Portland’s Bike and Brew Tour
Visit craft-beer makers on the city's east side.
When it comes to bikes and beer, Portland is the land of plenty. More than 50 breweries within city limits make beers of every style, from classic Northwest IPAs to barrel aged barley wines and oyster stouts. The bike scene is equally vibrant. Bike lanes are crowded with commuters no matter the season, and cyclo-cross races draw thousands of bikers and spectators each fall.
Beer and bike cultures naturally overlap, and not just because beer tastes great after a long ride. Exploring the city’s beer scene through pedal power is an unforgettable experience. Not only can you indulge in two of Portland’s greatest passions, you’ll enjoy hassle-free parking and the smell of fresh beer brewing as you ride through the city.
This bike-and-beer tour focuses on east-side beer destinations. However, it’s not an invitation to get drunk and ride a bike; you don’t have to quaff a pint at every spot. Mix it up by sharing tasting trays with friends and ordering food instead of beer at some locations. Please drink and ride responsibly.
Start at Burnside Brewing Co. on the north side of Burnside Street, the official dividing line between the city’s north and south sides. This brewery has become famous for two things: beers made with experimental ingredients and a menu heavy with meat. Don’t miss the Sweet Heat — a delicious wheat ale brewed with Scotch bonnet peppers — or the juicy beef burger seared in duck fat.
Ride southwest about a mile through the city’s warehouse district to Hair of the Dog Brewing Company (HOTD). One of Portland’s pioneering breweries, HOTD has become a cult favorite among beer collectors. That’s because brewer and owner Alan Sprints crafts big, boozy beers that age well. Order from the vintage list in the taproom or try any number of HOTD beers on tap. If you’d like to taste a few draft beers at one time, ask to “walk the dog.”
Head east about 10 blocks (be careful while crossing busy Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Grand Avenue) to the Green Dragon, a popular gathering spot for craft beer aficionados. With 62 beers on tap and events that include Meet-the-Brewer nights and Aloha Tuesday (wear a Hawaiian shirt and your second pint is free), the Dragon is not to be missed. While you’re there, try some of the Buckman Botanical Brewery beers brewed on-site. The low- and no-hop beers are made with herbs, spices, flowers and tea.
Go to 16th Avenue and head north into a leafy residential section of the Buckman neighborhood. Take a right on Ankeny Street, where you’ll undoubtedly join a throng of cyclists on the iconic bicycle boulevard. Eventually you’ll come to the Coalition Brewing pub, a cozy neighborhood taproom that serves beer brewed across the street. In addition to crafting an array of reliably delicious beers, Coalition runs the Coalator Program, which brings home brewers into the brewery so they can brew their best recipes. Ask if a Coalator beer is on tap, and taste just how good home brew can be.
For the longest leg of this route, head southwest two miles, through historic Ladd’s Addition to Apex, a serious beer bar with 50 taps and an impressive bottle list. Not only is the place a craft-beer mecca, it’s a shrine to two-wheeled transportation, with bike and motorcycle parking framing the interior of the spacious beer garden. There, long communal picnic tables are packed with people on summer nights and even some drizzly days. But that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. This is Portland; we ride bikes and drink beer no matter the weather.
Editor’s note: Find more culinary treks on our Oregon Food Trips page.
About the Author: Lucy Burningham
Lucy Burningham is a Portland-based writer who covers food, drink and travel for a variety of publications. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Bicycling and Lonely Planet guidebooks, and she frequently writes about craft beer. In 2012, she co-authored “Hop in the Saddle: A Guide to Portland’s Craft Beer Scene by Bike.”
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