Crossing Bridges for Beers

Walking Man Brewing, Stevenson, WA

A full line-up of hoppy, malty goodness from the Walking Man Brewery.

A few weeks ago it was my husband’s birthday. We didn’t have anything exciting planned so I proposed a beer tour, working our way east from Portland toward the Columbia River Gorge. (So, yes, if you’re keeping score, I chose my favorite activity for my husband’s birthday and then made him drive so I could imbibe the lion’s share of beer. I know, I know, I am a terrible wife. But he still loves me, so it’s all good!)

Anyways…Usually when we drive to the gorge, we drive on the Oregon side of the river out of convenience sake. To try something different, I suggested this time we take Highway 14, on the Washington side, instead. It was a surprisingly good choice.

Even though we were headed in the same direction, being on the other side of the river made for a completely different view. In fact there was a moment when I almost felt disloyal to Oregon, thinking, “Wow, the Washington side is a much prettier drive!” But then my husband reminded me the reason for that is because we were looking at Oregon from across the river. I felt much better (though a little slow!) after he said that.

At any rate, the scenery was so gorgeous that we pulled over near Cape Horn so I could take some pictures.

The left-hand coast is Washington, across the river is Oregon.

Columbia River Gorge. The left-hand coast is Washington, across the river is Oregon.

View from Cape Horn, WA

After an hour or so, we hit Stevenson, WA and pulled over again for our first brewery of the day, Walking Man. I’ve had their IPA quite a few times but just recently learned the brewery is in Washington — for some reason I always thought it was in California. It was a cute space with lots of outdoor seating so we could enjoy the sun. They also pour a pretty mean sampler, 40 oz total!

So many little beers!

So many little beers!

My favorite of the bunch was the cherry stout which I wasn’t expecting at all. I’m not really big on stouts or porters in general, but this one was well-balanced and flavorful. The cherry profile was prominent but not sweet, cloying or fake tasting, which can be the downfall of many fruit beers. The Golden Gait, a Belgium style ale, was also delicious — delightfully refreshing on a hot summer day.

After polishing off our beers plus a basket of garlic fries, we called the first stop a success and moved on toward White Salmon, WA.

I just loved the scenery, old bridges, railroad tracks, it's a little more rustic than the Oregon side.

I just love old bridges — Highway 14 is a little more rustic than the Oregon side.

View of Mt Hood from White Salmon, WA

View of Mt Hood from White Salmon

In White Salmon, we drove straight to Everybody’s Brewing, one of our favorite local breweries. Since we’re familiar with their beers, we opted for a couple of pints instead of a sampler.

Everybody's Brewing, White Salmon, WA Everybody's Brewing, White Salmon, WA

Pretzel and a pint of Little Sister ISA.

Pretzel and a pint of Little Sister ISA.

Then it was across the bridge to Hood River…

Sailboat on the Columbia River

Sailboat on the Columbia River

Hood River is a bustling little town, in the winter it's home to snow lovers and in the summer, it's all kite surfers and paddleboards.

Hood River is an adorable little town. In the winter it’s a haven for snow lovers and in the summer, the water is full of kite surfers and paddleboarders. It’s also home to 4 different breweries — which may be the reason why I love it so much.

Our last stop of the day was Pfriem Brewing, which we discovered quite by accident last year in July. My husband and I had enjoyed their beers in bars throughout Portland but had no idea the brewery was located in Hood River until we walked right by it. Since then, we’ve been meaning to get back to drink more of their beers. I would say we accomplished that mission.

Pfriem Brewing, Hood River

A pint of saison for my husband.

Pfriem Brewing, Beer Sampler

My sampler — Wit, Strong Blond, Helles, Single Hop, Rye Lager & the Super Saison

We had dinner at the brewery before heading down to the waterfront for a walk, meandering around until the day turned to dusk.

Cool sculpture near the river

Cool sculpture near the river

Looking back to the bridge connecting White Salmon to Hood River

Looking back to the bridge connecting White Salmon to Hood River

Hood River, Oregon

Hood River, Oregon

Then, sadly, it was back to Portland. This time we took our usual route on Oregon’s I-84, catching the last bits of the sunset before darkness settled in.

Headed home...

Headed home.

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14 thoughts on “Crossing Bridges for Beers

  1. Nice! That was like a little virtual vacay for me! That road on the Washington side is nice, we took that last time. Although I think that scenic route on the OR side that climbs up into the higher elevations of the Gorge is pretty hard to top. Last time we were in Hood River, we did that Big Horse Brew Pub and Full Sail, which are both good. I’ll have to try the others next time we’re up there. And didn’t even realize there was a brewery in White Salmon! Super cool.

    • You’ll have to hit up Double Mountain too. It’s in Hood River and their pizza and beers are crazy good! However 75% of the time their service is terrible/super slow so don’t go in too hungry or thirsty. But their offerings are worth the wait. Did you go up the old historic highway in OR to the Crown Hill Vista Point? It a fairly long drive to the top with a killer view? It’s drive like that that really make me appreciate how pretty this state is. (The beer doesn’t hurt either!)

      • Yeah, we did that drive. I forget which route #. But you wind back up away from the river, and then end up way up on top where that observation building thing is. And then there’s some neat farms and stuff on the way, and you get to see a bunch of waterfalls that you don’t see from the main route. Good waterfalls, good views, good beer — it’s what you want in a state.

  2. what fun 🙂 Happy birthday to you! (er, I mean to your husband 😉 ) The sneaky driving thing is exactly what I would’ve done. And I think they’d rather have it that way.

    • I think so too! My husband is also not as big of a drinker as me anyways so I don’t think he minded too much. But once he realized what I had planned, he totally busted me for it. Oh well! It was worth it! =)

  3. I agree — the Washington side does have prettier views! I think it’s because it is a smaller highway and not the freeway. There is more opportunity to just pull off the side of the highway to look at the views. But the only place that I’ve found to get a picture of the Bridge of the Gods is on the Oregon side.

    • Yes, highway 14 is definitely more of a “scenic lookout” type of road. We were one of many cars pulled over enjoying the view. Wish we had crossed the BOG again (its such a pretty bridge) but we were on a mission for White Salmon. I’d also like to go back up to that Vista Point and get some pictures with the good camera. Next time, I guess!

  4. What gorgeous views of the gorge and rivers. Everything looks so calm and peaceful. I can live vicariously through your photos a bit. 🙂 I’m sure your husband didn’t mind at all about doing what you love to do, since he probably likes it, too. I mean, who could resist that flight of beers and the lovely drive?

    • I know — he is sucker for good beer too (though he’s not as obsessed with it as I am). And I think he enjoyed the drive and scenery just as much. I mean, really, sunny summer Sundays are made for cruising around, listening to music and checking out the local sights and beers. It’s practically mandatory!

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