Back to News & Blog

The Perfect Hop Harvest Trip Starts and Ends in Portland

Every fall, brewers make the journey to Yakima, Washington for hop harvest. It’s an annual rite of passage, with brewers from across the world descending on this agricultural community.

It’s also a journey that follows a predictable path. Everyone flies into Seattle and makes the two-and-a-half-hour trek southeast where, in between selecting hops, they fill the local bars and eateries.

But there’s another route, via Portland, that allows brewers to expand their hop selection while staying in a vibrant beer-centric city that delivers a unique experience different from Yakima.

The New Route To Hop Selection

While selection is an opportunity for brewers to assess the freshly  harvested hops that will go into their future beers, there’s also an undeniable social element to it. Harvest is a chance to connect with growers, peers, and suppliers over a beer and get a pulse on trends and topics making waves in this ever-changing industry.

With a great view of Washington’s second-highest peak, Mount Adams, Yakima offers the kind of wide open spaces that provide a refreshing reprieve from the nonstop chaos that defines the days of many brewers. As the beer industry converges on the region, there’s also the opportunity to build camaraderie, forge relationships, and let loose with like-minded people.

It’s informative and fun. It’s also insulated, with the entire experience limited to Yakima alone.

Like many creative professionals, brewers feed off of inspiration. It’s great to chat with other brewing professionals, but one look at the typical tap list shows that brewers draw inspiration from diverse and varied sources – from music and food to art, travel, and nature.

Hitting hop harvest via Portland expands on the experience. By using Portland as home base, brewers can easily attend hop selection in Washington and Oregon without adding extra travel. 

The traditional hop harvest trip begins in Seattle and is followed by a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Yakima, where you stay until it’s time to retrace your steps and fly home. But there’s an alternative. If you fly into Portland, the drive to Yakima extends by 30 minutes, except your trip can now include: 

  • Staying in Portland and taking in all the city has to offer – from beer, coffee, and dining to music, art, and nature.
  • Visiting Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Crosby Hops (a mere 40 minutes from Portland), as well as other growers and suppliers such as Indie Hops, B&D, and Goschie Farms.
  • Visiting Yakima with about the same length trip you’d make from Seattle.
  • Embarking on a variety of incredible excursions. Our favorite pit stop? pFriem Family Brewers in Hood River that are just about halfway in between.

Above: TopWire Hop Project Below: Hopyards at Crosby Hop Farm

The Perfect Portland Hop Harvest Itinerary

The itinerary for the perfect Pacific Northwest hop harvest trip looks like this:

>> Fly into PDX 

>> Experience Portland

>> Journey south to the nearby Willamette Valley – home to Oregon’s hop-growing region

>> Crosby Hops is located conveniently just off of the highway in Woodburn, Oregon  

>> Return to Portland to explore some more

>> Hit up Hood River, Oregon en route to Yakima, Washington 

>> Connect with Yakima hop growers

>> Return to Portland for a final night of fun

>> Fly home out of PDX

That’s just a barebones outline. Depending on your interest, each stop offers innumerable ways to pass the time. To help you make the most of your trip, here are some suggestions for things to do on each leg of the trip.

Portland

Portland is the focal point of this itinerary, and for good reason. It’s a bustling city bursting with energy and things to do. For brewers that want to explore the beer and food scene, this is one of the best in the country. For those that want to go beyond beer, there’s plenty more to be had in PDX. Here are a handful of recommendations.

Breweries – Call it market research or continuing education, but you need to check out the amazing things going on in the Portland beer scene, and these breweries are a great place to start.


Above: Wayfinder Beer Patio
  • Wayfinder Beer – Enjoy insanely good lagers on one of the best patios in Portland.
  • Breakside – Consistently atop the list of best breweries in Portland, this is a must. 
  • Baerlic – Perfect size, amazing beers, rad people. 
  • Ruse – Badass brewery that’s very hop and haze-forward. 
  • Ex Novo – Portland’s first and only nonprofit brewery, with great beer to match a great mission. 
  • Cascade – Known as one of the best sour/blend breweries in the world.
  • Upright – Creative, music-inspired brewery specializing in farmhouse-inspired beers. 

Beer Bars and Bottle Shops – Whether you want to grab beers to enjoy in your hotel or to take home with you, these shops offer impressive curated selections. 

  • Belmont Station – Voted the best bottle shop in Oregon multiple times, it has a bar where you can sample and drink beers. 
  • The BeerMongers  – Conveniently located right around the corner from Baerlic Brewing and Chuckanut Brewery P. Nut Beer Hall.
  • Apex – It features an amazing draft selection and is across the street from Beer Mongers. 
  • Loyal Legion – Featuring only Oregon-brewed beers – this is where brewers go to drink. Enough said.

