheeses, you can also find specialty meats, olives, paninis, salads and more.  The Wine Shop is passionate about food and beverage pairings, so no matter what you get, you can have a wine or beer recommended that will compliment your food fabulously.  For Valentine’s Day, The Wine Shop hosted a cupcake and wine/beer tasting.  Three delicious cupcake flavors (locally baked) were paired with three different and fabulously complimentary wines or beers.  Yes, cupcakes and beer.  Sounds like the ultimate comfort combination.  I’ll take the fudge cupcake with the craft porter, please.

The Valentine’s Day pairing was just one of many of The Wine Shop’s special events.  They regularly host tastings, food pairings and other fun happenings.  Coming up soon they’ve got the Sage in the Kitchen Foodie Crawl on Sunday, April 1st, live music with Josh Hart on Sunday April 27th, and several tastings in the works for April and May, including a Rose tasting, Italian tasting, and Belgian beer tasting.  You can check their website at thewineshopbend.com for specific dates for the tastings and further happenings.  In the meantime, stop in for happy hour between 4:30-6:30 Tuesday through Saturday for $1 off all glass pours, and to soak up a little European flavor.