Written by Beau Eastes
If you’re reading this column I’m probably preaching to the choir, but I’m continually fascinated by how great beers can inspire—dinner parties based on beer pairings, brewpub running clubs, hikes to forage for fresh ingredients.
And of course my favorite, beer tripping.
This concept born of years of research at institutions such as O’Brien’s in Portland, Max’s in Eugene, The Rainbow Cafe in Pendleton and Cascade West in Bend, beer tripping involves your favorite beer and making an adventure out of its name.
Here’s a few of my favorite beer tripping adventures:
One of the first hikes I wanted to do when I moved to Central Oregon nearly fifteen years ago was Black Butte, and that was 100 percent proof of my affinity for Deschutes Brewery’s iconic porter. Not quite 4 miles out and back, the hike up Black Butte is a steady climb of about 1,500 feet to the summit. This trek is all about the payoff—staggering views of the Three Sisters, Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood and as far as Mount St. Helens. With Black Butte Porter now in cans, a Black Butte on top of Black Butte is a doubly satisfying way to celebrate your climb.
Bikes and beers, what’s not to love? One of my favorite things to do in Portland is to explore the city’s neighborhoods on my trusty commuter bike and pop into some of my favorite breweries. On one of my last trips to town, I started my ride with a Shanghai’d IPA lunch beer at the criminally underrated Old Town Brewing in the city’s Old Town Chinatown neighborhood, home to the legendary Shanghai tunnels, before meandering across the Steel Bridge to pedal through the southeast neighborhoods. Hair of the Dog, Wayfinder, Cascade’s Barrel House, Southeast Portland is loaded with top-shelf breweries worth creating a beer tripping itinerary of its own. I ended with a Bomber Burger and Powell Cryo IPA at Hopworks’ original location on SE Powell. Bonus if you can find a can of Ascendant Beer Company’s Steelbridge Stout sip in its native habitat.
On a recent bikepacking trip with buddies, our goal was pretty simple. Bike from our homes in Bend and have a Three Creeks Suttle Haze IPA at Suttle Lake with lots of exploring in between. Mission accomplished. Number one, the old forest roads between Bend and Suttle Lake are ideal for bikepacking and gravel adventures. And two, Suttle Lake and the Suttle Lake Lodge make for an excellent destination for a quick bike adventure out of Bend. We brought the hazy IPAs and enjoyed them by the lake before destroying a plate of poutine at the lodge’s Skip Bar. Staying in the spirit of the beer tripping theme, we also brought along cans of Boneyard’s Hop-A-Wheelie pale ale, camp beers the night before we reached Suttle Lake, although we nearly ended the trip early after trying to do wheelies on our fully loaded gravel bikes.