Tuesday, April 1, 2014

B is for bookstores and breweries (Portlandia from A to Z)

Bookstores and breweries go together, especially because Portland has more independent bookstores AND breweries per capita than any other city in the country. In fact, wouldn't that make a wonderful new venue--a brewery-bookstore? I'll get right on that... :) 


As my blog followers know, I'm a confirmed reading addict and have a separate blog just for my book reviews. And I love bookstores.

Portland's number of bookstores helps us get on multiple top 10 lists such as Top 10 Best Cities for Nerds, and #1 for book lovers. Of our 139 independent bookstores, I have two personal favorites:
Powell's City of Books
The great and mighty Powell's Bookstore, which claims to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. In addition to its online store, Powell's has several brick-and-mortar bookstores:
  1. Powell's City of Books, which houses over 1 million books and occupies a full city block
  2. Cedar Hills Crossing (in the burbs)
  3. Hawthorne (in one of the hipster neighborhoods)
  4. Portland International Airport 
  5. Technical Books
  6. Books for Home and Garden
Powell's buys 4,000 used books each day and its total inventory numbers over 1 million new, used, rare, and out-of-print books. I used to go to Powell's every summer before going back to college to stock up on my English books. It is a rare gem...and this story is a wonderful example of its quirky ability to connect people.

The Hobbit and Gandalf
 (two of my boys at a Hobbit
 celebration at Annie Bloom's)
I'm also supremely lucky to have a marvelous neighborhood bookstore just 1/2 mile away from my 
house, Annie Bloom's, which truly feels like my family's home away from home! We've celebrated Harry Potter there, as well as the Hobbit and the opening of World Book Night, and we love to hear our favorite writers speak as well as simply browse and buy! And to top it off, they do free gift wrapping!


You don't have to go far in Portland to get your hands on a craft microbrew. We have more breweries (52) than any other city in the world. CNN named Portland #1 on its 8 Best Beer Cities in America; Travel & Leisure named it #1 as "America's Best Beer Cities" and Esquire named it one of its Best Beer Cities.

In addition to breweries, Portland celebrates its beer with multiple Oktoberfests, the Oregon Brewer's Festival, Portland International Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and Biketobeerfest. It's all about quality over quantity, though, and no self-respecting hipster would find herself dead drinking Budweiser or Coors! 

Beer tasting at the Full Sail Brewing Company last year
Where else but Portland would two brothers found a microbrewery-entertainment conglomerate? (More about the McMenamin brothers in an upcoming post.)

Here are a few of my favorite places to drink microbrewed beer:
Deschutes Brewery
Raleigh Hills Pub
These have all been around awhile--I haven't had a chance to visit the newer brew pubs. Looks like I have to branch out a little!

Best of all, I have a few friends who brew beer on their own. Homebrewed beer right is the absolute best and freshest!

Read my other A to Z posts here, and stay tuned for tomorrow: coffee and cupcakes!


  1. Wow, I think that Portland has just gained a couple of new visitors - myself for the bookshops, my husband for the breweries. We wouldn't see each other we would be off exploring so much. :)

    1. Excellent! Sounds like a fun trip!

  2. Ahh yes,What else does a book lover need

    1. Yes, we have books everywhere in Portland. We are lucky!

  3. That's it, I'm moving to Portland. :) We have one indie bookstore close to us. Thanks for sharing this neat info. I think we need a bookstore brewery around here too.

    Hope you'll visit at http://www.thebusymomsdaily.com/2014/04/blogging-from-to-z-april-challenge-b.html

    1. Why don't you start one up, Cheryl? :)

  4. Oh my gosh. I could spend all day clicking your links, getting lost in them. I didn't know Portland was such a nerd heaven. I mean, I knew it was awesome... many Bakersfieldiens find themselves there afterall!

    i am going to pin this to my Literary Travel and Roadtrips destination board. Add it to my "Julie, you've really got to go!" list. I bet people in Portland would love my book related art, now that I think of it... dreaming of driving North...

    Happy A to Zing!

    Julie Jordan Scott
    A to Z Challenge Participant/2011,12,13,14.....
    The Bold Writer from A to Z

    1. Yes, I suppose it is a nerd heaven!! Love that term! Book-related art sounds like it would fit right in!


  5. Bookstores AND Breweries!! Two of my favorite things. I'm totally there. Happy Z to Z challenge!

  6. Ahhhhh - Powell's!!! One of my favorite places on earth - I could get lost in there for days. I love everything about that place. They have Zines, random art, new AND used books, and helpful and knowledgeable book minions. Fantastic! Cheers! :)

    1. I never have enough time in Powell's. NEVER.

  7. Great list! I'm going to pin it so I can reference on my next trip up to Portland. I'm a huge fan of Edgefield; I've stayed there a couple times, and love it!

    1. Yes, me too--my husband and I are going there in June--can't wait!

  8. Wonderful! So glad to see so many brick and mortar stores still around!

  9. You're going to make me want to move to Portland. :)


    1. I love living here! Thanks for stopping by!