Drinking your way through Portland, OR:
(A guide to coffee, breweries, & outdoor adventures)
Our first time visit to Portland, OR
The trip begins with us getting 3 hours of sleep. My father was keeping our pups while we were away and we had to drop them off 1.5 hours away from home, in Mobile, AL. It is free boarding though! On the flights (to and from PDX) I watched “Fantastic beasts and where to find them”, “Lala Land” , “Allied” and “Doctor Strange”. Gotta love catching up on movies when you fly. Without further ado, an overview for drinking your way through Portland, OR!
When we arrived in PDX, we grabbed coffee at Portland Roasters Coffee and headed to catch the Max light rail. The rail takes you to downtown Portland.
A ticket for 2.5 hours costs $2.50 per person and an all day pass is $5 per person. The ticket is good for the streetcar or Trimet bus.
Portland welcomed us with big city charm and quaint, artsy vibes underneath a cloudy layer of rain and chill. We are use to the rain where we are from so wasn’t too bothered by the mists and drizzles. We loved all the signs we found throughout Portland, so be on the look out! We grabbed lunch at Theo’s where we had WIFI, amazing fries, and a bottle of the Black Butte Porter from Deschutes brewery. We had the avocado bacon burger and added mushrooms to complete the meal.
NW 23rd Area: Food, Beer, & Coffee
That evening, we soggily arrived at our adorable Airbnb located in the NW 23rd area. For our first time visit to Portland, OR, we found the best place to stay! This area is very hip, walkable, and full of delicious cafes and restaurants. We stayed right next to a yoga studio and float shoppe. So Zen!
- Bridgeport Brewpub- After a shower and some freshening up, we ventured 0.3 miles (in the rain) to Bridgeport Brewpub–the oldest craft brewery in Portland. We had their porter and a pizza topped with goat cheese, spinach, garlic, and mushrooms. The crust was crispy and golden from the olive oil rub.
We slept in, trying to regain our alertness. We ate a pan au chocolate we purchased at the Safeway grocery store the night before and gave each other much needed massages.
2. Vivace coffee house-After a mid-morning nap (Hey we’re on vacation!) we decided to get ourselves into gear. Morning brought sunshine and NO RAIN! We grabbed a cortado from Vivace coffee house & Creperie. The barista, we learned, was originally from South Africa and was as charming as he could be!
3. Salt & Straw-Before going to bed, we waited in line with the locals to try out Salt & Straw (and ice cream shop). I got lavender & honey AND Cinnitopia! Michael tried a coffee/chocolate one, and snickerdoodle. We later would come back here and buy 2 pints!
4. Lucky Lab Brewery- The following day, after visiting Powell’s bookstore downtown, we caught the 15 bus back to the 14 bus to go over the Hawthorne Bridge. We enjoyed darts and the black lab stout at Lucky Lab Brewery and then moseyed our way back to downtown.
5. The Matador-We had a nice stroll over the Hawthorne Bridge with a view of the cityscape at night. We enjoyed a late dinner of tacos at The Matador. Today was all about the delicious flavors and fusions Portland has to offer.
6. Anna’s Bananas Coffee-Also in NW 23rd are small coffee shops, galore. A few days into our trip, we slept in and decided to try Anna Banana’s coffee house for a late breakfast. We were seated promptly and were pleased to see they brewed Italian coffee.
Our barista/server complained loudly to his coworkers about his hours, pay, and general moodiness. This negativity continued throughout our visit and spoiled the vibes we were having. We couldn’t leave fast enough! Leave your issues at home, Dude! (We left a review and let the owner know, who corrected his employee).
7. Forest Park-Despite the rain, we trekked uphill (both ways) to Forest Park for a stroll through some greenery. Forest Park houses a Holocaust Memorial, Rose garden, and Japanese garden (under construction).
8. Sunny Day Coffee- On the hike up we stopped by Sunny Day coffee for cinnamon lattes. The cinnamon syrup is homemade in house.
9. Blue Star Doughnut-We also stopped by Blue Star doughnut shop (better than VooDoo doughnuts) for orange & olive oil AND a bacon, maple fritter.
NW 23rd: HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY
Our last day also happened to be St. Patty’s Day. This is my first Irish holiday, knowing I’m Irish, during my first time visit to Portland, OR! WOO!
My great aunt recently traced our heritage to Northern Ireland to the name Bailey. Emily Bailey came over to America through South Carolina and then Georgia. Along with 5 families, the Baileys were given a land grant from the government to settle South Alabama (where I was born and raised). Her diary talks about fighting off the Choctaw Native Americans to protect their new homestead. Maybe she is where I get my fighting spunk from!
