Visitors and locals are partying up and down the Willamette River and through the streets of downtown Portland, Oregon. Andrea Lins married two of Portland’s favorite activities, cycling and beer drinking. She and her boyfriend, now husband, moved to Portland on June 3, 2011, and opened BrewGroup Portland. Andrea says, “Portland’s reputation for being one of the top craft brewery scenes in the country mixed in with it being one of the most bike-friendly cities in America made BrewGroup Portland a no-brainer.”
The Beginning 0f BrewGroup Portland
Laverne, Andrea’s first BrewCycle, was delivered on June 23, 2011. Laverne made her inaugural ride onto the streets of Portland on July 3, 2011, just one month after the inception of BrewGroup. Since that time, the company has grown to three large BrewCycles, and new 6-person cycle, and a BrewBarge with plans to expand. BrewCycles are a fun way to pub crawl neighborhoods in Portland, and four routes are available — the Northwest, the Old Town, the Dive Bar and the newest, the East Portland.
The new Eastside bikes are designed differently holding six people each. In the summer of 2018, Andrea will expand her collection even further by adding a new 15-person bike.
On Saint Patrick’s Day, I invited my daughter Brittney and her husband Jeremiah to don our celebratory greenery and join me for a pub crawl on the Northwest route. We arrived at Back Pedal Brewing, BrewGroup’s garage and brewery, just before the rain. After a few minutes discussing the company’s origin with the owner, Andrea, we jumped onboard our BrewCycle and headed out with our soon-to-be new friends.
There is no beer drinking on the BrewCycle but there are no rules about pedaling under the influence. Most riders on our bike consumed a quick beer at Back Pedal Brewery before we climbed aboard. The mood was festive and lighthearted. The first section of our ride was the hardest to pedal due to a slight elevation gain on the roadway. The routes are designed to “do the hard part first” while everyone is feeling their best. We soon worked like a well-oiled machine with our designated driver Eric calling out commands for turns and stops. We reached Lucky Labrador Beer Hall parched and ready for a drink.
The First Two Breweries
Lucky Labrador Beer Hall, part of Lucky Labrador Brewing Company, offers pizza, salads, soup, and sandwiches, along with beer poured from the taps located behind the bar. The ample space, filled with picnic tables, allows for groups to sit together, and a dartboard is available for some friendly competition.
After the 30-minute stop, which passes much too quickly, we boarded our rig again to head for Lompoc Tavern BrewGroup Portland.
Lompoc Tavern is owned by Lompoc Brewing. The Tavern features tasty pub food and a variety of ales, lagers, cocktails, and other enticing drink options that change on a regular basis. Our group was loosening up even more after the second stop.
Each BrewCycle experience is different based on the assemblage of riders, and ours consisted of a young couple visiting from Southern California, a bachelorette party, Eric our driver, and my family. As we pedaled toward our final drinking destination, the real party began.
The ladies that were a part of the bridal celebration spent the morning taking a “dance” class together. This particular class involved a pole. Inhibitions were down by this time in the tour, and a few ladies took the “stage” in the middle of the BrewCycle.
The music played loudly while the ladies practiced their new moves in a tasteful yet entertaining manner. The young women remained fully clothed minus a jacket or two, and the roar of laughter resounded for blocks. It was difficult to pedal while laughing hysterically. Everyone on the BrewCycle sang along with the music, continually wiping the tears streaming down their faces. Pedestrians along the street wore expressions of wonder, confusion, joy, and maybe even a little envy as we passed.
Andrea says, “Pedaling, enjoying craft beer, and friends … we are all those things combined. I truly feel that the BrewCycle and BrewBarge may be one of the most ‘Portland’ things you can do.”
The Last Stop
Our final stop, Bridgeport Brewing Company, boasts a sizable two-story space with multiple beers on tap and a full bar for those seeking alternative beverages.
Pub crawling in Portland is an experience in itself. The city is known for its laid-back attitude and accepts people for whomever and whatever they choose to be. I spent a little time chatting with a small group of young men planning to attend a concert in the evening celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day. They introduced themselves as leopardcons instead of leprechauns.
You never know what kind of fun you will have—or what amazing people you will meet—on a BrewCycle tour. Take your chances and venture out to see what a real party is like in Portland, Oregon, and join one of BrewGroup Portland’s entertaining rides. For more things to see and do in Oregon see these articles by Wander writers.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a tour for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.