WHAT BETTER WAY to enjoy Oregon Craft Beer Month than an al fresco beer garden? Since Portland allows beer sales at food cart pods, I turned to Steven Shomler, author of Portland Beer Stories and Portland Food Cart Stories, to find out which of the 35-plus pods sell suds from a truck, bus, or on-site bar. Narrowing down one dish and one complementary beer is the real discipline, so I offer a pairing at each. Note: Certain carts may be closed and certain beers may not be available during your visit.
Pod Bar at Carts on Foster (SE 52nd & Foster)
Try the Angry Unicorn's signature burger (house-ground beef mixed with bacon and topped with more bacon, gorgonzola, roasted garlic, and cheddar) with Short Snout's Rye Stout to stand up to such a boigah.
Captured Beer Bus at Pod 28 (SE 28th & Ankeny)
Vegans kill for Wolf & Bear's falafel packed with hummus, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, and grilled eggplant with their irresistible zhug hot sauce. Spice it up with Captured by Porches' Buckwheat Hef.
Scout Beer Garden at Tidbit Food Farm (SE 28th Pl. & Division)
Dog Town makes everything in-trailer down to the chipotle mayo that tops the La La Land bacon-wrapped tubesteak. The LA-themed dog's perfect co-star is Pfriem's Blonde IPA. Scout is opening a second spot on July 7 at Zidell Yards (SW Moody by the Ross Island Bridge).
The Hoppy Camper at 23rd & Alberta Food Cart Lot (NE 23rd & Alberta)
Satisfy your inner herbivore and carnivore with Garden Monsters' (who will soon move to Zidell Yards) Paul Bunyan salad topped with grass-fed steak and wash it down with a gold medal-winning Breakside IPA.
The Beer Porch at Kruger's Farm Food Pod (N Lombard & Burr)
Farmfood's Mr. Bestwick really is best: Start with garlic-roasted beer-butt chicken, then add bacon, apple, grated cheddar, and jalapeños. This sando calls for Natian's Handful IRA to boost the beer-brined chicken and temper those peppers.
Thirsty Barn at Rose City Food Park (NE 52nd & Sandy)
The lemongrass beef rolls or (and!) salad rolls from Vivi's Yummy Rolls beg for a grassy Occidental Kölsch.
Blue Room Bar at Cartlandia (SE 82nd & Harney)
With 32 carts and 18 beers and ciders on tap, pairing ops are almost limitless. This one's on you.
Barrio at the Mercado (SE 72nd & Foster)
Pan-Latin sabor. A meaty or veggie tlayuda (think Oaxacan pizza) from Tierra del Sol and a michelada, especially made with Reverend Nat's pineapple-y Tepache, is divine.
Prost! at Mississippi Marketplace (N Mississippi & Skidmore)
Homegrown Smoker slings smoky BBQ that looks meaty but is actually vegan. Pair with a Köstritzer Schwarzbier, which is dark and roasty but surprisingly light bodied.