As a follow-up to my previous Oregon and Washington Wine Country Travel Guide, I wanted to share one of my road trip discoveries from that adventure. When we set up our itinerary we decided to rent a car for the trip. This was primarily so that we could make the four hour drive in between states/wine regions. What we thought would be a boring, highway (Route 84) ride to our next destination became an adventure of its own. Going into the drive, we had no idea that along this route there were many historical sites, national parks, and view point stops to take in. As a result, we ended up making quite a few pleasant discoveries along the way. The one I’m discussing today is the perfect stopping point for the food-loving traveler. It was an ideal location to get lunch and enjoy a pleasant riverside town.
Hood River is located just over an hour outside of Portland. It also just so happens to be the midpoint if you are doing the McMinville, Oregon to Walla Walla, Washington road trip journey (like we were!). It is right off the main highway; so there is no additional navigation required. Therefore, it definitely makes it an appealing stop-off destination.
We managed to stop here inn both directions of our road trip and experienced multiple breweries that the little town had to offer. It was quickly realized that the specialty of this Hood river, Oregon was breweries. I found out you can pick up a brewery passport at most restaurants to get you started. The Hood River Brewery passport lists all the local craft breweries that line “The gorge”, as this area is commonly referred to. You can get stamped off at each brewery you visit until you’ve reached them all!
We started with Double Mountain Brewery. Its main focus was “Jersey” style pizza pies. It intrigued us enough to try what an small town in Oregon thought about what New Jersey had to offer. First off, I want to highlight the most noteworthy part of this establishment. Double Mountain’s craft beer selection was broad and the beers we tasted were refreshing and delicious. If you’re in it for the beer- Double Mountain is a great stop. Back to the pizza part of the restaurant…I’m a VERY hard judge on pizza outside the tri-state area. With that said, I’m sorry to say that Double Mountain fell a little flat . Because let’s be honest, we all know it’s that New York/New Jersey water that really “makes” a pizza crust. But, for an out of state pie, that resembled more of a Neapolitan style (not New Jersey), it hit the spot.
On the way home we stopped at the largest brewery in town, Full Sail Brewery. It sits right on the River and is a much more imposing presence than some of the other smaller breweries. Full Sail has a huge beer distribution and it’s clear the patrons and the restaurant workers take this beer a bit more seriously. They featured seasonal taps like Blood Orange and Watermelon ales and for the hoppy beer drinkers they had everything up to a Nitro IPA. We did a beer flight in their sail boat beer stand and paired it with some tasty burgers and sandwiches. It’s bar food at its best. You’ll find the entire line up of bar classics like nachos and wings but, you can also grab a more regional pub favorite like Salmon fish and chips.
The brewery passport indicated that there were nearly a dozen breweries in the area and we also saw wine tasting rooms and other privately owned restaurants sprinkled around town. You can make it a quick stop off or make an entire afternoon of it in Hood River.
As a side note, if its summer and you packed your suit, you’ll see paddle board and water activities going on all along the river at this junction. Join in!
Here’s some resources for the area in case you make this Road Trip Pit Stop:
…all for the love of the dish