Discover Beervana (and America’s unofficial pedi-capital) on two wheels.
By Chris Opfer
Upwards of 25 breweries like Rogue, Full Sail and Laurelwood quench this Oregon city’s thirst for local beer. “Portlanders love a good microbrew,” says Portland Bicycle Tours owner Evan Ross, who runs a weekly bike-brewery ride, “and if there’s anything we like as much it’s our bikes.” Wide-laned “bicycle boulevards” feature bike-crossing signals, and street signs display estimated biking times to various destinations, all paving a beery course from Northeast Portland’s Pearl District to the southeastern Buckman ’hood.
1. Ringlers Annex/Cellar Bar
Nestled in the heart of the Pearl District, this tiny McMenamins outfit is a window into an industrial ward-turned-urban art and shopping district. Down-stairs, the speakeasy-styled Cellar Bar fills up with Hammerhead pale ale drinkers after dark. Soon, visitors will have a short walk home: McMenamins is set to open the historic Crystal Hotel in May. 1223 S.W. Stark St., mcmenamins.com
2. Deschutes Brewery & Public House
Cycle a few blocks northeast to what was once a car mechanic shop. The Bend, Ore., brewer’s rustic, wide-open space and pastoral timberwork create a Northwestern cabin vibe that extends to well-loved beers like Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale. The porter also shines in a white cheese mustard dipping sauce that accompanies oversized baked pretzels. 210 N.W. 11th Ave., deschutesbrewery.com
3. Widmer Brothers Brewing
Get back on your bike and follow the Burnside Bridge across the Willamette River, where the brothers Widmer have been brewing “America’s Original Hefeweizen” for almost a quarter of a century. In addition to its signature wheat brew, Widmer Northeast Portland brewery also churns out a full slate of regular and seasonal beers. Pedalers will appreciate the environmentally friendly operation, which draws on wind power and recycled heat; see the whole operation during scheduled weekend tours and taste the results at neighboring Gasthaus Pub. 929 N. Russell St., widmer.com
Pedal south along the banks of the Willamette before heading east to Hopworks, an organic beer haven that welcomes cyclists with rows of bike racks, Allen wrench taps, bicycle-frame-adorned ceilings and the Hopworks Bar Bike, a double-keg bar on wheels. Even the urinals are decorated with bicycle seats. Former Laurelwood brewer Christian Ettinger’s bright, airy “eco-brewpub” doubles as a popular destination for the station wagon set who stop by for the kids’ play area and children’s pub grub menu. 2944 S.E. Powell Blvd., hopworksbeer.com
5. Coalition Brewing Co. Pub
Small, dark and overlooking a Mediterranean restaurant dumpster, Coalition Brewing (a 13-minute ride south) eschews fancy packaging in favor of quality beer. The brewery began fashioning a handful of styles in the quirky Buckman neighborhood last summer; the newly opened pub across the street hosts each of its offerings on tap. Mr. Pigs Pale Ale and King Kitty Red pair well with a sunny afternoon at one of a handful of outdoor tables; for the other 364 rainy days, try the RZA/GZA/Ol’ Dirty Bastard-inspired The WU Cream Ale. 2724 S.E. Ankeny St., coalitionbrewing.com
OFF THE MAP: Sandy Hut
There’s a place and a time for cheap beer: the Sandy Hut, after a long day of crisscrossing Portland on two wheels and slurping up craft. The “Handy Slut,” as it’s affectionately known by locals, is a dank, windowless cavern slinging ice-cold Ranier tall boys; a full spectrum of people-watching opportunities (from toothless old-timers to bachelorette partiers); and the best microwaved tater tots east of the Willamette. Polish off the night with a Bacon Maple Bar around the corner at the famed 24-hour Voodoo Doughnut shop. 1430 N.E. Sandy Blvd., 503.235.7972