Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Update: Beer hunting by motor coach in the Pacific Northwest, May, 2008.

After mulling on the topic for some months and inviting suggestions, planning has started in earnest for the May, 2008 group excursion to the Pacific Northwest. As with the initial period of research for previous excursions to Europe (there have been five since 1998), goals continue to shift as information is processed, but the broad strategy remains the same.

I've been in contact with an Oregon travel company as well as the travel planning division of the Portland tourist bureau, and the people I've spoken with in both places have expressed enthusiasm at the beer emphasis of the trip.

Recalling that it is perfectly acceptable to make your own flying arrangements subject to advance notice, the group will depart Louisville on a still yet to be determined date in May (following the Kentucky Derby, which runs on Saturday, May 3, 2008) and will fly to Portland, Oregon, where a chartered motor coach will be waiting. Roughly ten days of regional tourism will follow, with a heavy accent on indigenous microbrewing culture.

Consider this short list of possibilities:

Portland, Oregon
Hood River valley and Mt. Hood
Astoria, Oregon
Rogue Nation (i.e., the home of Rogue Ales) in Newport, Oregon
Crater Lake National Park
Seattle, Washington
A Mariners game at Safeco Field in Seattle, with microbrews and sushi (Ichi Roll!)
Olympic peninsula
Mount Rainier

Note that there would not be time for all of these, but that there would be one or more breweries and brewpubs in or near most of them. I’d like to have a nice balance between bigger and smaller cities, moving around and staying put, and organizing brewery tours while allowing for ample free time in the places we visit for non-yeast-culture activities like museum visits, walking and enjoying the scenery.

As much as I’d like to include Northern California, and after long deliberation, it is almost certainly out of the itinerary picture. One look at a map will tell you why. The prime beer-related places (North Coast in Ft. Bragg, Anderson Valley) are much closer to the Bay Area than Portland. It would require devoting premium time to commuting, and in the end, the numerous breweries and wineries in that part of California deserve their own journey at some point in the future. Too much time on a motorcoach is something we’d like to avoid. There is too much fresh air, not to mention fresh beer, waiting.

As of this time, I’m interested in knowing who may be “in” for this May trip in 2008. There are no financial obligations. Write to the e-mail address in my blog profile, or leave word at the pub. Also, suggestions continue to be appreciated.If you're new to this, know that my aim after organizing and arranging the trip is to pay my own way with a percentage of the proceeds above raw cost, which is all safely above board and conducted through my side venture, Potable Curmudgeon, Inc.

References from past travelers are available upon request. I hope to see many readers next year.

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