Brewvana – Hop on the Bus!

Question: What better way exists to get introduced to Portland than with a Brewvana beer bus tour with people from around the world?

Answer: A better way does not exist!!!!

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Group photo post tour! (Photo Credit: Ashley Rose Salvitti)

Enter Brewvana

Brewvana is Portland’s own beer bus tour company. In a fun, educational, and entertaining way, they provide VIP access to the Portland Brewery Scene due to their connections in the industry. As background, Portland reigns as one of the country’s, if not, THE country’s premier beer towns. One could spend years dissecting each brewery, each flavor profile, and each story behind each brewery. Brewvana does it all!

That said, Brewvana brings a unique experience to the weary traveler, the local who wants to learn more about beer, or simply friends who want to enjoy a good time centered around the beer experience. Founded by North Carolina beer geek, Ashley Rose Salvitti, Brewvana stands out because of eclectic buses, the energy and variety of tours, and of course, the always gregarious tour guides! We experienced the adventure with Emily as our guide and she was every bit a tree of knowledge as an entertainer.

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The Brewvana Bus (Photo Credit: Ashley Rose Salvitti)

Enter Ashley Rose Salvitti

Admittedly, I’m biased. Ashley quickly became one of my good friends here when I moved here. Her infectious energy, her wit, her drive, and her overall good nature stands out far and above just about anyone else I’ve ever met. I got connected to Ashley through serendipitous circumstances: I sat on an airplane next to her mom and dad, Pam and John (aka Mama and Papa Sal) on a cross-country flight. Truthfully, I was in absolutely no mood to talk that day, but something about these people drew me in. They simply exuded a sincere interest in me and my journey to Portland. I’m glad I listened! Every bit as gregarious as Ashley, I guess the saying “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is, indeed, true.  Meeting them changed, in part, the entire trajectory of my life at that time. Ashley’s mother insisted: “once you get to Portland, you better meet my daughter and her husband!” Whether you want to truly learn the ins and outs of how beer is made, to the stories behind each brewery, or just want to learn about Portland, Ashley easily stands out as the go-to person. Each one of her tour guides and ambassadors embody the Brewvana spirit just like Ashley. You can learn a bit more about how she started the company here. Moreover, you can see what breweries that Brewvana tours here.

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Ashley Rose Salvitti (Photo Credit: Brewvana)

Enter The Sunday Tour De Funk

For the Tour De Funk, we visited four breweries:

  1. Labrewatory
  2. BTU Brasserie
  3. Oregon Mead & Cider
  4. Culmination Brewing

As the name implies, these breweries pride themselves on eccentricities (is that even a word?:) and, well, funkiness. Each brewery boasts some of the most eclectic beers in town, and they do not disappoint.

Labrewatory

Let’s start with the first, Lawbrewatory. Just at the name implies, this brewery serves beer in an experimental phase; in other words, you cannot buy this beer anywhere else other than the taproom itself. Sure, you can take a giant can of it away with you, but you won’t find these beers anywhere else. I opted for the darker, porter styles at this stop, but they had everything from light to dark.

Labrewatory, owners Thad Fisco (from Portland Kettle Works), Chris Sears, Patrick Walsh, and Joe Watzig made their soft opening not too long ago at 664 N Russell Street. I highly recommend checking this brewery out, even if not on a tour simply because these beers truly represent the cutting edge in beer brewing. You can find a nice writeup from when they made their initial soft opening here.

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Labrewatory! (Photo Credit: Andrew Hutnikoff)
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Tasting at Labrewatory (Photo Credit: Andrew Hutnikoff)

BTU Brasserie

Founded by Chris Bogart and Nate Yovu, BTU meshes Asian cuisine with beer. Originally from Vermont (a state I love), they moved out here, and haven’t looked back. More about their story and how Chris learned from his father, a legend in the Vermont food scene and founder of A Single Pebble in Burlington, Vermont, can be found here. This visit was special to me because I’ve spent time in Vermont, and I’ve spent nary a single, but several great evenings at Single Pebble, and BTU reminded me so much of it in so many ways, including not just the food, but the welcoming atmosphere, the beer, and the people who worked at BTU. It’s an excellent choice for something different in town, and it’s my favorite Asian restaurant in town.

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David Nijhawan next to his Ninja knives (Photo Credit: Andrew Hutnikoff)

Oregon Mead and Cidery

Boasting an intimate taproom, and rather hilarious staff (just talk to them and ask them about their beginnings…), this visit was one of the more fun visits:) We got to see the tanks and even got to have a little bit of fun:) The pictures speak for themselves:)

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David Nijhawan is strong (Photo Credit: Andrew  Hutnikoff)

 

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David Nijhawan staring into the eye of the storm (Photo Credit: Andrew Hutnikoff)

 

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The Eye of the Storm (Photo Credit: David Nijhawan)

 

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Emily from Brewvana, David Nijhawan, and an employee of Oregon Mead & Cider (Photo Credit: Andrew Hutnikoff)

 

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David Nijhawan and the bartender (Photo Credit: Andrew Hutnikoff)

Culmination Brewing

Our tour ended at the lovely Culmination Brewing. The brainchild of master brewer Thomas Sluiter (pictured below), Culmination boasts a wonderful selection of food and just about any type of beer ranging from stouts to ciders. Culmination is definitely one of my favorites in town as well as they maintain a fun atmosphere in the brewery, and they focus on sustainability in every facet of the business. My personal favorite beer at this stop was none other than the Phaedrus IPA. It’s strong, full of flavor, and was the perfect end to the tour. Be on the lookout soon for a full article about Culmination (wink wink).

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David Nijhawan hiding from the Portland rain at Culmination Brewing (Photo Credit: Andrew Hutnikoff)

 

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Owner and Brewmaster at Culmination Thomas Sluiter and David Nijhawan (Photo Credit: Andrew Hutnikoff)

Ultimately, the day ended a success! Everyone on the bus loved every place we visited, and we all left a little more educated (actually a lot) on craft beer, the beer brewing process, and Portland in general! I highly recommend taking a tour if you’re new to town, just visiting, or even a native, a Brewvana beer tour will not disappoint!

Click here to book your own Brewvana beer tour!

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