written by Jeremy Storton | photos by Rob Kerr
In pursuit of the work-life-play balance, Oregonians aren’t willing to take their drinks sitting down anymore. Just about any brewery or winery with a backyard has drink-in-hand games these days. With bocce ball all you need is a good set of balls and a good landscaper or a strong DIYer to build a court. One can also play freestyle bocce, which is chasing the little white ball, known as the jack or pallino, around an open area. This method is preferred for games on grass, the beach or when one hasn’t quite gotten around to raking the fine oyster shells on his international regulation court.
Those who prefer bocce ball can find it in myriad places, including Ponzi Vineyards (Sherwood), Worthy Brewing (Bend), Cana’s Feast Winery (Carlton), The Leisure Public House (Portland), and Maryhill Winery (in Washington across the Columbia River from Biggs Junction).
Cornhole is also a big lawn game among the drinking crowd these days. Throw a dart at a map and you will find a bar with boards. Crux Fermentation Project in Bend is one such place. With about forty dollars in lumber, twenty dollars in strong fabric and cornfeed, and about a day’s worth of building for an unskilled laborer, it will be game time in one’s own backyard. After setting the boards apart, two teams of two people take turns tossing the bags, vying for twenty-one points and the opportunity to yell “nothing but hole” out loud in public.
Though competitive, these games foster camaraderie and raucous banter for all ages and abilities. They are best played with drink in one hand and a ball or bag in the other, because that’s how Oregonians roll.