Destination Drinking: Portland

Written by on May 7, 2015 in Beer, Destination Drinking - 1 Comment

That the state of Oregon loves craft beer is an understatement. More than 20% of the beer sold in Oregon is craft beer made in Oregon. Most of the state’s 220 breweries only distribute locally, so your only chance to try these brews is to pay a visit to the Beaver State, and while Eugene and Bend each host an impressive brewery count, the vast majority are in Portland.

The Portland metro area contains 83 craft breweries. EIGHTY. THREE. That means if you wanted to visit one brewery a day, you’d need to spend about three MONTHS in Portland. I had less than a week, but still managed to visit over a dozen, and while each had its own unique space, story and selection, three of the breweries really stood out. Even better, the three breweries are all a short walk away from each other, so hop over to Portland and enjoy the sights and sips:

Hair of the Dog

Hair of the Dog was the second brewery I visited in Portland, and I almost didn’t make it to any other breweries because I fell in love with this place. Among the many delicious beers I sampled here, a surprisingly sweet and delicious strong pale lager called Beerweek (“in Portland every week is beer week!”) really blew me away. HOTD offers dozens of special bottle-conditioned beers only available for consumption IN the taproom — which you have to admire when beer collectors are hogging all the great beers that were brewed to be enjoyed, not shelved. On top of the remarkable beer, the bartender was one of the friendliest and most helpful people I’ve ever had the pleasure of chatting with, the food (I had some fall-off-the-bone short ribs) was on-point and the space was open and bright.

hairofthedog

Cascade Brewing Barrel House

Cascade is the perfect place for sour lovers. Sours are their specialty, with a remarkable 22 house sours on-tap, including 4 “live barrels, though the brewery also has a handful of non-sours on tap if sour isn’t your style. I particularly enjoyed the 2012 Vintage Apricot and Strawberry ales. Cascade had an impressively large patio, where I enjoyed a tiny but delicious fig pesto Chèvre panini and a few dark chocolate truffels – all of the food at Cascade is clearly designed with sour pairing in mind.

cascade

The Commons Brewery

Having a “cheese annex” was a pretty good way to win my affection. Sure, the beer I tried here was good – especially a Farmhouse Ale collaboration with Stone Brewing – but seriously, dem cheeses. There were several pre-curated boards to choose from, and the… cheese sommelier?… recommended the Northwest board for me based on the beer I was drinking. All of the cheeses were delicious, and one of them was even made mere blocks from the brewery!

commons

Oh, and…

Fat Head’s

I can’t talk about a trip to Portland and NOT talk about the Ohio-based brewery’s relatively new Portland annex. Fat Head’s Portland brewery and bar is MASSIVE, and the beers coming out of their brewery out west are as good as the ones we know and love in the midwest.

fatheads

And when you need something to do to work off the calories (or sober up)

Japanese Gardens

Spend a beautiful hour or two soaking in the zen of this perfectly peaceful place.

garden

Portland Saturday Market

The largest continuously operated outdoor market, open every Saturday – AND Sunday – from March to December for quirky and crafty shopping

market

Columbia River Gorge

Take a hike – a short drive from Portland takes you to a beautiful scenic waterfall-filled wonderland

portland waterfall

About the Author

Cheryl Harrison. Editor of Drink Up Columbus. Geek of the craft beer/board game/sci-fi varieties. Fan of patios.

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