Beer and sausage is a popular pastime in Oregon. There are good places to indulge in a brat n’ brewski up and down the Pacific Northwest; one of our favorites is Bangers and Brews in Bend. This quirky sausage parlor is tucked into the corner of a mini-mall. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in friendliness. When we showed up, just about everyone inside joined a discussion that was making its way around the room. And not just because it was the height of happy hour.
At any given time, dozens of sausages are available — some regular, some seasonal, and some crafted out of experiment. The line-up, from caribou to Cajun links, is reminiscent of the tap list at a craft brewery. That is, if you traded beer styles like stout and pale ale for woodland creatures like rabbit and and elk. British-style bangers are the specialty of the house — a nice twist on the Bavarian sausage theme of most every other beer and sausage joint hereabouts.
While our India-Pale-Ale sausages were being cooked, we snacked on chimichurri and sliced baguette. This unexpected dressing is a nod to the owner’s Argentinian heritage. It’s Grandma’s recipe. It improves the sausages and the Skinny Fries as well. The crunchy fries are similar to those served along currywurst and make a nice snack. They kept trying to offer us curry ketchup for these little crispies, but we were quickly hooked on the chimi. Fries and chimichurri are an improvement on regular garlic fries.
On to the sausage, which is plump, juicy, snappy, and well seasoned. The list of toppings is overwhelming, and you don’t want to overdress sausage that speaks for itself. The IPA sausage is just barely seasoned with hoppy beer — enough to taste, but not enough to embitter. The signature banger has a softer texture; it is subtly seasoned and more suited to being dressed with pungent chimichurri. Both sausages come grilled with crisp casings. Local bakery buns are well toasted to prevent sogginess.
Then there are the brews — a select, locally-sourced range of sausage friendly beers priced to move. It is difficult enough to decide between all of the toppings and sausage options available. Adding beer pairing into the equation is beer hall calculus.