"It has a beer named after it. It HAS to be good"
The almost perfectly conical Black Butte, Oregon
In all my travels across the country, I've tasted many a beer. I'm convinced that the  greatest beers are in the Northwestern and Northeastern parts of the country. Specifically, Northern California, Oregon, Washington as well as Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Five of these states are within the top 11 states in "craft breweries per capita" (Vermont tops the list, New Hampshire is #11, California has the most at 221). Here in the great small city of Bend, Oregon, resides Dechutes Brewery. While it is no longer a small microbrewery, it does brew some of the greatest ales, stouts and porters of the country. Black Butte Porter is the company's highest selling beer and is named after the nearby Black Butte Mountain. So, grab a beer and climb the mountain!
View of the Cascades from Black Butte
Black Butte: The Mountain Black Butte, like almost every Cascade mountain, is a conical volcano that has long been extinct. There are actually 18 Black Butte Mountains in Oregon, but this is the most famous one. This one is unique because its summit is a fair distance away from other Cascade volcanoes. Its location offers a unique birds-eye view of the high desert plateau of Oregon and a panorama view of the Cascades. There is a strategically placed fire lookout tower at the top of the mountain which takes a more practical advantage of the topography. Hiking Black Butte is easy and worth it for a unique perspective of Eastern Oregon.
The new Fire Lookout on Black Butte
Bend, the unoffical capital of eastern Oregon, is the closest city to Black Butte. Heading north on Highway 97 will take you to highway 20 North to the town of Sisters, Oregon. North of Sisters is the conspicous cone that is Black Butte. 5.5 miles outside of town is the turnoff for the hike- Green Ridge Road. Head north (right) on this road until you hit Road 1111. This road wraps around Black Butte until the trailhead. Be warned, these are forest service roads and they are prone to being washed out and rough! The Hike Hiking Black Butte is relatively easy; its a 3.6 mile round trip hike with moderate elevation gain. You will be passing through the large forests of the Cascades before finally toping out at the 6,437ft summit. From the top of the mountain, you can see several prominent cascades such as Mt Washington, Three Fingered Jack, The Three Sisters, Mt Jefferson, and even Mt Hood. You can also see the two fire lookouts which have served as stations for over 75 years. The Dechutes River, or rather, the gorge cut by the Dechutes River is also visible to the east. When you're ready to head down, simply head back the way you came!
Enjoying a Black Butte Porter atop Mt. Hood
Black Butte: The Beer I admit, I'm a beer snot. I would sooner eat grass before I'd let a bud-light or coors tarnish my palate. I mainly prefer Porters, Stouts and Ales to any mass produced light beer. Black Butte Porter is a porter that is "just right". Its full flavored, but not too heavy like a guiness, its sweeter, but not like a brown ale, and it has a balanced flavor without being as "hoppy" as a pale ale. The taste is somewhat of a blend between a coffee flavor and a dark chocolate finnish, almost creamy. Its a perfect dark beer even for those who prefer lighter beers. Enjoy the hike, friends, and don't forget the beer! Read. Plan. Get Out There!