Trails, Beers, & Bites in Portland


I always have the itch to travel and explore new places in the world! I have a bucket list that involves visiting all of the State Capitols, but also that has an extensive list of cities I want to see and experiences I want to have. One of the cities on my list has been Portland. It’s an easy one because of the reputation for great food and beer, but also because my brother and his girlfriend are currently living there. With that in mind, it was easy to make the most out of opportunities to visit there and spend quality time with my family!

My travel buddies (or partners in crime) for this trip were Jeff (no surprise) and our BFF James. He’s an avid user of the Untappd app so needless to say, Portland has been on James’ bucket list for a while too! Thankfully we were able to find a weekend that worked with our schedules and my brother’s as well! We flew out of MKE late Thursday night, experienced a slight delay due to icing, and forgetting about the time change, landed after 1am, Portland time. That didn’t stop us from doing a mini-sampling of a few of my brothers’ homebrews when we got to his house and staying up a bit later than planned on our first night.

Friday morning, we took advantage of the opportunity to grab brunch near my brother’s house and made a pitstop at Great Notion Brewing while we waited for our table at the best brunch spot, The Tin Shed!

At Great Notion Brewing Company, I sampled the…

  • Boo Berry Muffin
  • Peanut Brother
  • Double Stack
  • Juice Jr.

Based on the names alone, you would assume that I had already had my breakfast for the day! They tasted just as good as the names sound!

After doing sort of a tapas-style lunch *aka sharing some of their best plates*, we traveled over to Ex Novo to try out a few beers. And some tacos. Because we were somehow still feeling hungry enough to try them.

Ex Novo Brewing Co. had a great lineup of taps, and I thoroughly enjoyed my choices. I sampled the…

  • Puff Puff Passion
  • Rhubarbra Streisand (haha, she’s the queen!)

I’ve been a sucker for sweet, fruity beers as well as tart, fruity beers! You’ll definitely start to see a pattern along this trip!

Next stop, downtown to see the Deschutes Brewery tasting room. It was a busy happy hour since it was Friday and Portlanders were celebrating the weekend!

At Deschutes, I sampled the Jubelale. It was getting close to the holidays, so I opted for their most festive beer!

On Saturday, we all packed into the Honda for a trip to the coast! We stopped for a hike in Cannon Beach and thankfully we made it to the ocean. There was a sign (that we may have missed) on our way in saying that the trail to the ocean was closed due to fallen trees. We found the fallen trees, and somehow found our way through a separate path (and some risky jumps) to get down to the beach. But it was definitely worth it…

Just the 3 best friends that anyone could have…

The hike we took was beautiful! The rain held off until we were done, and I am still amazed by how lush and green and rich everything felt. Despite a few almost wipeouts, some heights-induced anxiety, and a little bit of mud, I enjoyed it. I mean, how could you not with these views?

We definitely earned our beers that day! After our hike, we went over to Pelican Brewing Company for beers, bites, and Badgers! Thankfully we were able to find a TV in the bar that was showing the Wisconsin football game.

Like I said, we earned our beers and flights for the day. At Pelican Brewing Company, I sampled the…

  • Kiwanda Pre-Prohibition Cream Ale
  • Umbrella New-World IPA
  • Tsunami Export Stout
  • Breaker Double IPA
  • Five Fin West Coast Pilsner
  • Sea’N Red Irish-Style Red
  • Bender Hoppinated IPA
  • Sun Flare Dry-Hopped Pale Ale

Plenty of samples to go around! And the food was extremely good! It seemed like a family-friendly and fun environment!

Saturday night called for some classy cocktails and karaoke at my brother’s favorite local establishments! It started out at a swanky place and then we headed over to the Tiki-infused Karaoke bar called The Alibi. We shared a flaming drink as well as the Flaming Pu Pu Platter, and indulged in some singing and blended beverages! I would say The Alibi is a definite must-see when visiting Portland!

On Sunday, we head up the hill to see Portland from a little bit of a different view. The Pittock Mansion sits above Portland to the West and was built in the early 1900’s to serve as a private home for a publisher and his family. The mansion was well pre-served and not to mention the views from the windows and the overlook.

