It’s indisputable that traveling by rail is a romantic ideal in a time which favors efficiency and speed over comfort and class. Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train runs up and down the West Coast, making for the perfect excuse to take a nice relaxed, leisurely trip for once.
Of course, you’ll want to take advantage of the cities you go through so get your walking shoes on and stop by these breweries all in walking distance from the Seattle and Portland Amtrak stations.
Elysian Fields || Just a five-minute walk away from the station, this location of Elysian Brewery is ideal for if you are short on time but still want a taste of Seattle beer nearby. Elysian Brewery knows Seattle beer well, having opened in 1996 on Capitol Hill. This SODO location has 20 taps, 18 of them plugged with house beers, plus a food menu offering pub-style favorites to fill you up before you continue your journey.
Pike Brewing Co. || If you’ve never been or even if you have, Pike Place Market is a destination that is worth stopping by, found exactly 1 mile from the station. It has everything — a crumpet shop, a map store, fresh produce, a variety of opportunities to pick up a memento from the trip and, of course and most importantly, beer. Charles and Rose Ann Finkel are legends in the beer industry opening the third microbrewery in the city in 1989. Try their classic Pike IPA which was created when IPAs weren’t everywhere like they are today.
Cloudburst Brewing || On the northern end of Pike Place Market (about half a mile farther), you can stroll along the waterfront on your way to this brewery. Steve Luke, the brewer behind Elysian Brewery’s Space Dust IPA and Gourdgia On My Mind, opened his own joint back in 2015. Since then it has become known as a place for hopheads and experimental brew lover to go and find top quality beers.
Seapine Brewing || Heading south, train travelers can visit this SODO brewing haven, just two miles straight south of the station which you can get to quickly and cheaply on the Link Light Rail. The cozy taproom welcomes all walks of life — including children and fur babies. Beers range widely here, from the full-bodied and roasty Sea Witch stout to the Ur-Pils, icy cold lager served in a big, thick bier stein.
Ascendant Beer Co. || What used to be known as PINTS Brewing has since been rebranded to Ascendant Brewing Company with less of a focus on English-style ales as of this past September — and conveniently located three blocks from Union Station. Now they’re focusing on smaller batches and more experimental brews. Head on over here on a Friday night if you’re around, and catch some live music with your pint.
Wayfinder Beer || A century-old brick warehouse, with nearly 9,000 square feet of space, was turned into what is now this brewery. Opened in 2016, it’s still relatively new to the Portland beer scene and located just a mile-and-a-half away from the station. Wayfinder offers German-style ales and pilsners along with an excellent menu filled with pub classics and dishes like salmon and a pork belly banh mi sandwich.
Upright Brewing || A 15-minute walk across the Broadway Bridge will get you to this stop, best known for its farmhouse-style beer inspired by the brews from France and Belgium. Upright recently remodeled and upgraded its taproom which expanded the space and the taps so there is now 13 house beers available on tap, with a crowler machine in the works.
Ex Novo Brewing Co. || Three more blocks on foot will get you to this a brewery, which opened in 2014 and made it its goal to donate 100 percent of its profits to charity. Ex Novo donates to four different charities on the regular, now with two Oregon locations and one opening up in New Mexico later this year. Hit up their Portland location for some seasonal brews like a full line of rotating hazy IPAs typically seen in can to take back to the train with you.