Share This Blog

Forget Food Trucks, How about Beer Trucks?

Portland 003

The Captured Beer Bus

I have been in Portland for a few days. My spouse had a training workshop to attend and I had my arm twisted (go ahead, twist my arm!) to accompany her. That meant as she was becoming smarter, I had time to visit some breweries, some cool pubs and drink a tiny fraction of the immense number of craft beer the city has to offer Yes, go ahead and feel jealous.

Various aspects of my trip will make their way onto this site and into my regular columns in multiple shapes and forms. So you will hear plenty about my impressions of the great craft city.

But I wanted to start with the very first beer I had upon arriving. Having just landed at our accommodation, we were walking to a grocery store to stock up. We turn a corner and walk right into a cluster of food trucks (which they call food “carts” in Portland). They were in an empty lot in a quiet residential neighbourhood. There were about seven or eight trucks offering a range of cuisines.Of course the food truck scene in Portland is huge. There are 36 of these so-called food pods scattered around the city. It is a deeply ingrained and growing part of Portland food culture.

As we peruse the options I notice one truck in the middle that doesn’t seem to have food, but instead a half dozen tap handles. What!?! Indeed, it was true, I had stumbled across one of Portland’s first beer trucks. Almost two years ago, the Oregon Liquor Commission started offering licenses for beer trucks. There are now about a dozen across the pods in the city. This one is called Captured Beer Bus and was one of the first to get a license.

Now, THIS is civilized!

Now, THIS is civilized!

Now THAT is one cool idea. I was quite tickled by the whole thing. I ordered a sampler tray of four of the six offerings, all of which are local breweries of course, and sat down to enjoy my first Portland beer sitting in the sun (a rarity in Portland) among food trucks. As it worked out, three that I had ordered were from Captured By Porches, a small brewery located in St. Helen’s, a town about 50 km south of Portland. This particular beer bus is unofficially affiliated with Captured by Porches, as the owner-operator is a former brewery staffer there. I sample their Belgian Style Red Rye, Invasive Species IPA and Imperial Pale Ale. Rounding out the tray was Oakshire Brewing’s (from Eugene, Oregon) Nitro Espresso Stout, as well as a quick sip of  my spouse’s Sour Cherry Cider from Wandering Angus Cidery in Salem, Oregon.

The beer were interesting and a nice introduction to Oregon beer offerings. But the story of the day was the beer truck. Can you imagine noshing down on some good food truck fare and washing it down with a local craft beer from a truck next door? That elevates the food truck experience to a whole new level. It is like having a beer tent right in your own neighbourhood, only with better beer.

This is facilitated in Portland by the fact that the pod structure makes food trucks a more permanent feature. The trucks tend to stay in one spot for months or years, unlike in western Canada where they tend to move around a fair bit. One down-side is beer trucks’ licenses are site-specific, meaning they can’t rove around from location to location. Regardless it is some remarkably forward-thinking policy making, and a credit to the regulators for seeing this as a positive, not a negative.

This little surprise is just one little sliver of the coolness that is Portland’s beer scene. More to come.

10 comments to Forget Food Trucks, How about Beer Trucks?

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>