Ed Note (This info is obviously a little out of date,
This is my own personal route that I travel on my birthday week every year with a select group of friends.
I usually buy the Distillery Row Passport which for $20 covers all the tastings I would normally have to buy as well as some nice around town coupons.
I go on a saturday starting at around 11am. Depending on the crew and how well we’ve eaten we might start the tour with a stop at the Beaverton Farmers market which is almost right off of 217 and has a fantastic BBQ guy who does a wonderful burnt ends plate.
Stop 1 is Clear Creek Distillery , 2389 NW Wilson St., Portland, OR
A great place to begin any tour, it’s almost all alone on the west side so we hit it first and get it out of the way. The tastings here are also free so it’s a nice place to stop just about any day they’re open. Clear creek runs a wide variety of Fruit Liqueurs, grappa, eau de vie and brandy in both pear and apple. They also release a small batch whiskey called McCarthy’s which usually sells out in about a month after they release it in march. The part I like is that while you only get 5 samples if you bring friends you can pass them around a bit and get a little of everything.
Stop 2 New Deal Distillery 900 SE Salmon
We cross the river and head to the first of our east bank locations. New deal makes some good stuff too. I like their #1 gin, Hot Monkey pepper vodka and ginger Liqueur. They’re also always doing something new so it’s worth a visit any time. I pick up my passport here more often than not. The last time I was there you got a free shot glass as part of your tasting which brought my count of them up to 3. They’ve moved since the last time I was there, can’t wait to see their new location.
Stop 3 Vinn Distillery 833 SE Main St. Ste 125
Practically right across the street from New deal this tiny hole in the wall is a tasting room for a distillery in wilsonville. They make a traditional rice Baijiu and rice vodkas. They weren’t really to my taste, I may stop in again this year to see if they have anything new but I doubt i’ll linger. Give them a shot, the rice vodka is a nice change for the gluten free crowd.
Stop 4: Bunk Bar 1028 SE Water Ave
A bit of a divergence from the straight line but this is the point in the tour where the drink starts to catch up with breakfast. Bunk bar is a wonderful little spot where you can get a pork belly cubano, Roasted Poblano Torta or even a PB & J, side of debris fries and even order a decent cocktail. Their shelves are pretty well stocked, lots of local stuff and even a few things like Maraschino liqueur that you don’t often see. Their menu drinks are often Beer+ which doesn’t help me much but they all sound interesting at the least. Grab a sandwich and go or sit and let the last 3 places settle before heading out again.
Stop 5: House Spirits 2025 SE 7th Ave
A bit further out than the next stop would suggest but I have a reason. House carries a wide array of spirits, everything from gin to aquavit to a white dog whiskey. Their tasting tends to be a little more varied than some of the other places which specialize a bit more in one kind of spirit or another. Additionally this is the point where heat, botanicals and liquor start to cause burn out. Go light here, taste what looks good but don’t get carried away there are still a couple more places ahead.
Stop 6: Eastside Distilling 1512 SE 7th Avenue (at Hawthorne)
Best for last (so to speak). Eastside has continued to impress me every time I go. Over the holidays they had egg nog, holiday spice liqueur, and peppermint bark, On top of their line of already very drinkable rums, bourbon and vodka. Try everything, you won’t be disappointed. I’m a big fan of their double barrel bourbon and their burnside bourbon as well as the rums.
Stop 7 Pacific Pie Company 1520 SE 7th Ave (Last Stop)
Literally next door to Eastside Distilling is a pie shop. It’s probably 5-5:30 by now, you’re toasted lightly from the heat, sauced and full of lord knows how many herbs, botanicals and crazy concoctions. The best thing for you is Pie. Their menu changes regularly but they offer a majestic line of both sweet and savory pies and pasties. If you can get it I recommend the strawberry margarita pie or the chocolate bourbon hazelnut. In addition their bar offers a lovely line of cocktails featuring the best of everything i’ve listed so far. For $8 you can get anything from a Tom Collins with Aviation Gin to a Bondi using Hot Monkey Vodka.
Alternates for this coming year: I’ve still got a few months planning to do so i’ve been poking around to see how I might change things up. The following are options that i’ve seen around town.
Breakfast: Leave much earlier and stop at the Oven and Shaker 1134 NW EVERETT. They have a brunch menu which starts at 11:30. Not ideal time wise but a ham plate, gravlax or pizza with duck eggs sounds delightful. And they have some cocktails there like the French 75 that would make for a nice opener.
Westside additions: Bull Run Distilling 2259 NW Quimby Street
Only about 6 blocks from Clear creek I found out about these guys at a friend’s birthday when someone presented him with a bottle of their Temperance Trader Bourbon
Rogue Distillery 1339 NW Flanders St,
One of the bigger names in the local brewing scene they still make rum, whiskey and gin which might make them worth a try.