I have been excited to get to Portland for a while for a few reasons, but really mostly for the beer. I knew a Portland brewery tour (or many) was in my future. Oregon is one of the biggest producers of hops in the country and we visited right after the hop harvest and all the breweries had fresh hopped beer on tap. Aside from all the hops, they produce Portland is also home to the most breweries in a city in the world. In our short trip, I knew I wouldn’t be able to hit them all, but I wanted to make it to as many as I could. One of the best ways to hit the best Portland breweries is jump on a Portland Brewery tour with Brewvana tours. Oh and they are you designated driver so you can drink as much as your beer loving heart desires.
I knew right away it was going to be a good brewery tour as the guide handed us necklaces with pretzels strung on them. Not everyone knows about the pretzel necklaces (but they should). You are supposed to use a pretzel to cleanse your pallet between beer samples (and let’s be honest after too many samples we all get the munchies). With our pretzels properly around our necks, we hopped on the Brewvana bus and headed to our first Portland brewery.
Portland Brewery Tour Stop #1: Mcmenamin’s Kennedy School
We pulled into one of Portland’s oldest and most unconventional breweries, the Mcmenamin’s Kennedy School. A retired school turned brewery, restaurant, hotel, and awesome. One of the old boiler rooms was converted into a brewery putting out some head of the class beer. Other parts of the school were repurposed too. You can sleep in a classroom with the original chalkboard and all. We suggest spending a night here if you can, prices are around $125 check prices online here.
One of many favorite rooms was the detention room, that was converted into an appropriately decorated bar. The beer is what we came here for and they had a Scottish Ale that was bourbon barrel aged to perfection. It’s places like this we would have never found if it weren’t for the Brewvana tour.
Portland Brewery Tour Stop #2: Alameda Brewing Co.
After we flunked out of the Kennedy School for drinking too much, our hilarious guide pointed the bus toward Alameda Brewing. Here along with our beer samples we had some great snacks to help soak up some of the beer to allow us to keep on sampling. Oh did we mention if you book this Portland Brewery tour it comes with food samples too!
Plates of wings, hummus, pizzas, and plenty of finger food filled the table. In every open spot of the table was filled in with pitchers of all the breweries best beers. As a stout lover, their award winning Black Bear Stout XX was the star of the table for me. By the halfway point of our brewery tour everyone was feeling the beer work it’s magic and the table of strangers were talking as if old friends. As the pitchers started to run dry it was time to get to the next place with more beer.
Portland Brewery Tour Stop #3: Ecliptic Brewing
Last on our Brewvana tour was the Ecliptic brewing ran by an Oregon beer legend John Harris. With his claim to fame being the developer of some of Deschutes brewery’s most popular brews. He and his partners have since opened their own brewery named after their two passions, beer and astronomy. The beers from Ecliptic were some of the best of the day.
We visited just after the hop harvest and their fresh hopped beers were top notch. Fresh hopping is only done once a year in the fall. The process varies between breweries, but it’s where fresh, not dried hops, are added to the beer as it ferments in the big tanks in back. The result is a ton of flavor and aromas from the hops without the bitter tongue sting that some heavily hopped beers can have. The great beer was a great way to end the tour of Portland’s extensive microbrewery scene.
Your next visit to Portland should include as many great breweries as you can fit in. To find a few of the hidden gems of the city jump on a Brewvana tour, they run a ton of different tours to suit every beer taste. We took their Eastside Feast Ride tour to hit some of the breweries with the deepest roots in the city.This post may contain affiliate links, see our disclosure