Food – Portland boasts a creative and diverse culinary scene that will leave you with some tough decisions come mealtime. Here are some casual dining suggestions to consider between beer tastings.

  • Lardo – Incredible pork-centered sandwiches and more that will leave you satisfied.
  • Apizza Scholls – Next-level pizza.
  • Kayo’s Ramen Bar – If you like Ramen, prepare to have your mind blown.
  • Teote – Specializing in Latin American cuisine and creative street fare, it’s within walking distance to Baerlic Brewing and The BeerMongers.
  • Blue Star Donuts – Simply the best donuts in a town known for legendary donuts.
  • Salt & Straw Ice Cream – Creative and inspired small-batch, chef-driven ice cream, handmade using local ingredients

Coffee – Most brewers drink nearly as much coffee as beer. It just so happens that Portland is pretty damn good at brewing coffee, too. Check out these roasters to get your fix and power through the day.

Other Things To Do

In addition to a vibrant food and beverage scene, Portland is bursting with creative energy and natural wonder. For those that want to break up the eating and drinking with some intellectual stimulation and physical activity, here are some recommendations.


Above: Devil's Rest Trail
  • Go Hiking – Hit the gorge (even in the rain – it’s beautiful). It’s about 45 minutes east of the city and packed full of gorgeous views, waterfalls, and trails. It’s also on the way to Hood River.
  • Drive the Coast – Astoria is a must-visit, and it’s home to Fort George Brewery and Buoy Beer, both of which are notable stops.
  • Rent Bikes – Explore the city and ride the waterfront or inner Southeast neighborhoods.
  • Japanese Garden – Explore verdant vistas in a tranquil, urban oasis nestled in the hills of Portland’s Washington Park.
  • Powell’s Books – This famous bookstore is absolutely HUGE. 
  • OMSI – The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) includes a natural science hall, planetarium, dinosaur fossils, and more.
  • Oaks Amusement Park – Lighten it up with a little roller skating, mini-golf, and roller coasters.
  • Cocktails at Timberline Lodge – OK, it’s more drinking, but it’s not beer and you can sip in views from one of the most iconic mountains in the Northwest.

This is just a taste of what Portland has to offer. See below for a deeper dive into Portland, including what spots to check out in some of the city’s notable neighborhoods.

Woodburn, Oregon

Just a 40-minute drive from Portland and nestled in the Willamette Valley, Woodburn is home to Crosby Hops. Flying in via Portland gives you the opportunity to enjoy hop selection with us and with the growers in Yakima.

  • Crosby Hops – Tour our fifth-generation farm and processing facilities, then take part in hop selection.
  • TopWire – Enjoy an inspired selection of collaboration beers from breweries across the country in a beer garden surrounded by Centennial fields.
  • Luis's Taqueria – Nosh on mouth-watering Michoacán-style tacos and tortas before heading back to Portland for more of everything. 
  • The Harvester (St. Paul) – Brand new craft taproom celebrating Oregon hops and honoring the memory of Austin Smith.
  • Mount Angel Oktoberfest (September 15-18) – Experience Munich via Oregon at the largest folk festival in the Northwest. Featuring a biergarten, weingarten, hopfengarten, and much more, this is a can’t-miss event if you’re in town during the fest.
  • Benedictine Brewery (Mt. Angel) – One of only a few U.S. breweries owned and operated by monks, Benedictine Brewery uses hops and well water sourced from the Abbey land to craft Belgian and European-inspired beers.

 

Willamette Valley Wineries

Known for world-class Pinot Noir and beautiful estate vineyards, Willamette Valley boasts an array of wineries that will satisfy the palate of any wine aficionado. A few of our favorites include:

  • Sokol Blosser – These B Corp-certified, second-generation winegrowers pursue winemaking excellence through environmentally friendly techniques.
  • Rex Hill – Perfecting Pinot Noir for over 35 years, Rex Hill produces singular wines that showcase Willamette Valley’s distinctive terroir through meticulous attention to detail, commitment to quality, and careful hand-selection at harvest.
  • Domaine Serene – Just 30 minutes from our farm, this renowned winery offers a picturesque backdrop to enjoy world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, sparkling whites, and more.

Sokol-Blosser_20130729_412-1Above: Sokol Blosser Tasting Room

Hood River, Oregon

A benefit of driving from Portland to Yakima is the ability to stop in Hood River along the way. An hour outside of Portland on I-84, Hood River is a great stopping point and home to breweries you’ll absolutely want to stop for.