10. Kell’s Brewpub-We celebrated at Kell’s Brewpub and tried beers from various breweries in the area. We watched bagpipe and dancing performances and enjoyed the Irish Revelry. We met so many amazing people here: locals and tourists! We ate Shepherd’s Pie and drank Baileys, in honor of my heritage. We also had an impromptu podcast interview by Peace, Love and Soup–Magically Delicious! Podcast!
Downtown Portland: Food, Books, Beer
We caught the 15 bus (trimet) to downtown and strolled along the port square: Tim McCall waterfront area, admiring the sun and the active locals.
- Mother’s Bistro and Bar-We were accommodated by Mother’s Bistro and Bar, owned by Chef Lisa Schroeder, for a nice lunch. At 1pm this bistro was packed! The restaurant opened January of 2000 and specializes in “comfort food like mama made, only better”. I ordered the Biscuit Breakfast which included homemade white gravy that was rich, creamy, and sprinkled with a bit of spice. It was topped with dense buttermilk biscuits that resembled cornbread in a way but Damn delicious! As a Southerner, I’ll admit, the best biscuits and gravy are found in Portland! Michael enjoyed the Reuben sandwich and a cup of gumbo. He said the gumbo rivals that of the Gulf Coast!
The wait staff were a joy to talk with; our waitress was Maria. We met Chef Lisa and thanked her for hosting us. She gave us samples of her famous cornflake crusted French toast that I will forever dream about and miniature pecan sandies. (If you’re from the South, you know how good pecan sandies are).
We were so thankful for a chance to try out this award-winning restaurant and recommend it to fellow travelers and locals alike! Portland agrees with us and have given Mother’s Bistro countless awards including: Best Comfort food, Best Brunch spot, Best Lunch spot, and Restaurant of the Year! As a dietitian, I respect that Chef Lisa works with low-income families to teach them cooking and nutrition skills as well as participates in many other charitable outreaches.
2. Powell’s Bookstore-Angie, our food cart tour guide, was kind enough to drop us off at Powell’s Bookstore–a haven for book lovers like myself! Powell’s is the world’s largest independent bookstore and accounts for 30% of the book sales within the USA! WOAH! Established in 1971, it is a city of books that include 10 color-coded rooms, a rare book area (that you need a pass to access), and a coffee shop. I bought 2 travel-related books before leaving.
3. Market Day-Sunday, is Market Day downtown. We strolled through the vendors and found an artist selling playing cards, of which we needed a new set. The artist, Aaron Voronoff Trotter, sketches breweries and historic buildings for the back of the playing cards and sells them as a set. We bought the brewery one, of course!
4. Sizzle Pie- Sizzle Pie pizza called our name for a late lunch treat. We were accommodated with a delicious pie topped with Italian sausage, mushrooms, olives (on half), and fresh basil!
5. Rock Bottom Brewery-Our last stop was to Rock Bottom Brewery for porters and basketball. I didn’t expect it, but Basketball is HUGE in Portland!
BREWVANA BREWERY TOUR DOWNTOWN: for drinking your way through Portland, OR
6. Brewvana Tour-We were up early for our Brewvana brewery tour in the Pearl District. Our guide was Lizzie and we were joined by 9 drinkers, including ourselves. Our first stop was Deschutes brewery where we sampled 8 beers ranging from nitro reds to porters. We loved the “trees of doom” Dunkel lager, “nitro Interlace Red” and the “black Butte Porter. The Black Butte is the best-selling craft porter in the USA! Our next stop was to Pints (microbrewery), where we enjoyed the “Free Ryder” Kolsch and the “steel Bridge stout”. Lastly, we ventured to the famous Rogue Brewery but were surprised by the beers here. The granola Blonde was a taste of breakfast with granola, cinnamon, herbs, and peppermint notes.
**Our favorite, though, was 2/3 brown ale and 1/3 stout to make the “Hazelutelychocotabulous”. This had notes of chocolate nibs and hazelnut.**
Our group was a fun mix of Floridians, Texans, and Canadians. We are thankful for our new-found friends, AJ & Caroline, and hope to run into them again. Once the tour ended, Michael and I went across the street to 10 Barrel Brewing. The head brew master is female, girl power ya’ll! While here, we met 2 former Floridians now Portlanders named Daniel & Krystal. They are full of wanderlust and have a desire to start their own business. I hope it happens for them! Night came and we vegged out on Grimm (you know, because we’re in Portland and all) and fell fast asleep.
St. John’s: A Bridge & Coffee
After lunch, we caught the 15 bus to St. John’s Bridge
Misadventure: Our bus driver told us he was re-routed, we assumed we needed to get off at the current stop because it appeared he was about to turn around and head away from our destination. However, we did NOT know that the next bus stop was several miles away! As we approached the 16 bus, we saw OUR BUS DRIVER as he passed us! @#$^&*#@#!!!! Exercise though, right?!
