There are several kinds of brewery and beer- based touring options in Oregon: you can hop on a bus or in a van and visit the breweries on a scheduled tour. you could join a walking tour of a neighborhood – there are several in Portland. Or, you could drive or bike the route of the three “Ale Trails” in Oregon, or join a group “cycle pub.” Or, put together your own tour from the list of OLCC licensed breweries, listed on pages 11–14. Don’t worry about the weather. Most breweries and pubs are open year-round.
Oregon Brewers Guild – For the whole state, the most comprehensive online guide by far is the Oregon Brewers Guild’s website, oregoncraftbeer.org/breweries. Although it is actually a listing of Oregon’s breweries and not specifically a guide, it is handy enough for those who are in any Oregon town and wish to visit the nearest brewery or brewpub. The listings include maps, website links, addresses and phone numbers of each brewery.
Portland visitors might start with the free walking/biking tours listed on portlandbeer.org/breweries/crawls. Portland’s plethora of breweries are arranged into “Brewery Crawls” that you can choose from the recommended list of four “crawls or you can create your own and share it on social media or by e-mail. We like this option, not just because it is free but also because it includes a map, and estimated time and distance for walking. Although this map is a bit outdated, it includes most of the Portland-area breweries to add to your self- guided tour.
Bend Ale Trail – Visit Bend, the region’s center for tourism, has put together a map of 17 breweries in Bend and Sisters, and the map is updated annually. Find the latest map (it’s interactive) at visitbend.com/Bend_Oregon_Map/Maps/Bend-Ale-Trail-Map, or pick up the print edition at any of the breweries along the trail or at the Visit Bend headquarters, 750 N.W. Lava Road. We also like the Bend Ale Trail app you can download to your smartphone from the visitbend.com website.
Eugene Ale Trail – Travel Lane County has put together a map of 10 regional breweries and several other beer destinations that are also members of this tourism group. In addition to breweries in the Eugene, Springfield and Oakridge areas, the map includes bottle shops and craft-centric pubs, taphouses and growler fill stations. The map is at eugenecascadescoast.org/eugene-ale-trail. Like the Bend Ale Trail, you can earn prizes by collecting stamps on a passport. Download the Eugene Ale Trail map from the website, or pick up a printed copy at any of the participating breweries or businesses.
The North Coast Craft Beer Trail – This map of 10 craft beer destinations between Seaside and Astoria was put together by Seaside Naturally, a company that has produced several other guides to the area. The trail map is accessible via the website oregoncoastbeer.com, but the site works best on your smartphone. I recommend downloading the pdf and taking it along on your trip with this reminder: Only about half of the breweries in this region are listed, but this trail is a good start.
For more details about this area online, check out visittheoregoncoast.com/activities/breweries, the Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association’s list, or travelastoria.com/itinerary/beer-lovers-guide-to- astoria-warrenton, put together by the Astoria- Warrenton Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.
Don’t Worry, Be Hoppy – Travel Southern Oregon has put together a two-page downloadable guide
to breweries in the Rogue Valley — Ashland, Grants Pass, Jacksonville and Medford. The guide includes 13 of the area’s brewing companies with additional beer festival links and suggested places to stay. The guide can be downloaded from southernoregon.org/pub/doc/Beer-Tour.pdf.
Finally, if biking in Portland is on your itinerary, buying “Hop in the Saddle” is worth your $9.95 investment. This book by Lucy Burningham and Ellee Thalheimer released in 2012 is already slightly out-of-date, but its five tour suggestions takes you on a self-guided tour through Portland’s neighborhoods and breweries. The authors’ insights on side-tours, routes and tastes along the way are invaluable. The book can be purchased at hopinthesaddle.com.
