Oregon is pretty close to my own personal idea of perfection. It has a little bit of everything, from vibrant, engaging cities, to sweeping, picturesque coastlines, and mountain high deserts. While the landscape is fascinating, the people and the culture might surpass it. Tucked into the northwestern corner of this Pacific Northwest gem of a state is a city with an outsized beer reputation. Today we’re exploring Portland, Oregon. Known for its outdoor friendly lifestyle, craft breweries, coffee scene, and the looming presence of nearby Mount Hood, Portland is vibrant, lively, and full of character and characters.
And in this episode, we explore not only the great local beer scene but the cast of characters who have put Portland firmly in the center of any discussion about the world’s greatest beer cities. And to do so, we’re joined today by perhaps the two best sources for the local beer scene.
Jeff Alworth is a long-time beer writer, author of several books, including The Beer Bible, and the co-host of the Beervana Podcast. He has taught courses about beer and the business of beer and has freelanced for a bunch of publications. He is also one of the last beer bloggers standing. Jeff frequently posts his thoughts on beer, culture, and business at his award-winning blog, Beervana. He is a passionate advocate for all things Portland beer and we’re lucky to have him this week to help guide us.
Our second guest is Ezra Johnson-Greenough, who is the founder of The New School, which is a great webmagazine covering beer and cider in Oregon and Washington. New School is the kind of resource that every beer loving region would be lucky to have and as Jeff says, Ezra is the most plugged in source to the beer happenings in Portland you’ll find. A native Portlander, Ezra covers beer industry news, style trends, and does interviews and offers commentary, along with organizing festivals and events.
My pick for a place to have a beer in Portland is not one of the great hype taprooms or historic breweries but instead a fun, quirky spot. You’ll hear us briefly discuss McMenamin’s on the show, one of the oldest brewers in the region. Founded by two brothers, McMenamins is a family owned chain of brewpubs, breweries, and other venues often housed in historic or revitalized spaces. My pick for Portland is one such place, the Kennedy School. Once a local elementary school, the school closed in the 1970s only to be later reborn and transformed into a hotel and brewery by the McMenamins. The place retains all the charm of the original school complete with detention halls which have been transformed into a bar. It’s a pretty unforgettable spot for a pint.
No one episode could hope to capture all that Portland has to offer but that’s not our purpose on this show. We’re here to talk about the best of Portland’s beer scene. So let’s get our Portland visit started with special guests Jeff Alworth and Ezra Johnson-Greenough.
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