Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Most people in the United States saw coffee as a commodity until the beginning of what experts call the “third wave” of coffee. This movement to produce high-quality coffee gained much traction initially in Portland, thanks largely to Duane Sorenson, owner of Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
The cafe and roastery’s opening in 1999 helped garner Portland a reputation as an artisanal coffee haven. Sorenson sourced, roasted and delivered his own beans with personal visits to coffee farmers worldwide. He not only brought living wages to coffee farmers, but also continued to experiment with ways to ensure superior taste.
Though Stumptown now boasts several locations, including five Portland locations, groups can tour the original facility on Southeast Division Street to see where it all began.
“The tour shows you around the shop and explains the amount of care and science that is needed to roast the perfect coffee bean,” said Hibdon. “It explains the growing conditions of coffee around the world and how those conditions affect the coffee in your cup. Stumptown is one of the most innovative coffee roasters in the country.”
After the tour, participants sample coffee from around the world. Guides reveal how to discern the varying flavors originating from beans grown with differing climates, types of soil and production methods.
Widmer Brothers Brewing
With 75 breweries, among the highest concentration of breweries on the planet, Portland appreciates good beer. Since the 1980s, the city’s craft beer scene has continued to grow with brewpubs, beer-themed events and innovative brews. Groups can sample some of this delicious heritage at Widmer Brothers Brewing.
Opened in 1984, Widmer Brothers is part of the Craft Brew Alliance, the ninth-largest brewing company in the United States.
“At the time it was opened, there were only about five brewing companies in the country,” said Hibdon. “They produce phenomenal beer that is well made. They still make experimental small batches that get back to their roots of how the founders first began.”
Frustrated by the lack of tasty local beer, Kurt and Rob Widmer began brewing their own beer in 1979. When the two decided to quit their jobs and turn their beer hobby into a career, they innovated at first out of necessity. One time, when they couldn’t afford to buy another fermenter, the brothers left a batch of yeast wheat beer unfiltered. They found they loved the unfiltered taste, which led to the creation of their popular American-style yeast wheat beer.
During tours, groups discover the brothers’ route to fame and see how the brewery operates a 10-barrel brewing system to allow for constant experimentation. The pub’s 24 taps allow a constant flow of new beers to sample at the end of the tour.