Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
A favorite spot for kite surfers, Lewis & Clark aficionados, hikers, campers, and members of your Oregon Trail family that survived dysentery, the Gorge is about as Pacific Northwest as it gets outside of sporting an Elliott Smith tattoo and complaining about brunch lines. It's a roaring river separating Oregon and Washington, with towering cliff faces on either side leading into expansive wilderness. While you're here, definitely stop in Hood River, one of the best small beer towns in the US, but even without that little haven there's still plenty to drink
Thunder Island Brewing Co.
515 SW Portage Rd, Cascade Locks, OR 97014
Hearty sandwiches, fresh-from-the-farm seasonal salads, and "beer brewed with adventure" is the name of the game over at Thunder Island Brewing Co., a 2.5-year-old nanobrewery and tasting room about 10 minutes due east of Columbia River Gorge's camper-friendly Eagle Creek Trail. Unlike so many of its hop-dominant West Coast contemporaries, Thunder Island's bill runs the gamut from a strong, puckery sour brown to a biscuity, eminently crushable 4.8% kolsch, each of which is lovingly brewed and best enjoyed at one of the brewery’s gorge-side picnic tables. In the mood for something danker? Never fear -- the guys behind the taps keep more than a few outstanding IPAs on rotation for hophead hikers in need of a bitter fix.
Walking Man Brewing
240 1st St, Stevenson, WA 98648
Washington State's Walking Man Brewing is a mere 15-minute drive from Eagle Creek, down Hwy 30 and over the loftily named (and incredibly beautiful) Columbia River-spanning Bridge of the Gods, which co-starred with Reese Witherspoon and a fox in Wild. Walking Man has called Stevenson home since 2000, when the 17-barrel brewpub began serving artisanal pizza and hopped-up, house-brewed pints to area loggers, local craft hounds, and curious backpackers to great acclaim. Though an exceptional lot of IPAs, pales, and imperials steal the show, creamy stouts, malty Scotch ales, and a particularly exciting barleywine are also worth a taste. And don’t miss the backyard -- the dog-friendly beer garden is as lush and green as whole-cone Cascade hops and twice as intoxicating.
Backwoods Brewing Company
1162 B Wind River Hwy, Carson, WA 98610
Keep traveling east on Washington's scenic Wind River Hwy to Carson, a ridiculously charming logging town that could easily double for Mayberry -- except with enough punch-packing craft beer to send those teetotaling Taylors packing. Backwoods Brewing Co., opened in 2012, is 100% Carson-born and raised, as firmly committed to its community as it is to making great beer. An homage to Northwest hops, big, robust IPAs, pales, reds, and imperials are standard fare here, accompanied by mellow, food-friendly ambers and browns, plus a potent 10% ABV bourbon barrel-aged stout for the chillier months. It also sells a line of beer-infused soaps, balms, and candles made with locally grown hops, all of which might come in handy during the requisite post-brewpub visit to Carson's illustrious geothermal steam bath.