As mentioned previously, Jules and I have been educating ourselves about the wonderful world of beer in recent times. The many Belgian beer cafes in Japan have certainly introduced us to a myriad of flavours and styles. However once becoming aware of our upcoming trip to Portland, an American friend enviously suggested that we must visit some of the many microbreweries that have become a feature of this great city. Certainly the hot summer weather further encouraged us to seek out some of these popular watering holes. We didn’t have to look too far, with something like 170 breweries in and around the city there was plenty of choice. Deschutes Brewery, Rogue Ales and Pelican Pub & Brewery were just three that we sampled during our stay and they all produced a wonderful range of thirst quenching beverages. A great idea to help us in our choice was a ‘taster tray’, where for a small price you could buy a selection of beers from their extensive collection to be presented to you in a series of small glasses. After selecting a drop that best suited your mood, you could move up to a half or full pint glass. Similar to wines, the brewers had nicely categorised their product (seasonal, dark, creamy, Belgian style etc.) and in some cases they had recommended the appropriate brew to match the food on the menu, which we thought was very civilised! They had also devised some terrific names for their beers conjuring up some imaginative images to tempt the palette Chainbreaker White, Sagebush Classic Pils, Mirrorpond Pale Ale and Bachelor Bitter to name just a few. Not surprisingly we found beer sampling to be a popular pastime amongst the locals as well as the tourists and I must say that the quality of the ales were consistently good wherever we went. From this experience we contemplated how successful the microbrewing industry could be in Australia, where the major commercial breweries tend to rule. Hopefully, someone will eventually pick up on the idea, providing a unique and enjoyable niche industry. It certainly works for Portland and we will take away some great memories of our summer days here enjoying what the local breweries had to offer.