Spring evenings in Portland are hard to beat. When the sun comes out and the air warms up, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than drinking beer with my friends. And sometimes a great beer can inspire more adventure — like a trip out to the Oregon Coast.
It’s no secret that Portlanders love beer, and that there’s a lot of it. But sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin exploring. Led by Brewvana Portland Brewery Tours and its team of beer-passionate individuals, my friends and I took an excellent, laid back tour that allowed us to sample the best beers in Portland.
The Brewvana tour bus took us everywhere we wanted to go, and our driver was exceptionally knowledgeable about recommending which beers to try. We chose the “Pursuit of Hoppyness” tour and stopped at Breakside Brewery, Portland U-Brew & Pub and Ex-Novo Brewing Company. My favorite beer on the tour wasn’t actually a beer. It was a hard cider at Ex-Novo brewed by Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, which had the perfect balance of hops and sweetness. Ex-Novo’s stuffed yams weren’t bad either. In fact, they were amazing.
After an excellent night of tastings, good food and plenty of great memories, we woke up on Saturday morning inspired. With so many things to see and do within a day’s drive of the Coast, we decided we really wanted to see everything we could. From sipping excellent wine and saké to zip lining through the forest and catching our dinner, we were determined to have the best day ever, and we absolutely did.
Our first stop was Voodoo Doughnut. At 7:30 a.m., there wasn’t a line, and we took our pink box filled with one Bacon Maple bar, one Voodoo Doll doughnut, one Captain My Captain and two Memphis Mafia doughnuts to the downtown Stumptown Coffee Roasters shop just a few blocks down the street. Turns out, coffee and doughnuts really are the best combination on a Saturday morning.
Fueled up, we drove toward the Coast, making our first stop at SakéOne in Forest Grove to taste locally brewed saké. I’ll be honest; I’ve never met a more knowledgeable host or better saké.
We drove a few more miles into the forest to land at our next stop — Tree to Tree Adventure Park, an aerial playground in the trees featuring ropes, zip lines, tightropes and a morning I’ll never forget. Located almost exactly between the Coast and Portland, the airborne park had us laughing so hard we were crying and zip lining through the dark fir trees spotted with sunlight as we slid up to 50 miles per hour through the air.
With our adrenaline rush finished for the day, we stopped at Montinore Estate winery. We’d heard so much about their 2012 pinot noir that we couldn’t pass it up. We stopped, we tasted and we loved everything about the vineyard, the tasting room and the people we talked to.
Zip lining and wine tasting make you hungry. So before heading toward the Coast, we stopped for a quick bite and another glass of wine at Urban Decanter in Forest Grove. This was a great little wine bar with many options from local vineyards and delicious entrees to share. We split a few combination boards and ended lunch with their mini pies and dried fruit tartlet. We toasted an already exceptional day and headed toward the Coast.
Just south of Seaside along the waters of Nehalem Bay is one of Oregon’s best destinations for crabbing — the Jetty Fishery Marina & RV Park. We rented a boat and tried our hand at catching dinner. Fortunately for us, the crabbing was good and the service was great. After catching more than enough to fuel us for the night ahead, we asked the fellas at the Jetty to cook up our afternoon efforts just in time for sunset on the ocean.
A park ranger told us that bonfires were allowed on the beach here. So we drove to Hug Point, set up a fire ring and ended the night around a glowing, crackling fire beside the pounding waves and under countless stars.