While Portland is a capital of beer–might I add world capital of beer—I do think surface has yet been completely scratched as it relates to urban wineries and distilleries. Distilleries, ironically, out numbering urban wineries by a wide margin. Portland’s many breweries have placed it as the brewing capital of the world–outpacing and out placing Brussels. And even with breweries I doubt we have seen the limit.
And more artisan focused beers is a national craving that still needs to be feed. For a period of time it was only people in certain urban centers who had this craving. Artisan distilling is quite viable as many people are seeking new interpretations on gin, vodka and whiskey and other spirits. Visiting a couple of distilleries made me a believer is very small batch production. The price points didn’t have an artisan price point—very reasonable and a comfortable fit.
Portland, a very short drive from Willamette Valley producers has fewer urban wineries than I would expect. But to be fair–San Francisco has very few with respect to the nearby wine countries of Napa, Sonoma, and Livermore Valley. Portland is the epicenter of Pacific Northwest wine as not only is Willamette nearby so are the Washington wine countries just across the Columbia. Also, in Northeast Oregon as the Columbia Valley, Columbia Gorge and Snake Valley wine countries. Enso Winery is the only urban winery that I have visited and has an allotment of wines from Willamette Valley and Horse Heaven Hills. Enso Winery was packed when I was there (on a recent food and wine tour of Portland). I would expect more urban wineries to open up in the future—and unlike San Francisco where street level real estate is as rarified as the Dodo–Portland has many more possibilities. Possibility is an asset and the food scene in Portland is wonderfully developed. Let me be more clear–since Portland has this scene–I could only expect this to be even more developed in the future
Portland, unlike the fictional show Portlandia, is accessible on many levels–it is easy to get around on public transport and where else could you visit a distillery using a city bus–well…very few… and might I add that bus stop is practically at the door of House Spirits. And I do like Portland’s friendliness; it is quite noticeable.
I do love Portland as a base camp for so many wine countries, evocative hillsides, and the ever present Douglas fir create a signature that is romantic. I do like Portland’s view of coffee just as lively as any Pacific coast city. Portland is a great place for your next culinary and beverage tour.
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