Ever since Henry Weinhard offered to inaugurate Portland, Oregon’s Skidmore fountain by pumping it full of his local lager in 1888, the western U.S. state has been a legendary locale for craft brewing.
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 U.S., 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,” which is home to the most breweries in the world — Oregon has the perfect recipe to experience the USA’s flourishing craft beer culture.
Every region of Oregon offers a barrelful of breweries. Bigger cities like Portland, Eugene, and Bend are international destinations for beer enthusiasts. Across the state you will find pioneers of U.S. craft brewing, like Bridgeport Brewing, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Deschutes Brewery and Full Sail, the first craft brewery in the the country to bottle its own beer.
Oregon beer culture continues to tap into new innovations, from award-winning sour beers and a 100 percent gluten-free brewery to advanced micro-irrigation hop farms to the USA’s first and only beer spa.
If you like drinking with friends, you’ll meet plenty of similarly sud-obsessed souls at the state’s many craft brewing events. The annual Oregon Brewers Festival is one of the oldest craft beer celebrations in the country, drawing tens of the thousands 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. 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.
Some would rather travel for beers: Beer tasting is made easy on ale trail routes throughout the state, which expand every year, highlighting the most famous microbreweries of each region.
Known as the largest beer trail in the U.S. West, the Bend Ale Trail features 15 stops, with a handful of other options — wine, cider, spirits and kombucha — along the way. Similar to Bend, the Eugene Ale Trail also has a passport to guide your tour to cover the city’s 14 and counting taprooms, each with their own unique flair. The Gorge Beer Trail gives you another good reason to visit the breathtaking Mt. Hood and Columbia River 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.
For the full adventure, watch Olly’s Ale Trails on the Travel Channel where you can follow Olly Smith as he visits destinations throughout Oregon and other growing craft beer states in the USA as well.