Guided Commercial Tours
Pubs of Portland Tours – Marc Martin, a longtime Portland-area brewery consultant, will take you and your group on a “Beer College on Rails,” walking/riding through Portland’s best craft beer pubs using Portland’s light rail, bus and trolley system. Tickets prices are $27 per person plus the cost of beers. Martin’s knowledge of Portland history and architecture is combined with his love of beer ingredients. Feel, smell and taste what makes this town “beervana.” Tours are by reservation only
and can be scheduled by calling 512-917-2464 or e-mailing email@example.com
Brewvana Tours – This is a must for every craft beer apostle who has come to Portland to worship at the tap. There are dozens of tours to choose from – behind the scenes tours, beer-tasting tours, walking tours, holiday tours and even festival tours. Most of the regular tours are to Portland breweries, but there are also a few specialty tours to Hillsboro Hops games, Mt. Angel Oktoberfest, Hood River’s Fresh Hop Fest and many other seasonal tours. Private tours, where your group can choose its own experience, are also available. Strip tours and history tours are also among tour choices. Public tours range from $59 up to $120 for private tours, and include food, beer, a beer journal, a commemorative glass. To book the tour, visit www.experiencebrewvana.com, or call 503-729-6804.
Salem Aleways – Visitors to the Mid-Willamette Valley can ride the short bus to a lengthening
list of breweries in Albany, Corvallis, Salem and Independence with Bobby Marcum, owner of Salem Aleways. Marcum currently offers three tours:
The Capitol Crawl, which may include Vagabond, Gilgamesh, Santiam, Salem Ale Works, McMenamins Thompsons, Seven Brides and other Salem-area breweries;
The Pub Crawlbany Tour, which includes Sinister/Deluxe Brewing, Calapooia Brewing, and Rogue Farms;
The Pub Crawlvallis, which includes 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Mazama Brewing and Nectar Creek Honeywine in Corvallis. The tours include drinks, food and driving, for $60. Register online at www.aleways.com or call 503-569-3022.
Magic Brew Bus Tour – This Southern Oregon tour runs every other Saturday out of Ashland and includes visits to at least three breweries in four hours. The $69 fee includes appetizers and beer. Call 541-482-9852, or visit www.ashland-tours.com.
More Guided Tours
Bend Brew Bus – www.bendbrewbus.com, 541- 389-8359. Daily tour is $60 per person and includes beer and food.
Bend Brew Taps Tour – www.getitshuttle.com, 541-610-6103. Wednesday through Sunday $50 tours includes beer and food.
Bend Hoppy Tours – www.bendhoppytours.com, 541-610-2323. Daily tour is $55.
Cowboy Carriage, Bend – www.cowboycarriage.us, 541-728-3750. Ride in a horse-drawn carriage to four breweries for $50 including beer and lunch.
Indigo Creek Outfitters, Ashland/Southern Oregon — http://indigocreekoutfitters.com/tours/rogue-valley-breweries, 541-282-4535, $70 per person including beer and appetizers.
Bike to Beers – Oregon is a state that loves its bicycles. Portland, with its green lanes for leg-powered drivers, has the largest variety of pedal-powered tours to breweries. Eugene and Bend also offer bike tours on “brew-cycles,” carts carrying a dozen or more imbibers to breweries and pubs. Portland has several of these, but for the true cyclist, look for the bicycle rental companies that will lead you on your own, or a rented bike, to various breweries. You will even find bike-centric breweries like Hopworks’ Bike Bar, where you can pedal on stationary bikes to generate energy to power your gadgets or borrow tools to tweak your sprockets, or Thunder Island Brewing’s “bikeport” in the scenic Columbia River Gorge.
One note: Each city’s rules for drinking on the “cycle pubs” vary. Some don’t allow it; others do. Whether drinking is allowed or not, most cycle pubs stop at breweries often enough to quench your thirst.
The Portland list of cycle-centric brewery tours is endless, but a few include:
BrewCycle, — www.brewcycle.com
Portland PedaLounge – www.pedalounge.com
Cycle Portland Bike Tours --portlandbicycletours.com/bike-tours
Other cycle tours:
Cycle Pub, Bend — cyclepub.com, 541-678-5051.
Bend Bike and Brew — cogwild.com/multi-day-vacations/bend-bike-brew
Pacific Pub Cycle, Eugene and Corvallis – pacificpubcycle.com, available daily through September. 541-632-4343.
Bike to Brew Guide – 1859 Magazine has put together a list of 10 self-guided Oregon bike tours paired with breweries and even suggested beers. It’s at 1859oregonmagazine.com/bike-to-brew-guide.
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.