BY BIKE: NORTH PORTLAND
Lucy Burningham is the co-author of Hop in the Saddle (hopinthesaddle.com), a guide to touring Portland’s craft-beer scene by bike.
If it’s a Friday night or weekend afternoon, start at Upright Brewing tasting room (240 N Broadway, Suite 2) an underground lair of experimental Farmhouse-style ales, some of which include ingredients like hot peppers and oysters. If Upright isn’t open, the Widmer Brewery about a half-mile away (955 N Russell St.) probably is.
Make your way to the Williams Avenue “bike corridor,” where you can race commuters to the BikeBar (3947 N Williams Ave.), Hopworks’ second location, which offers bike-friendly specials, including 22-ouncers designed for water-bottle cages.
Since you’ve already locked your bike, saunter just around the corner to Fifth Quadrant (3901 N Williams Ave.) for some super fresh Lompoc beer brewed on the same block as the BikeBar.
Ride west through a residential pocket to Amnesia Brewing (832 N Beech St.), which offers the classic Copacetic IPA and a beach party vibe on the patio, no matter what the weather.
Head north on bike boulevard Michigan Avenue, to end your tour at Saraveza (1004 N Killingsworth St.), a beer bar and bottle shop that feels like a Victorian parlor collided with a Midwest rec room. Don’t miss the pickle plate, pasties and free bacon on Monday nights.
EAST ON FOOT: BUCKMAN
Michael Andersen is the editor of Portland Afoot (portlandafoot.org), a newsmagazine about buses, bikes and low-car life that’s now free on mobile devices.
Today you’ll be walking through Buckman, and Buckman is all about the past. Just like the guy smoking a cigarette in front of the Speakeasy Tavern (609 SE Taylor St.). The slot in its front door is a nod to the bar’s nominal theme. Inside, you’ll find six beers on tap, half of them creative, and lots of graffiti on the ceiling, less than half of it creative.
Walk, nose in air, past the celebrated Green Dragon to try the sour-beer samplers at Cascade Barrel House (939 SE Belmont St.) instead. The ambiance is sterile, the patrons and staff good-natured, the fruit-powered beer list one of the most unique in the city.
Too devil-may-care to be kitschy, the elaborately branded Roadside Attraction (1000 SE 12th Ave.) is a fenced-in urban oasis that straddles Buckman’s industrial and residential districts with jukebox, pool table, nooks, crannies, patio and fire pit.
John Stewart, the young owner you’ll meet behind the bar at Beer (1410 SE Stark St.), would have knocked down the wall of his sandwich shop Meat Cheese Bread if it hadn’t triggered other code requirements. Instead, Beer is a freestanding taproom annex with self-consciously eclectic taps and a long, smart bottle list that has two sets of prices: “stay” and “go.”
Finish by walking west up Buckman’s secret spinal cord, Southeast Ankeny Street. Hemmed in on all sides by money, the still-seedy neighborhood’s coming boom is written on the signs of all the little businesses that have set up in old houses. Admire the hand-decorated bike racks outside Citybikes, graffiti-enhanced garbage cans and the precious moment when a neighborhood mixes highbrow with low without anybody getting worked up. Turn right when you see Coalition Brewing’s (2724 SE Ankeny St.) wood sign.
WEST ON FOOT:DOWNTOWN
John Lovegrove visited 50 Portland-area breweries in a single day for a tour documented on YouTube. The native New Zealander is a travel agent by trade and recently brewed a beer as part of Sierra Nevada’s Base Camp program.
Start off the evening slow with Irish Lager or Irish Red Ale at Kells Brew Pub (210 NW 21st Ave.), the new Kells brewery at Northwest 21st Avenue and Everett Street.
Stroll east down Everett to Deschutes (210 NW 11th Ave.). Although the brewery is a Bend institution, they’ve been brewing great smaller batches at their pub in the Pearl District since 2008.
Next stop, Pints Brewing (12 NW 5th Ave., No. 100). This coffee house by day and taproom by night has 10 of its own beers on tap, all brewed on a tiny system in the basement.
Now it’s time to get really geeky. So south to Burnside and west to Broadway where you’ll find Bailey’s Taproom (213 SW Broadway). This connoisseur’s beer list is the best in downtown Portland and probably the best west of the Willamette.
Now that you’re all warmed up, head across the tiny alley to Tugboat Brewing (711 SW Ankeny St.). You may need a tugboat to get home after one of their 13.5 percent ABV Chernobyl Stouts, the strongest beer regularly brewed in Portland. Burritos are available at Santeria next door should you need to sop up all that booze before trying to get home.
BY BUS: THE No. 4 BUS LINE
Adron Hall is a Portland blogger and public-transit enthusiast who writes at transitsleuth.com.
The No. 4 bus line—which runs from St. Johns south down North Mississippi Avenue and into downtown then over the Hawthorne Bridge and down Northeast Division Street to downtown Gresham—connects every major taproom in the city.
The No. 4 generally went through the “poor minority” strips. The transit agencies of the past would do that because it made it possible for more people to ride. Remember, most of these lines were designed 100 years ago, and the agencies had to work around the often perverse limitations of discrimination. To simplify the history dramatically, the “poor” areas generally are ripe for musicians and artists, which then make an area popular. Thus Mississippi and Division are now gentrified areas attracting higher-income people who want premium beer bars. It’s kind of weird how interconnected those trends are, but there you have it.
As for the crawl: One could start downtown, or make that the end point. I’ve done it a few times and have gone single direction or back and forth to places. It depends on where people jump on the bus.
Starting downtown and heading east out Division: Bailey’s Taproom, Lucky Labrador Brewpub, Beer Mongers, APEX, Night Light Lounge, Sunshine Tavern, Whiskey Soda Lounge, Matchbox Lounge, Victory Bar, Landmark Saloon, North Bar.
Starting downtown and heading north out toward Mississippi and Fessenden: Bailey’s Taproom, Miss Delta, Mississippi Studios & Bar Bar, Interurban, Kenton Club, The Fixin’ To, McMenamins St. Johns Theater and Pub.