Lenora has the Mocha Porter.
I settle on the Château Rogue Single Malt Ale with floral hops and a slightly sweet aftertaste. We nurse our beers at a sidewalk picnic table until the patchy sunshine gives way to rain. Fortunately, we're within dashing distance of Powell's City of Books, the grand dame of independent bookstores, with more than 1 million new and used volumes.
After an hour, we've browsed up a thirst.
The tiny Tugboat Brewing Co. is tucked away on a downtown side street. It is as different from the Rogue pub as a pilsner is from a stout.
Where Rogue is busy and a bit overwhelming, Tugboat has just six house beers on tap and a chatty bartender to guide our choices. The brew pub specializes in British-style ales, but its forte is its cozy ambience, with book-lined walls and wooden, lamp-lighted library tables.
Nixing plans for a brew-pub dinner, Lenora lobbies for Vindahlo, an Indian restaurant featuring Northwest ingredients. We feast on roasted pumpkin samosas with fresh mint chutney, saag paneer with house-made cheese, fresh spinach and tomato masala, and tender, organic lamb braised in coconut milk, chilies and curry leaves.
Like any self-respecting Portland eatery, Vindahlo has Oregon beers on tap. We order a hoppy, citric Double Mountain India Pale Ale, brewed in Hood River, Ore., and an amber ale from Eugene's Oakshire Brewing Co.
The next day we achieve Beervana.
First, the requisite coffee, from the Blue Kangaroo, my neighborhood roastery. Then a long ramble through Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge on the Willamette River, Portland's east-west divide. After walking up a thirst, we head to Hopworks Urban Brewery to quench it.
The 2-year-old Hopworks is the quintessential Portland brewery: Its ales are crafted from organically grown ingredients in an eco-friendly building. It even has a traveling bike bar: a locally built cargo bicycle that holds two kegs beneath an inlaid wood bar.
The beer itself is so enticing we order a sampler for the table: oversized shot glasses of all six of Hopworks' regular ales plus four seasonals, or one-offs. Our friendly waitress throws in a bonus — cask-conditioned versions of two of the beers. "They're all organic, so they're good for you," she assures us as she sets down the tray.
In a town where brewmasters are rock stars (albeit understated, Portland rock stars), Hopworks owner and brewer Christian Ettinger is Elvis. He makes beers to swoon over. Lenora favors a seven-grain stout made with Stumptown Hairbender espresso (that coffee thing again). I am intrigued by the Secession Black IPA, a dark ale that tastes like a pale one. Jim is looking rhapsodic over the Gold Medal-winning regular IPA, especially the cask-conditioned version, an unfiltered, unpasteurized ale with no added carbonation.
That night over dinner at Alameda Brewhouse in the city's northeast quadrant, we order vegetarian burgers (made with the brewer's spent grain) and down three fine examples of very different beers: a single-hop pale ale, an unusual Belgian-style IPA and a porter.
"How many breweries does Portland have?" Jim asks on the way to the airport.
"Forty," I tell him.
"We've barely dented them!" he says.
I know he'll be back.