If meetings destinations are judged by the food and drink they have to offer groups (and indeed they are, as the nation's collective palate gets increasingly finicky), Portland should land on the short list for every planner weighing where to host their next event.
"Portland's culinary scene can hold a candle to anywhere else in the world," says Marcus Hibdon, spokesman for Travel Portland. "It's really that good."
And it's always evolving.
New restaurants, breweries, food tours and trend-setting options including supper clubs, urban wineries and whiskey bars make Portland a delicious city that'll have groups coming back for seconds.
King of Beers
Portland boasts more than 50 breweries, making it the most exceptional place for beer lovers to explore in the Pacific Northwest, if not the whole country.
A new member of this growing lineup is Ecliptic Brewing, brought to the City of Roses by John Harris, an Oregon craft brewing icon responsible for creating popular recipes for Bend, Ore.-based Deschutes Brewery, including Mirror Pond, Black Butte Porter and Jubelale.
The brewery offers plenty of space for groups to visit and sample Procyon Pale Ale, Capella Porter and more tasty styles, and it is available for events.
Planners can also call on Brewvana, a tour company that facilitates fun programs complete with tastings and a chance to meet brewers.
"A city with so many breweries can be a bit intimidating to outsiders," Hibdon says. "Fortunately, Brewvana does all the work for you, drawing on its close connections to the city's top brewers to create a one-of-kind experience. Groups will cover a lot of ground in a few hours and try a lot of delicious beers."
Small groups with discerning tastes and an interest in talking shop with some of Portland's best chefs will enjoy a communal meal via the city's increasingly popular supper club scene.
Inspired by time spent in European eateries where kitchen staff play a role in serving diners, Chef Will Preisch created the HoldFast supper club series, which will debut at Kitchen Cru next month and will feature nine courses, wine pairings and interactive mingling with those preparing the meal.
While Chef Katy Millard works toward securing a brick-and-mortar home for her culinary vision, Coquine, she prepares and hosts pop-up supper clubs around town in various locales, including farms and wineries.
And Chef Courtney Sproule's Din Din, which started as a pop-up supper club like Millard's, recently opened a private space.
Din Din provides a fun and festive atmosphere around a multicourse dinner that has a new theme every month, and Sproule says working with groups is "right up our alley."
Customized menus are available, and the setting, which has the necessary audiovisual bells and whistles, is a blank slate for planners' imaginations.