Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Beer, the Fourth, and a Walk in Washington Park



Sunday morning we hopped the train again from the Expo Center to Union Station in downtown Portland, where we had a half mile walk through the Pearl District to Fields Neighborhood Park, site of the Portland Craft Beer Festival.

A few weeks ago when I was researching things to do in Portland I saw that this festival was taking place. Tickets were $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Knowing neither of us would drink that much beer, I saw that they needed volunteers to pour. For a 3 hour and 15 minute shift we each received a t-shirt (that we had to wear), mug, and 10 beer tickets.


Since several people asked how we got to be pourers, I wanted to address this. Most festivals and races (like bicycling or running) depend on volunteers, and since every event has a website now, just check the volunteer link to see what is needed, fill out the application, and you are in. Volunteers always get a little something for their time, usually a t-shirt, free admission to the festival, or free beer! It’s a fun way to get involved in a community event, meet some locals, and learn a new skill, like bartending or directing traffic during a bike race like we did in Bend.


The Portland Craft Beer Festival ran from Friday -Sunday, and when we saw openings for Sunday from noon to 3:15, that sounded like a nice quiet time to be pourers. After group instructions our shift started off very slowly. Each of us poured from two taps. Mine came from Ex Novo and Jim’s were from Widmer Bros. All breweries represented were from within the Portland city limits. By about 1:30 the crowds picked up and our time passed quickly.

Jim, waiting for our first customers, and telling me not to take his picture.


Both of my kegs had to be changed out during my shift. We poured a lot of beer!


By the time our shift ended it got quite crowded, understandable as it was a beautiful sunny day in the 70s. And Sunday was family day, so a lot of people brought their kids and dogs.


When the second shift came in to relieve us, we took our tickets and began our own beer tasting. Everything we tried was good, as was the slice of vegan pizza from Tastebud, one of the food carts there. I am not proud to say we each drank our 10 tasters, more than either of us are used to drinking, and I barely remember the walk and train ride home, but we did have a really good time and talked with some fun people, both locals and other tourists. It was a great day.

We had a pleasant 4th, with a walk along the Columbia River.


Lots of houseboats.


That evening we were invited to Jeanne’s site for a picnic before the fireworks, along with another Lazy Daze couple from Portland, Glen and Liz, whom we met at Quartzsite. It was a fun time although a bit on the cool side for us, and Liz made the best marionberry cobbler. We took our chairs across the road from the RV park by the yacht club to watch the fireworks on the Vancouver, WA side. Not used to staying out until 10:30!

We didn’t get any good photos but you can see how they were going off all along the river, and not all part of the show from Fort Vancouver. This is the last year that personal fireworks are legal in Vancouver, so they were everywhere and the sky was full of smoke.


Yesterday we took the train again to downtown and Washington Park. I was in need of a hike and wanted to visit the International Rose Test Garden in the “City of Roses”, one of Portland’s nicknames. We walked a loop of over six miles along both paved and dirt trails through the park, and only got lost once.



Jim thought there were way too many trees in the park but it was very pretty. On Gaelyn’s last blog post she joked about Bill’s dendrophobia, and Jim is definitely afflicted with that, also.


Interesting bark.


Exposed roots.


The rose gardens were beautiful but way too crowded so we didn’t spend much time there. Jeanne, Liza and Glen will understand when my first thought upon arriving at the gardens was that it was way too “peopley”.






Didn’t realize we were going to be hiking through a grove of giant sequoias as we passed through the Hoyt Arboretum.



After the hike we took the train back to Pioneer Courthouse Square, where we had to transfer to another line.



Just a few blocks away was Rock Bottom Brewery. I had tasted one of their beers that I liked at the beer festival, so we stopped in for happy hour. Excellent! They had just tapped an imperial IPA, and it was even better than my favorite at Crux in Bend. Too bad they only brew their beer in small batches and don’t bottle it. Jim had an ale on nitro that was really good, too.


Today we board the train once again as Jim has an appointment for an eye exam, tomorrow we have a hike planned with friends, and Friday Elvis gets his teeth cleaned. Glad we decided to spend two weeks here. Our time is going fast.


  1. 10 tasters aren't that many, are they?

    1. They are when each one is 4 ounces, and the volunteer pourers (including ourselves) tended to be a bit generous. Plus I like the higher alcohol content IPAs, so I tasted a few too many of those!

  2. During my few years in the PNW I always enjoyed my time along the Columbia and adjacent territories. Thanks for all the great reports.

  3. You have had a couple of awesome days.
    I'd say you hit the jackpot with your volunteering. Good thinking.
    I LOVED the International Rose Test Garden. With Mt. Hood as a background how could you go wrong!

  4. What a perfect idea to volunteer pour! Looks like a lot of fun. That banded tree bark is so unique - and very pretty. I love that the train is such a solid transportation option, we'll have to remember that when we get to Portland.

  5. My wife and I so want to be you guys when we grow up.


  6. It is not possible to be bored in Portland!

    I like the idea of a short volunteer shift at a festival and then enjoying the perks of your labors!

  7. Love the Don’t Yell At Me sign! What a great idea to volunteer for tickets. You sure do know how to research to find that it seems to me. Thanks for the tips on how to do it. Just a great idea! Sure glad you can take the train everywhere. Love those tree roots at the gardens. I always find gardens are very popular and very crowded. Too people is exactly right. But your flower pictures are certainly beautiful. Did they smell as lovely as they look?

    1. No, the rose garden did not really smell that much, considering all the roses.

  8. Sounds like you two are having a wonderful time in Portland. We have enjoyed volunteering during our years of RV travel but have never thought about a short stint like this. I like this idea. Sometimes you just need to indulge a bit Gayle, particularly if there are several good microbrews around. ;)

  9. Great idea to volunteer at the festival! Boy, 10 tasters would have done me in with some of the alcohol content as mentioned. I can understand a fuzzy ride home:) What fun though! We toured the rose garden...well, I toured, John said on a bench:) I thought of Jim yesterday as we did all the trails at Devil's Tower yesterday. I was thinking how great it was to be hiking with views again! We had a couple treed areas but you could still see. I am an open area hiker, for sure:)

  10. I really do like the idea of volunteering for a short stint at an event you want to attend and will keep this in mind. Although the roses are pretty that garden definitely looks to peoply. Trying to convince Bill of a fall trip to the PNW so don't tell him about all the trees.

    1. Oregon would be greatly improved by massive clear cutting.


  11. I wonder what the opposite of dendrophobia is because that's what I have!