The reason (excuse?) for our trip to the West Coast was ostensibly for the National Homebrew Convention (I refuse to call it by it's new, stupid name.) Thousands of thirsty beer geeks would make the pilgrimage to Beervana for the conference and surrounding activities. In an effort to beat the rush, and give us way more time to explore the area, Eric and I flew out almost a week early. Two of our good friends and fellow homebrewers Ron and Denise came out the same day so we kidnapped (beernapped?) them for most of our beer explorations and shenanigans starting with hitting a bunch of breweries on arrival day. Life is always more fun with friends!
Our first full day dawned sunny and gorgeous... perfect for more exploring and a food tour! Eric and I started our day with a jaunt over to the Blue Star Donuts located just a few blocks from our place to get some coffee and sugary sustenance to jumpstart thing. Everyone raves about Voodoo Donut but seriously, do yourself a favor and go to Blue Star instead!
|I couldn't wait to take a picture before taking a couple of good bites from this lovely!|
The day's main event was a food tour with Forktown Food Tours. After having done one of these on our last trip, Eric and I were more than excited for the Downtown and The Farmers Market tour that we signed up for with our friends. We started with a little plate of items curated from the amazing Portland Farmers Market and then had some free time to explore a bit before heading off on the rest of the adventure. I highly recommend checking these guys out if you find yourself in Portland... so much food, drink, scenery, and local history! I promise you won't go hungry and, even if you've been to Portland before, you just might discover some new favorite places!
|Just some of the yumminess from our tour! Curated plate from the Farmers Market; dip and cocktail from Southpark Seafood; Handmade pasta from Grassa; Adorable & delicious cupcakes from Saint Cupcake.|
One of the things that I love about Portland is all the interesting murals, interesting buildings, graffiti, and public art. One of the things we learned from our tour guide this time is that the city commissions a number of new murals each year... so there's always going to be cool new art to look at around the city! I know that Eric captured a lot of cool ones that I didn't... another reason to check out his series over on Beerploma!
Sunday we started with an amazing brunch in our Air B&B neighborhood at Interurban before heading out to Tillamook and the coast for the day. This may be the best Bloody Mary I've had... or maybe it was the combination of good friends, tasty food, gorgeous weather.
Our main reason for heading this direction was to get to the brewery that got away last time... the elusive de Garde Brewing. This time we were successful! We took a little detour to the coast for some beach combing and photo fun and then headed to fun (and cheese) filled visit to the newly remodeled and expanded Tillamook Creamery.
Monday was our other road tripping day, this time headed east to Hood River. The goal was lunch and delicious beer at one of our very favorite Oregon breweries, pFriem Family Brewers. We made a couple of stops along the way most notably the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, home of Herman the 70 year old, 10 foot long, 450 pound sturgeon.
Taking a little break from all the beers, we joined a group of friends we know through the Minnesota homebrew community for a day of winery tours in the Willamette Valley. We made stops at four different wineries plus had a delicious lunch at Red Hills Market. As seems to happen every few years, I once again learned that wine sneaks up on me WAY faster than beer or even liquor. Glad our friends arranged for a Pinot Car for the day for us all!
|Fun with our friends on our Willamette Valley winery tour!|
One of our favorite places to take friends and explore is the flagship McMenamins property Edgefield. It's just on the outskirts of Portland and a wonderful compound that includes a hotel, numerous bars, gardens, pool hall, spa, winery, distillery, two par three golf courses, concert venue, movie theater, and more! We enjoyed wandering around the grounds with Ron and Denise, trying some more of the beers, and even doing a wine flight! Eric hopefully got a couple of good shots of a hummingbird who was really enjoying some of the flowers. (As an aside, if you're not familiar with McMenamins, they own a variety of hotels, pubs, and more throughout Oregon and Seattle. Many of their locations are historic properties that they have renovated and given new life. Edgefield, for instance, was originally the county poor farm. They are super quirky and fun to explore.)
|Art and plant life from the amazing McMenamins Edgefield|
I'm not going to lie... the rest of our trip was really a blur of breweries, the social parts of the homebrew conference, and food. Instead of going into lots of detail, I'll just leave you with a couple of photo-collages that sum things up.
Over the course of our 9 day trip, we hit up lots of breweries and brewpubs. This doesn't capture the half of them and they aren't all my favorites even. But this is a collection of the most photogenic beers that I captured!
Travel, food, and beer... things best enjoyed with good friend. So, cheers to you! And cheers to our friends who shared our Portland adventures with us this year!