Beers Made By Walking Oregon Hikes in Portland, Bend, and Eugene

Matt Wagoner in Forest Park during a BMBW Hike
Matt Wagoner in Forest Park during a BMBW Hike

Back in 2011 when Eric Steen was living in Colorado and teaching at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs he launched the first hikes that was part of the initial Beers Made By Walking program. When he returned to Portland the following year he expanded this program to include our state of Oregon and our neighbors to the north, Washington State.

Now five years later Steen is growing his BMBW Empire. This past month BMBW traveled east to the state of North Carolina for hike that was hosted in conjunction with All About Beer Magazine and its World Beer Festival in Raleigh. The concept at BMBW is quite simple and one that can be embraced wherever one is located. BMBW invites brewers to go on nature hikes and make beer inspired by plants found on the trail.

BMBW Hike with Eric Steen, Coalition Brewing, Burnside Brewing and Matt Wagoner in Forest Park
BMBW Hike with Eric Steen, Coalition Brewing, Burnside Brewing and Matt Wagoner in Forest Park

Since 2011, BMBW have worked with over 90 breweries in Oregon, Colorado, North Carolina, and Washington. These hiking and tasting events act as educational and fundraising programs for environmental organizations in the regions served.

After going on a few BMBW hikes in Portland’s expansive Forest Park, each hike is an excellent way to learn about what lies in the largest urban forest in the US while getting outside for some quality exercise. With over 80 miles of trails in Forest Park, a new adventure awaits.

Matt Wagoner leading a BMBW hike in Forest Park
Matt Wagoner leading a BMBW hike in Forest Park

Here in Portland BMBW partners up with the Forest Park Conservancy. Over the past few years these hikes have been led by the knowledgeable, informative and homebrewer, Matt Wagoner. From our adventures on a few of BMBW hikes Wagoner taught the group many interesting facts about the local terrain. Hikes in the early spring saw many Salmon Berries, as these are one of the earliest flowering plants in the park. We also ran across numerous plants that also happen to be Oregon’s State Flower, the wild Oregon Grape. This plant is common along many miles of the 30-mile long Wildwood Trail.

Oregon Grape in Forest Park during BMBW
Oregon Grape in Forest Park during BMBW

When it comes to trees in Forest Park there are many but if one wants to find an old growth tree trek farther north. Steen’s favorite tree, Western Red Cedar, is one that is a great resource for brewing. Its tips offer a great piney resin flavor and even the trees bark can be used in the brewing process.

As the 2015 BMBW season is now upon us, this year’s Oregon hikes will take place in Bend/Central Oregon, the Eugene area, and in Portland’s Forest Park. Each hike is free and open to the public. A few local brewers who must create a hike-inspired beer later this summer accompany hikers on these excursions. These nature-based beers serve as drinkable, landscape portraits of the trails that are walked. In the late summer and fall, the beers are served at special tapping events throughout Oregon, and the proceeds benefit the environmental organizations that lead the hikes.

Reverend Nat's Hard Cider treat after at BMBW in Forest Park
Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider treat after at BMBW in Forest Park

Below is a list of hikes for the upcoming season:

Portland Hikes in Forest Park
Beers Made By Walking has partnered with Portland’s Forest Park Conservancy for an ongoing series of monthly hikes with brewers in Forest Park, the largest forested in-city park in the United States. Each month, brewers explore a new trail and create beer inspired by the identified plants. Hike registration goes live one week before each hike. The remaining hikes in the series include:

June 13, 9am – 12pm – Register Here– Springville Hill with Ecliptic Brewing and Hopworks Urban Brewery

July 17, 12pm – 3pm – Register Here – Cascade Views with The Commons Brewery, Hopworks Urban Brewery, and Upright Brewing

August 22, 9am – 12pm – Register Here – Balch Creek with 10 Barrel Brewing, Hopworks Urban Brewery, and Widmer Brothers Brewing

Sept 18, 12pm – 3pm – Register Here – Ancient Forest Preserve with Hopworks Urban Brewery and Humble Brewing

Wildwood Trail in Forest Park during BMBW
Wildwood Trail in Forest Park during BMBW

Bend and Central Oregon Hikes
BMBW has teamed up again with the Oregon Natural Desert Association in Bend to host a series of three hikes in past and present wilderness proposal areas. Brewers attending hikes include Crux Fermentation Project, Worthy Brewing, and Deschutes Brewery. The first hike is coming up on Wednesday, May 20th. Registration for hikes opens one month before the hike date. Please see details about each hike on the registration page.

May 20, 9am – 2pm – Register Here – Scout Camp Hike with Crux

June 12, 9am – 2pm – Register Here – Badlands Hike with Worthy Brewing

July 24, 8am – 5pm – Register Here – Black Mountain Hike with Deschutes Brewery

Eric Steen leading a BMBW Hike in Central Oregon (photo credit Deschutes)
Eric Steen leading a BMBW Hike in Central Oregon (photo credit Deschutes)

Eugene Hikes
After working with Eugene-area breweries for three years BMBW is pleased to team up with McKenzie River Trust (MRT) to launch the first Eugene-focused Beers Made By Walking program. MRT will lead three hikes with six breweries and one cidery. Hike registration goes live approximately one month before the hike date, and the first hike is on June 4.

June 04, 6-8pm – Register here – Berggren Watershed Conservation Area with Claim 52 Brewing, Elk Horn Brewery, Falling Sky Brewing, and Viking Braggot Company

June 27 – Register here – During the Living River Celebration on Green Island with Agrarian Ales and Oakshire Brewing

July 30, 6-8pm – Register here – Hagen’s Confluence Farm on Fergguson Creek with Plank Town Brewing and WildCraft Cider Works

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About Forest Park Conservancy:
The Forest Park Conservancy protects and fosters the ecological health of Forest Park, maintains and enhances the park’s extensive trails network, and inspires community appreciation and future stewardship of the splendor of this iconic, urban wilderness as a gift for generations.

About Oregon Natural Desert Association:
Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) exists to protect, defend and restore Oregon’s high desert. Our vision is to see millions of acres of beautiful and ecologically vital public land permanently protected, home to diverse populations of wildlife, and available for people to enjoy forever. Working in partnership with more than 4,000 members and supporters, ONDA is the only group dedicated exclusively to the conservation of Oregon’s high desert rivers and landscapes.

About McKenzie River Trust:
Since 1989, The McKenzie River Trust has worked collaboratively with willing landowners to protect clean, free-flowing rivers, plentiful salmon runs, and vibrant farms and forests that provide livelihoods and habitat. Our conservation portfolio includes over 4,000 acres of floodplains, wetlands, oak woodlands, and working farms and forests in eight different watersheds across our region. Using a non-regulatory approach to land conservation, we take on the responsibility of ensuring that the land and its conservation values will be protected forever. For more information about the McKenzie River Trust, visit