Once on the 16 bus, we rode a while as our lunch settled and we enjoyed the scenic bridge views. We eventually, got off in St. Johns, a very cute and small area on the water. Everyone seemed to know one another-even the dogs!
We enjoyed coffee at The Great North and rested our feet. Around 5:30 pm we caught the bus back to our little home, made sandwiches, and relaxed a bit more.
More posts you may like about Hiking, Coffee & Beer:
We joined a food cart tour with EAT Adventures and explored 5 neighborhoods of Portland, known so by the locals. It was our first time visit to Portland, OR and doing a food cart tour!
A food pod: a grouping of 3 or more food carts in any given section or parking lot.
Our first stop was in the Mississippi-Albina food pod in North Portland. We ate at Koi Fusion (our favorite) and enjoyed Korean-Mexican tacos. We bought a mocha at Five Mississippi Coffee and headed to our next stop. Next, we ate a philly cheese steak bowl from Olivia’s. The dish was served over roasted potatoes which replaced the bun.
We then drove to the Northeast of Portland. Staying in this area, we drove to the Alberta Arts District for some homemade pesto pasta (all made in house).
The sun began to clear out the rainy day as we drove onward through the Laurelhurst neighborhood and into Belmont. We were about to explore Portland’s Southeast. We ate at Viking Soul where we were served lefsa with smoked salmon, cabbage, and a dill crème-fraiche sauce.
Our last stop was for dessert, of course, at Smaaken Waffle Sandwiches in the Clinton-Division area. We ate yeast-made waffles stuffed with raspberry and maple butter AND chocolate with almonds served with coconut infused whipped cream.
MOUNT HOOD SNOWSHOEING & BEER
During our first time visit to Portland, OR, we rented a car from Enterprise so we had the freedom to visit Mount Hood. The parking lot was full and cars were blocked in so we were upgraded from a sedan to an Explorer! We spent extra to fully cover it should anything happen upon the mountain. Now we were ready to trade in the flip flops for some snow boots. We ventured to Mount Hood Adventures to rent snow shoes.
For $15 a pair, you keep the snow shoes for 24 hours!
Our first experience with snow shoe hiking was intense; we had to walk along the Berms due to all the snow. This made it difficult to find trail heads. We trekked for an hour, but didn’t get too far before turning around.
While warming up, we tried the oatmeal stout at Mt. Hood Brewery, but was sorely disappointed by how watered down it tasted. Afterwards, we drove 1.5 hours home and collapsed. After we awoken from our nap (read COMA), we took the Explorer to Safeway for some groceries. (You know gotta save the money and all)
The following morning, brought us another day of snow shoeing. This time, we found an obvious trailhead and frolicked around. Though the was snow dense, I still made snow angels and played with mountain dogs, who were as white as the snow! That evening, we went Southeast to Ground Breaker Gastro Pub where they pride themselves on gluten-free beers. We had one made from lentils and dark, aromatic fruits-not really my cup of tea. We then found our favorite Portland Brewery, Baerlic! We loved their Oatmeal Stout and found that this brewery had won brewery of the year! (I knew we had good tastes).
BONUS: THE FLOAT SHOPPE EXPERIENCE
Our Airbnb host, Sandra, provided us with a free float session at her shop. We have never experienced a float before but expected it to be transcendent or at the very least relaxing. Here’s a video of our experience of the Float Shoppe and our review! We highly recommend!
Floats are warm water tanks filled with 100 pounds of Epsom salt, so that you float. The benefits felt are both mental and physical. Your body will uptake magnesium from the Epsom salt, helping with muscle cramps, soreness, and digestion. Magnesium also aids with anxiety and mood disorders, so I was stoked to give it a try!
We ended up trying out 11 breweries and ~12 coffee shops during our first time visit to Portland, OR! For those who LOVE coffee as much as we do, here’s a list of the 10 best coffee shops in San Francisco, for your next trip!
The food, in PDX, was unlike anything we can find back home and the people are so kind and chill. On the last few days I found myself unwinding and getting into the spirit of this Rip City. We respect how locally-owned EVERYTHING is and the support local business owners receive from the city and residents. We loved it here and cannot wait to return to Stumptown, USA. We hope this was a helpful guide in drinking your way through Portland, OR.
LIST OF BREWERIES: For drinking your way through Portland, OR
- Mount Hood
- Bridgeport Brewpub
- Ground Breaker
- Baerlic* (our favorite)
- Lucky Lab
- 10 Barrel
- Kell’s Brewpub
- Rock Bottom
LIST OF COFFEE SHOPS: For drinking your way through Portland, OR
- Vivace* (our favorite)
- Stumptown Roasters
- Portland Roasters
- Coffee Time
- Anna Banana’s
- Sunny Day
- The Great North
- The Fresh Pot
- Five Mississippi
- Coffee shop inside Powell’s
**This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own**
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