Green hop cones turn golden in the morning sunlight at Annen Brothers Hop Farm as Alan Sprints paces the rows in search of the best ingredients for his brewery — Hair of the Dog Brewing Company in Portland.
Sprints has been part of Oregon’s craft beer revolution since the early days. What began in the mid-1980s with a handful of independent beer lovers has grown to an industry of 173 brewing companies operating 214 brewing facilities. And this great outpouring is about more than excellent beer.
For one thing, it’s about sourcing premium local ingredients, like those fresh hops hanging on the vines. “One of the great things about being a brewer in Oregon is that we have close contact with lots of farmers and producers,” Sprints says.
“As a grower it just tickles us to death to know that the crop that we’re producing is used right here at home,” says John Annen of Annen Brothers Hop Farm.
The craft beer industry is also a sibling to Oregon’s culinary movement, well illustrated by Sprints’ focus on cooking with beer. “The combination of beer and food, I think, elevates both the beer and the food to a different level.” At Hair of the Dog Brewing in Portland, diners can enjoy creations like beer-braised short ribs and the Brewers Plate, a selection of meat and cheese chosen to complement strong beer.
With more breweries than any other city in the world (56) and a population that is more than 25 years into developing their taste buds for craft beer, Portland truly is Beervana.
Explore more: Spend some time getting to know Portland’s beer scene. Book a room at Hotel deLuxe in downtown Portland, within walking distance of many great breweries. For more beer inspiration, consider checking out Portland’s Bike and Brew Tour or head to Central Oregon, home of High Desert Brews.