Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland
Utah's beer scene is awesome, but the craft beer craze in the US started in Portland, and we recommend a visit to the mother lode.
HOW, WHERE, WHY?
Hop on a direct, less-than-two-hour flight from Salt Lake International Airport to PDX, which typically runs less than $300 for a round-trip on Southwest and Delta. If you’re road tripping, plan on driving about 12 hours. Take I-15 North, then hop on I-84 West through Idaho into Oregon.
Why Go Now
Early fall in Portland boasts some of the best beer drinking weather—low 70s during the day and crisper evenings in the mid-50s. Break into a thicker stout, hoppy amber or light pilsner, and don’t worry about it overheating before you’ve emptied the pint.
Where to Stay
Crash at the sleekly designed Hotel Monaco in the heart of downtown Portland, where you’re walking distance to several breweries and pubs. Named one of the world’s top 500 hotels by Travel + Leisure, the Monaco has teamed up with the Oregon Brewers Guild and pours notable local microbrews in the lobby every evening. Make sure you book the Portland On Tap package and snag a bottle of Oregon craft beer, two pint glasses, a beer tasting notebook and two free beer flights at the hotel’s Red Star Tavern. Bonus: Pets stay free. 506 SW Washington, 503-222-0001, monaco-portland.com
YOUR THREE-DAY TRIP
Day One: Beer for Breakfast and Beyond
Making your trip to Portland a beer-only drinking trip is simple—even for breakfast. Start your day at Kenny and Zuke’s downtown (1038 SW Stark St., kennyandzukes.com), where pastrami is king. Trade in your morning joe for Deschutes Black Butte Porter, which includes cocoa nibs and -locally roasted coffee beans. Then take in the Pearl District’s warehouses-turned-boutiques for a little shopping at spots like legendary bookstore Powell’s City of Books (1005 W. Burnside, powells.com). Drink your way through downtown with stops at these brew highlights: a beer-friendly, fish-and-chips lunch at Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House (210 NW 11th Ave., deschutesbrewery.com); a 1p.m. tour of BridgePort Brewery (1318 NW Northrup St., bridgeportbrew.com); and breaks at Henry’s Tavern (10 NW 12th Ave., henrystavern.com) and Rogue Distillery & Public House (1339 NW Flanders, rogue.com). Top off the day with dinner at Portland City Grill. (Daily happy hours run from 4 to 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close, and Sundays from 4 to 11 p.m.) Try the root beer–braised steamed pork buns or polenta with vegetarian chorizo, all with a panoramic view of the city from 30 floors up (111 SW 5th Ave., portlandcitygrill.com).
Day Two: Brew Tours and Food Trucks
One of the oldest breweries in the city, Widmer Brothers (929 N. Russell St., widmerbrothers.com) is one of the best-known craft brew brands out there. Brewery tours run on Fridays (2 p.m. and 3 p.m.) and Saturdays (12 p.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.) and show off the recent expansion, which allows Widmer to roll out up to 800,000 barrels a year. For the city’s ultimate drink-on-a-patio scene, hit beer bar Prost! (4237 N. Mississippi Ave., prostportland.com) for a Schwarzbier imported from Germany and poured into the properly shaped glassware. If you need a break from beer, hit Interurban (4057 N. Mississippi Ave., interurbanpdx.com) and have the bartender mix up an old-school Sazerac, and nibble on Frito Pie and “Portland’s best hand-dipped corndog.”
Day Three: Brewvana
Sign up for a Brewvana tour (experiencebrewvana.com) where you’ll be shuttled by Angel the Beer Bus (complete with mini fridge and the Beeriodic Table for reference) to several breweries. Tours include Friday Behind the Scenes (1–5 p.m.), Saturday Imbibing (12–4 p.m.) and Sunday FUNday (2–4:30 p.m.) and range from $60–$74. Finally, hit the tiny Upright Brewing Co. (240 N. Broadway, Ste. 2, 503-735-5337), which focuses on experimental beers. Others not to miss: Portland fave Hopworks Urban Brewery (2944 SE Powell Blvd., hopworksbeer.com) and Cascade Brewing Barrel House (939 SE Belmont St., cascadebrewingbarrelhouse.com), known for aging beers in barrels to create unique flavors.
STAY ANOTHER DAY
Head to Mt. Hood, two hours from Portland, and explore the trails around the 11,250-foot mountain. Pick up a $5 access pass ahead of time online by clicking here. Make a stop by Caps & Corks bottle shop (1000 NW 17th Ave., capsandcorks.com) on your way out of town for an après hike brew. (They stock more than 400 beers in the bottle).
Beer flows year-round in this brew lovers town, but it's the Oregon Brewers Festival along the Willamette River in late July that really delivers, with more than 80 craft beers on tap and impressive views of Mt. Hood and the city skyline. For more info visit oregonbrewfest.com.