The Pacific Northwest is diverse in geography, climate and culture but one thing that remains the same throughout are the beautiful natural surroundings. Oregon takes that natural beauty and mixes it with culture, food, and drink to create a delicious blend of experiences. About half the state is covered with forests. Mixed in with all that lush green are mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, desert, waterfalls, cities and towns. Oh and of course there’s also the world renowned wild and rugged Oregon Coast.
Yes, Oregon is a dream for adventurers and outdoors enthusiasts but it may be equally as known for it’s farm fresh fare, food trucks, and craft beverages. There are literally hundreds of wineries, breweries and distilleries around the state and the geographical mix of earth and sea provide a bounty of food that Oregon’s many top chefs turn into five star feasts and food truck fodder. Another thing Oregon is great for is road trips. Coastal road trips, waterfall road trips, brewery and winery road trips. There are more themes you could come up with for road trips than there are weeks in the year, which is why visitors keep returning and residents rarely leave.
Portland is a bustling city full of character and surrounded by rivers, forests, farmland and hilly terrain. This, of course, attracts the type of people that appreciate the best of both worlds. Here you can enjoy a vibrant urban lifestyle and yet be minutes away from a paradise of outdoor activities. The city of Portland has earned many nicknames over the years including the City of Bridges, Beervana, and the City of Roses which gives some idea as to how much variety is on offer.
Portland is also a somewhat unconventional city that prefers to start trends rather than follow them. The food truck craze, gourmet doughnuts and micro-craft breweries to name a few. There is even a distillery row in Portland now so watch out for a similar thing rising up in Seattle and Vancouver. Aside from the fun and quirky food trucks there are also plenty of amazing restaurants, cafes and brew pubs serving up every type of cuisine you can imagine. It’s nearly impossible to get a bad meal in this city!
The Willamette Valley is Oregon’s wine country. It starts just below Portland, stretches south to the city of Eugene and is some of the most fertile land in the northwest. But don’t imagine it to be nothing more than farmland. This area is considered to be the heartbeat of Oregon and is full of cute historic towns like McMinnville and Brownsville as well as the capitol city of Salem. But, of course, one of the best things about the Willamette Valley are all the great wineries. There are more than 500 wineries in this scenic valley and they produce many varietals including award winning Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. When you get to the southernmost point of the Willamette Valley you will be in Eugene and if your taste buds are craving a change from wine you’re in luck because this town has a ton of great craft breweries. There is even a passport you can pick up for their Eugene Ale Trail!
The 363 miles of road following the wild, untamed Oregon Coast has to be up there as one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world. But don’t think for a second that you will be able to drive straight through simply admiring the view. Right off this inspiring roadway are hiking trails, lighthouses, parks, beaches and quaint seaside towns that will draw you in so you’ll never want to leave. Starting at the northern point with the historic port town of Astoria, continuing on to the iconic seastacks at Cannon Beach, through Newport (Dungeness Crab capitol of the world), and the fishing town of Yachats and continuing to the amazing sand dunes of Dunes City and on to charming Coos Bay…well, you probably get the point. Oh and did we mention all the craft breweries along the way to pair with the fresh crab and clams? Be sure to stop at the Pelican Brewing beachside taproom and restaurant in Pacific City for great food, beer and a spectacular location literally on the sand.
The city of Bend sits in the south of Central Oregon and is considered to be the States recreational haven. There is no limit to the activities available here. Bends proximity to mountains, forest and river provide access to skiing, white water rafting, fishing, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, horseback riding and all sorts of nature and wildlife explorations. But of course we wouldn’t be listing it on Discover the Pacific Northwest as a highlight if it didn’t offer some excellent craft beverages and food. There are more than 20 breweries in this population of 80,000 which gives Bend the distinction of having the highest micro-brewery per capita in the nation and the title of “Beer City USA”
Now before you say “You didn’t mention…!” or “You’ve barely scratched the surface!” We know! There is sooo much more to Oregon State than what we’ve noted above, but our aim on this page is just to whet your appetite. In the weeks, months and years to come (yes we are in this for the long haul) we plan to fill this site with interesting and informative articles, guides, reviews and stories covering all that this state has to offer. Always keeping in mind that our primary focus is to highlight the amazing craft beverages made in the Pacific Northwest.
Cheers and happy travels!