  • pFriem Family Brewers – If you only do one thing in Hood River, stop and have a legendary pFriem pilsner. And savor it.
  • Ferment – Fusing traditional farmhouse techniques with a forward-thinking approach, Ferment taps the Columbia River Gorge for inspiration and foraged ingredients.
  • Double Mountain – Great hop-forward beer, dry cider, and New Haven-style brick oven pizza.
  • Thunder Island – Drink in breathtaking views and distinctive beers at this small-batch brewery (technically in Cascade Locks, Oregon) that celebrates outdoor adventure.

Yakima, Washington

You’ll have your hands full doing hop selection with Washington growers, but these spots offer a great option to kick back while you’re in Yakima.

  • Bale Breaker Brewing – Sit back and sip handcrafted ales in a laidback taproom on a commercial hop farm.
  • Single Hill BrewingUsing ingredients from the region, their evolving lineup includes everything from refreshing lagers and hoppy IPAs to sours and experimental beers. 
  • Sports Center – A Yakima mainstay since 1912, this historic downtown establishment is at the social center of Yakima hop selection.
  • Waterfire – Fresh and familiar dishes that take inspiration from the region’s harvests and waterways.
  • Cowiche Canyon Kitchen – A polished tavern serving thoughtful renditions of American classics.

A Brewer's Guide to Portland Neighborhoods and Hot Spots

Since you’ll find yourself spending a good amount of time in Portland, it’s worth doubling back and diving deeper into the city. Here’s a breakdown of the city’s layout along with some select neighborhoods to explore and their must-visit spots. 

Portland is divided up into six quadrants – that’s right, six quadrants. Consider that your first tourist tip: Portland keeps it weird, even with math. Here’s how locals refer to which part of Portland they’re in.

  • Northwest
  • North
  • Northeast
  • Southeast
  • South
  • Southwest

The Willamette river divides the city into East and West sides. And Burnside Street divides the city into North and South. If you have no idea which quadrant you’re in, just look at an address. 1234 SE Hawthorne Ave., 6666 NW 52nd Ave., 1111 NE Burnside St. – the direction in front of the street name lets you know where you are.

Here’s a quadrant by quadrant breakdown of neighborhoods to check out, along with their notable destinations.

Northwest

-Slabtown/Pearl District-

Breakfast: Blue Star Donuts, Commissary Cafe, Greenleaf Juice Bar, Sisters Coffee Company

Dinner: Boxer Ramen, Grassa, Takibi, Please Louise

Drinks: Oven and Shaker, Fireside, Pope House, Paymaster Lounge

Beer: 10 Barrel, Breakside, Deschutes, Von Ebert

Pro Move: Powell’s City of Books

North

-Mississippi/Williams-

Breakfast: Two Stroke Coffee Co, Gravy

Dinner: Eem, Kayo’s Ramen, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, Sardine Head

Drinks: Interurban, Prost!, Saraveza, Tulip Shop, The Alibi Room, Victoria Bar

Beer: Ecliptic, Ex Novo, Grains of Wrath (Williams), Migration (Williams), StormBreaker

Pro Move: Mississippi Studios, a live music venue and recording studio

-St. Johns-

Beer: Lombard House, Occidental

Northeast

-Alberta Arts District-

Breakfast: Proud Mary Café, Flora Food Co.

Lunch: Alberta Street Pub, Tin Shed, Tacos Pa Ella

Dinner: Radio Room, Gumba, Bye and Bye

Beer: Great Notion

Southeast

-Hawthorne-

Breakfast: Jam on Hawthorne, Fried Egg I’m in Love

Lunch: Por Que No, Harlow (Get the Black Majik Smoothie)

Dinner: Apizza Scholls, Lardo, Chicken and Guns, Nimblefish

Beer: Away Days Brewing (for the English soccer enthusiasts)

-Division-

Breakfast: Pine State Biscuit

Lunch: Los Gorditos, Reel M In (best fried chicken in Oregon – this is also a dive bar)

Dinner: Bollywood Theater

Beer: Beer Mongers, Apex, Baerlic

-Belmont-

Breakfast: Slappy Cakes

Lunch: The Bite on Belmont

Dinner: Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Coquine

Beer: Horse Brass Pub, Belmont Station, Cascade Brewing Barrelhouse

Southwest

-Downtown-

Drinks: The Portland Beer Museum

Pro Move: The Multnomah Whiskey Library is rad. Put your name on the waitlist, then go next door and eat at Shalom Y’all. You might have to put your name on the list THERE and go back to the Whiskey Library and get a cocktail downstairs in The Green Room.

An Experience That Benefits Brewers and Their Brewing

Much in the same way that emerging hop varieties have opened up a new world of beer options, traveling through Portland opens up a novel and unique way to experience hop selection. The ability to attend hop selection with Oregon and Washington growers while enjoying a variety of experiences and building connections in Portland has benefits for brewers and their beer that go well beyond what the typical trip offers.

 

Download Hop Quality Guide