After, we went to sample a few more brews and grab some snacks at the Rogue Pearl Public House. There, I sampled the…

  • Fruit Salad Cider
  • Paradise Pucker
  • Granola Blonde
  • Peach Sour

It was a delicious flight of fruits and wheat and sour flavors! After we left Rogue, we decided to check out two other spots in the neighborhood – Back Pedal Brewing and Culmination Brewery. There I sampled the Abacaxi Fruit Beer (Back Pedal) and the Trou Belle Saison (Culmination).

Now, if you think that we’ve sampled plenty of beers Friday-Sunday, Monday is where things really got interesting! Being a Monday, my brother and his gf had to head back to work, so James, Jeff and I were on our own exploring the city! James had done plenty of research prior, so he had a few places in mind he wanted to see.

Our first stop was a bit north of Portland, actually up in Washington. We went to McMenamins on the Columbia for lunch and our first tastes of the day. Apparently, the McMenamins group of restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues are all over Oregon (and Washington) and they’ve renovated old buildings to create quirky and fun destinations. We started there for lunch where I enjoyed the Crangerine  Dream Cider. From there, we hit up Breakside Brewery, where I sampled…

  • Fall Apple Sour
  • Breakside IPA
  • Hive Mind
  • Lunch Break
  • Cultivating Mass
  • 1911 Vienna Coffee Beer
  • What Rough Beast
  • Wanderlust IPA

After Breakside, we went a little closer to downtown to visit Ecliptic Brewing. While enjoying the Ecliptic tasting room, I sampled…

  • Zenith Grapefruit Gose (YAS)
  • Callisto Tripel
  • Orbiter IPA

From the super modern and cool space of Ecliptic, we swung over to Cascade Brewing Company where we knew that they’re well-known for their sour beers. These were seriously some of the best beers (and sours) that I have ever tasted. If I could have the (warmed) Mulled Apple Sour everyday, I probably would. At Cascade, I sampled…

  • Rose City Sour
  • Framblanc
  • Noyaux
  • Manhattan NW
  • Stumptown Bourbonic
  • Mulled Apple Sour

I will definitely include this place as a stop on a return trip to Portland! Just amazing, plus the bartender was extremely helpful and funny!

Across the street from Cascade, we hopped over to Schilling Cider House to sample a few more fruity flavors! Besides their own ciders, they also have a ton of other ciders on tap to be able to sample. Here, I tried the…

  • Phosphorous Pumpkin Spice – Elemental Hard Cider
  • Grapefruit & Chill – Schilling
  • Chaider – Schilling
  • Elemental “Margarita” – Elemental Hard Cider
  • Wild Rose – WildCraft Cider Works
  • Nice & Naughty – 2 Towns Ciderhouse
  • Strawbasaurus Hop – ^5 Cider
  • Mischief Maker (Pomegranate) – Schilling
  • Pineapple Raspberry – Moulton Falls Winery
  • Blood Orange Cider – Two Rivers Cider Company
  • Passport Pineapple Passionfruit – Schilling
  • GIn Botanical – Seattle Cider Company

We made one final stop at Old Town Brewing for pizza and a few more sips! My brother met us there after work, which was a nice way to end the day! There I sampled the…

  • Pilsner
  • Lemongrass Pale
  • Roggenbier
  • California Commodore
  • Beet the Heat
  • Paulie’s Not Irish Red
  • Don’t Call Me Lager
  • Shanghai’d IPA
  • Pillowfist

After we were done with dinner, we had tickets to attend a tour of Portland’s Underground, specifically the Shanghai Tunnels. Apparently, there is a network of tunnel systems under the city of Portland that were used to smuggle drugs and also kidnap young, unsuspecting (and likely drunk) men who were taken to the docks and forced to work on the boats. We found it to be extremely interesting, and a quirky experience, kind of like Portland.

On Tuesday, it was time to head back but not without breakfast first! We tried Blue Star Donuts & Coffee to kickstart our day before we had to head to the airport. I opted for a rich donut with the Chocolate Almond Ganache plus a Stumptown Cold Brew to wash it down.

It was a bitter(very)sweet end  to our time in Portland. We certainly ate and drank our way through the city, and I can’t wait for a return trip. Because, you know, there’s always more to see (and sample).

Have you ever been? Feel free to share any additional hot spots or must-see places in Portland for my next trip!


One Comment

  1. Maia

    I went to college in Portland* and have been back a million times since, and I still never run out of new things to eat and drink!

    * which is why even though now it’s a gourmet destination, all my favorite spots are dive bars in North Portland…


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