About a year ago, we took the plunge on our first ever bike tour. We were already commuting around town by bike, so we wondered what it would be like to explore the rest of the world by bike as well – while leaving a lighter footprint on this planet and never again having to remove our shoes in a security line at an airport.
Our first tour was short – just 5 days. We took Amtrak to a small stop called Surf, just West of Lompoc, then rode East to Solvang. We stayed at a cute little hotel and rode around the area, tasting some wine along the way. We puttered up and down gorgeous rolling hills, ate bread and cheese along the side of the road, watched cows and sheep in the fields – we were hooked.
Expect for one little problem – we’re not wine people, we’re beer people.
In fact, you could say that, as a couple, we were destined to be beer people – our first date (and our second and third and who knows how many others) was at the Belmont Brewing Company (Long Beach’s only craft brewery).
So, this past summer, when we went on a longer tour (two and a half weeks down the Oregon coast), we focused our thirst-quenching on beer, and stopped at as many breweries as we could along the way –
- McMenamin’s and Laurelwood in Portland
- Astoria Brewing in Astoria
- Pelican Pub & Brewery in Pacific City
- Rogue in Newport
- Rogue again in Eugene, as well as Steelhead and a wonderful tasting bar called the Beer Stein
It was all wonderful, except that we really didn’t know what we were drinking. Hmmm... I think I like amber ales and porters... what do you recommend? Ooh... this label looks cool...
We were also overwhelmed by the logistics and experience of touring. Where were we going? What were we eating? Where were we going to sleep tonight? There’s something about being confronted with these basic human needs everyday that wasn’t too conducive to accurate note taking about beers.
But now, we’ve done a long tour. We’ve “tasted” a few (ok... more than a few) beers and we’re ready to combine the two.