Portland aka Beerland
Eric is a 41 year old motorcycle (KTM to be specific) enthusiast, who a few years ago, road all the way to the most northern part of Alaska and back. He also works as a microbiologist for one of the large local breweries, Widmer. Debbie works for a pharmaceutical company. Portland is a rather quiet city that doesn't have the "big city" feel to it. The people are very "outdoorsy", and the city host a number of parks, including North America's largest suburban park.
While in Portland, we walked the streets of the Pearl District, which has streets of swanky shops and tiny cafes. We tried visiting the Art Museum, but found it closed on Mondays. So instead we caught the Street Car (a tram) to the far end of the city, and walked for what seemed like forever, until we found Forest Park (the largest park I mentioned earlier). The park was beautiful, and we kept an eye out for the giant salamanders that apparently live there, but didn't see any :(
That evening Eric took us to Widmer Brewery's restaurant. He gave us a good education on the beers they make, the brewing process, and the role of the microbiologist in it all. After a delicious dinner (with staff discount!) we then took a private tour through the huge brewery complex. The beer is made locally, but sent all around America and exported to Japan. Eric took us into each of the different rooms, from where the barley is delivered in sacs to the boxs stacked on crates ready to be trucked out. Eric's office looked like a real science laboratory with beakers and bunsen burners, ready to find out what is fermenting and what shouldn't be. After being showed this brewery, Eric took us to The Green Dragon, another local brewery where they produce Buckman and Rouge. Here we tasted a few more, including the nasty sour beers which are all the rage over here. (If you haven't worked it out already, Oregon is the brewery capital of America).