PORTLAND, Ore. — This is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. It also boasts a legendary beer scene. With care, the two can be enjoyed together in moderation. Ordering taster samples and sharing with companions is a good way to educate yourself about Portland's brews while maintaining enough wit to keep your bicycle upright.
Start at Upright Brewing's tasting room (240 N. Broadway, 503-735-5337, uprightbrewing.com). Enter the building that houses the brewery, go to the basement level and feel free to take your bike with you. If you go on a Sunday, you'll be greeted with the sounds of live Mississippi delta blues that somehow evoke nostalgia for a time you probably never knew. You'll soon realize that the tasting room is within the fermentation room. Select a table among the barrels and order a sampler of everything on tap ($1.50 per 3-ounce pour; cash or check only). Ignore the somewhat surly service and enjoy the ambience instead.
Carb up for the next round at Slow Bar (533 SE Grand Ave., 503-230-7767, slowbar.net) with hand-cut fries with melted stinky cheese and a Slowburger or portobello burger. The cheese wasn't as stinky as we would have liked, but the service and food were spot on.
Head south to the Eastbank Esplanade (be sure to stop along the river for views of the city, bridges and the iconic Portland sign), head southeast on Water Avenue off Morrison Bridge and park your ride at Hair of the Dog Brewing Co. (61 SE Yamhill St., 503-232-6585, hairofthedog.com). Cherry Adam From the Wood, a syrupy version of their flagship beer, is made with local black cherries and aged in bourbon and sherry casks. It is not to be missed.
Continue east on Yamhill Street to Cascade Brewing Barrel House (939 SE Belmont St., 503-265-8603, cascadebrewingbarrelhouse.com). Cascade specializes in sour beers with wide-ranging flavors derived from fruits plucked nearby. Honey Ginger Lime and Apricot are standouts, but the brewery's creative nonsour offerings are worth a taste as well. The Oblique Coffee Blond was an unexpected favorite.
And speaking of coffee, that might be a nice way to end your trip. You've gone a mere two miles from start to finish, but your palate needs a rest.