Pelican Brewing in Pacific City
Ever since Henry Weinhard offered to inaugurate Portland’s Skidmore fountain by pumping it full of his local lager in 1888, Oregon has become a legendary locale for craft brewing. You can hardly drive through a town in the U.S. now without finding fantastic craft beer. Even in this abundance, the state of Oregon stands out, offering a unique opportunity to follow beer straight to the source. Here, you can enjoy the craft ale experience from the moment the hops are harvested to the last drop in your pint glass.
In 2015, Oregon produced over 10.5 million pounds of hops, second most in the nation, and it’s also a key producer of barley, another essential ingredient of beer. With one of the highest numbers of breweries per capita — led by Portland, known as “Beervana,” the city with the most breweries in the world — Oregon has the perfect recipe to experience America’s flourishing craft beer culture.
For the complete picture, watch Olly’s Ale Trails on the Travel Channel starting on December 17th, where you can follow along as this jolly Brit visits many of the USA’s best brewing havens. His first stop: Oregon.
Barley Brown’s Pub by Greg Robeson
Craft Beer Pioneers
Every region of Oregon offers a barrelful of breweries. Bigger cities like Portland, Eugene, and Bend are international destinations for beer tourists, while areas like Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, Eastern Oregon and the North Coast grow every year in reputation.
All across the state you will encounter pioneers of American craft brewing, like Bridgeport Brewing, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Deschutes Brewery, and Full Sail, the first craft brewery in the U.S. to bottle its own beer.
Oregon beer culture continues to tap into new innovations, from award-winning sour beers and a 100% gluten-free brewery, to advanced micro-irrigation hop farms and America’s first and only beer spa.
Oregon Brewers Festival
If you like drinking with friends, you’ll meet plenty of similarly sud-obsessed souls at the state’s many craft brewing events. Oregon Brewers Festival is one of the oldest craft beer celebrations in the country, drawing tens of the thousands of fans to Portland’s waterfront for summertime celebration of the state’s best beer.
In the winter, the Holiday Ale Festival features beloved winter beers from across the region — you’ll spot more than a few revelers with Santa beards and hop-themed Christmas sweaters. Bend’s Brewfest and Oktoberfest are also outstanding options, and if you need the sea air in hair while you sip your sour, try Pouring at the Coast in Seaside.
Bend Ale Trail by Russ Roca
You don’t have to be a hiker to enjoy these true-to-Oregon ale trails. Beer tasting is made easy on these routes, which expand every year, highlighting the most famous microbreweries of each region.
Known as the largest beer trail in the West, the Bend Ale Trail features 15 suds-filled stops, with a handful of other drinkable diversions — wine, cider, spirits and kombucha — along the way. Like Bend, the Eugene Ale Trail has a passport to guide your tour, but Brew-gene’s 14 and counting taprooms, each with their own unique flair, can’t be compared. The Gorge Beer Trail gives you another good reason to visit the breathtaking Hood/Gorge region, where you can take in scenic patio views with a small-batch brew. Head east for rugged beauty and bold beers on the Eastern Oregon Brews Byway, or hit the beach with the North Coast Craft Beer Trail‘s liquid bounty.
Fresh Willamette Valley hops by Greg Robeson/Oregon Bounty
Taste it for yourself: Can’t wait another minute to start sampling Oregon brews? Delta offers direct flights to Portland from Amsterdam, Tokyo and, starting in May 2017, London Heathrow. There may not be a literal fountain of beer in downtown Portland, but after you sample the state’s hundreds of craft brews, you’ll feel like you jumped into a tub full of hops, just like Olly did when he visited!
Watch Olly’s Ale Trails on the Travel Channel and get a glimpse into Oregon’s booming beer scene.