A Portlandish Education – Beer, Opportunity and a Glimpse Into the Past/Future
Vacation means many things to many people and to those in BC it is hard to find somewhere truly amazing to visit given how great our home is. Sure the tropics have some clout when it comes to escaping the winter doldrums but looking closer to home it really is hard to top what we have out our back door.
Given how lucky us British Columbian’s are, it makes sense that we would look to a culture, a people and a location similar to our own in which to test our trepidations. Portland is the answer! A mere 6-8 hours from Vancouver, Portland is a futuristic version of Vancouver that is simultaneously trapped in the 90s. The people and culture may represent what Vancouver looked like a decade ago but the city itself is a few steps ahead in what really matters.
In many ways the BC craft beer market has modeled itself after Portland in embracing craft beer and using the industry to not only stimulate the economy but also create a tourism draw around the idea. Craft beer is a reason that people travel from around the world to Portland. With hundreds of breweries in the state and webs of beer-distribution spanning the globe, Portland is in many ways the epicentre of craft beer within North America and the Globe.
Making the trip down to Portland is a vacation, a getaway and a chance to relax. Making the trip is also an eye-opening experience to the political ramification and roadblocks that Canadian and even more so, BC brewers and drinkers have to deal with. While we celebrate the fact that we can now order a pint at a brewery, Portland is not only embracing the Craft Beer industry but also enabling it through international growth and elevating the entire economy through a strong tourist draw. BC has come a long way and I am extremely pleased with all the changes that have been made but we are light years behind where we could be.
We drive south and cross the border to a country where we can buy Canadian beer at the grocery store cheaper than at home. When you legally light your marijuana cigarette making the trip south through Washington, contemplate what is being protected in Canada. Is it a lack of growth aspiration, a conservative legacy, or political apprehension that has made for a stagnant economy? BC is much better than it has ever been in enabling the Craft Beer Industry but we are just now achieving what Portland did 20 years ago. It is time to take a serious look at the calendar and realize the opportunity afoot and set aside the over-regulated days of our past.
In the meantime, we should all look to Portland not only as an aspirational political benchmark but also take advantage of what is closer than you think. I above most love BC Craft beer but sometimes exploring south to see what else is out there can open your eyes to what BC does incredibly well and where our beer industry can go. Portland beer is by no means better than BC but it is different and through difference comes inspiration. BC and Portland are allies in the craft beer revolution and by building on each other’s success our beer will get the recognition it deserves.
Here are a few photos from my recent trip to Portland. The city is about people, food, beer and the social opportunity that the trifecta has when executed as a unified unit.
The Legendary Rogue Brewery
Newcomers on the block Base Camp Brewery has made a splash on the Portland beer scene
Are you a fan of Sours? Cascade Brewing could be your new favorite brewery.
Portland has Nature too! If you head down for a trip check out the Angel’s Rest hike just outside of town.
Bridgeport, Deschutes, Lucky Labrador and Tug Boat Brewing are other great options as well. If you want to do a bit of a walking or biking tour, check out this route where you can hit 7 breweries in only a couple of miles.
With all the beer and opportunity for alcohol induced chaos, Portland seems like a relatively peaceful place. That Golden-Doodle could just be ready to attack though…