BrewCycle Portland now has its own first-rate nanobrewery
You could easily stroll by Portland’s smallest craft brewery without noticing it—that is, until you witness a 15-passenger covered bicycle emerge from its garage-like entrance.
Siblings Chris and Andrea Lins operate BrewCycle Tours on Flanders Street, using the space as the departure point for the spirited pedal tours that run year-round but launch as often as four times daily in peak summer season. Andrea handles the company’s tour operations, including fair-weather BrewBarge excursions on the Willamette River aboard pedal-powered pontoon boats.
Chris and brewmaster Greg Passmore oversee BackPedal Brewing Co. (1425 NW Flanders St, 971-400-5950, backpedalbrewing.com), the beer side of the business, which opened in 2015. In this compact but festive space, the company crafts its own distinct and delicious beer. The space doubles as a laid-back brewpub that’s well worth a visit, whether or not you’re partaking of a tour.
With a 3½-barrel system tucked in back, the compact operation plays little brother to the Pearl’s several larger-scale brew houses. Many of the brewery’s ales and IPAs, including Blood Orange Blonde and Strawberry Sunset, incorporate fresh-fruit purees. Seven taps are dedicated to in-house beers, and another seven feature guest ales, such as Boneyard’s Triple IPA, which at 11.5 ABV is served in a petite, chalice-style glass rather than a pint.
“We plan to brew more winter beers and darks soon, and hopefully people will just keep enjoying us as a place to hang out,” says Chris, in anticipation of the cooler months ahead. He’s currently developing an Irish-style Red Druid beer.
There’s a daily 3–5 p.m. happy hour (all day on Wednesdays), when all BackPedal pints cost a mere $4. What are those big cans along the wall? These are “crowlers,” 32-ounce cans that you can fill from the tap for $9—they’re perfect for taking along on a boat, camping trip, or anywhere that lugging a glass growler isn’t practical. The brewery serves a few tasty snacks, such as chai masala popcorn and Portland-based Conundrum Trail Mix, but you’re also welcome to bring outside food.
Relaxed and friendly with knowledgeable bartenders, BackPedal offers a first-rate beer-drinking experience on a refreshingly small scale. These days, that’s kind of a big deal. –Michaela Bancud | Photos by Ashley Anderson