The Oregon Wallowas Part IV – Chasing Brews, Bronze & Barns
We come at last to the final post in my Wallowa series. I say “final”, but honestly there’s still a bunch of stuff we haven’t done here. The two weeks we passed in the area were perfect. We got a good taste of the place and we certainly couldn’t have planned it any better weather-wise (mid 70’s and sunny most of the time), but we’d need many more visits to fully see and experience everything there is to see and do here.
That said, our previous excursions into the wilds and the depths of Hell made us long for some “city” stuff, and surprisingly, yet again this area delivers. Joseph and Enterprise are two super-cute towns that are both central attractions to the area. Joseph, the smaller of the two, is undoubtedly the most picturesque, a tree-lined and flower-rich avenue of small shops, coffee houses and galleries, with the stunning beauty of the Wallowa mountains in the background. Enterprise is bigger, but still cute and in-between the two you have endless fields of rolling green pasture and barns. Plus both towns have lots of free WiFi spots and since we had no internet at the State Park (review coming), this is where we hung out on our days off. Here’s a roundup of our favorite places in and around town.
Chasing Brews (and Whisky)
All that hiking sure makes you thirsty and we were overjoyed when we discovered Eastern Oregon has its very own beer culture. It may not offer the size or variety of other places we’ve been, but it’s got a surprising amount of depth. In addition to 3 brew options around Joseph/Enterprise there is also an outstanding Distillery. Who knew?
- Terminal Gravity Brewing – This is probably the most famous of the breweries in the area. The bar is situated in a super-cute yellow cottage surrounded by a lovely outdoor beer garden in Enterprise, OR. We tried a flight and found the IPA’s to be very substantial, as well as the Festive Ale (a dark ruby). Only bummer? No stouts on tap (wrong season) and dogs are only allowed at 2 of the outdoor tables which are on the other side of the little stream (rather limited). Still, beers were excellent. More info? click HERE.
- Mutiny Brewing – Started by a brewer from TG, this downtown Joseph fixture has a huge, and entirely dog-friendly outdoor seating area (with excellent mountain views) and a very decent selection of brews. Overall we found the beers to be slightly less substantial than TG, but we liked the Haze Maze Strong Ale quite a lot and actually preferred the atmosphere here. Plus we found the food to be some of the best we tasted in the area (the Thai Green Curry was awesome, believe it or not). More info? click HERE.
- Embers Brew House – They advertise the biggest selection of micro brews in Eastern Oregon, and I have to admit they offer good stuff. They only have around 10 beers on tap, but they keep it top quality and rotate regularly. Food is not as good as Mutiny IMHO, but it’s decent enough pub fare. Dog-friendly outdoor seating & free WiFi here too. We went twice! More info? Click HERE.
- Stein Distillery – Who knew Joseph would hide an award-winning distillery in their midst? Excellent rye whisky’s, bourbon and vodka here, all sourced from local ingredients. We bought several bottles and have been savoring them like sweet gold. Free tastings, but no doggies allowed. More info? Click HERE.
Bring Doggie? YES. All of the above *except* Stein Distillery offer dog-friendly outdoor seating. Mutiny Brewing is our favorite IMHO.
Stopping For Coffee & Chocolate
I love a town with cute coffee shops, not only for the free WiFi, but to feed my Mocha/chocolate addiction which MUST BE FED (or woe be the consequences). These were my two favorite spots in Joseph:
- Red Horse Coffee Traders – The local roaster is as cute as it sounds. Lovely little cottage-like coffee shop with lots of spacious, grassy dog-friendly outdoor seating, outstanding Mochas (really addictive) and good, quality food. Excellent WiFi too. I think we went 8 times in our 2 weeks and I was honestly tempted to go every single day. More info? Click HERE.
- Arrowhead Chocolates – The local chocolate store is a must-do for all fellow chocoholics. Excellent truffles (especially their basic dark and award-winning huckleberry dark) and a very decent Mocha. Somewhat pricey here, but it’s all quality stuff and the cost keeps you from over-indulging (right??!). Limited outdoor dog-friendly seating. More info? Click HERE.
Bring Doggie? YES. Both areas have outdoor dog-friendly seating. Red Horse is AWESOME for dogs.
Joseph is definitely an “artsy” town, but it manages to pull it off without all the pretense and pomp that usually come with such a title. Much of Joseph’s art culture can be traced back to the start of the downtown bronze foundry in 1982, and much of that was accidental too. A retired guy got a deal on an abandoned building and wondered “what do I do now?”. One thing led to another and wouldn’t you know it, a world-class foundry was built.
You can take tours of the foundry itself (once/day) or you can visit the downtown shop and hunt down the dozen or so sculptures that are hidden all around town. The growing bronze business has in turn inspired lots of other art…glass, pottery, painting….you name it. So, after (possibly) over-indulging in beer and chocolate, what better way to walk off the excess than by strolling around town and discovering a bit of art?
Bring Doggie? DEPENDS. You can walk around town and hunt down all the bronze sculptures with doggie in tow. However you cannot enter the galleries, or tour Valley Bronze Foundry with pooch.
Eastern Oregon is big farm country, so it’s no surprise that you’ll find plenty of barns around. What makes this extra area special however is the Wallowa Mountains which provide a background setting that’s just so uniquely picturesque. The local visitor center knows this and has capitalized on it by selling an $8 booklet called the “Wallowa Valley Barn Tour”, but honestly you can find most of these beauties by just driving around and looking. Between our “big” outings this is what we did, and we had a total blast in the process. A worthy pastime & super fun for photo enthusiasts. Go early AM or late PM for the best light.
Bring Doggie? YES. It’s just driving around, so if doggie likes the car, take them along for the ride.
That wraps up our time in Eastern Oregon. There’s honestly so much we didn’t manage including the Joseph Rail Riders (read the roadlesstraveled blog post on this super cool activity HERE), River Rafting (read MoHo’s post on that HERE), and exploring the area around Lostine (great food & excellent hiking around there), but it’s always good to have a reason to come back. We’re headed West to our most beloved coast and the start of our summer hosting job, and I honestly can’t wait. We’re so very glad we got to explore this area, but it’s time to move on. See ya later Wallowas.