Friday, August 27, 2010

Beercation: Stop #1 Portland, OR

So it seems that every blog that I read has just vacationed in Portland in the last week or so. Well there is good reason, the weather is traditionally nice in August. And our trip last weekend was no exception.
I knew I was going to like this place before we ever left and I knew I was going to want to come back. We were traveling with another couple and were only Portland for only a day and a half. We had to be at a  wedding in Northern Washington by Saturday.
We arrived pretty late on Wednesday night but also very hungry and for me thirsty. We threw our stuff into the hotel and started our hunt for rations. Portland is a very walkable city so we were soon at our first bar, Henry's Tavern. Nice, upscale place with a good bar area. The beer list was decent with no memorable beers but the food was great, I had fancy hotdog sliders (seriously tiny wieners, tiny buns).
We were on our way to the hotel since everything else seemed to be closed. When a nice business man suggested we try to get a drink on the 30th floor, called the Portland City Grill. Why not and up we went. What a view and a great way to get an idea of what the city looks like.
So the next day was our big day to see the city. We started with a quick walk over the Willamette to check out Hair of the Dog. Unfortunately the don't open for people ready to drink beer at 10:30 am on a Thursday. I'll be back for this one. After a hearty breakfast, we started on our epic brewery / brewpub crawl. Check out the map. These breweries don't necessarily have the best brews in Portland. But this was a good way to see a good handful while still having a nice walk through the city. (For example, I really would have liked to go to the Raccoon Lodge, where Cascade beers are made.)
So we decided to start with the long walk so when we were tired from drinking we would have a much shorter walk home..(Also as a Pre-Face I am not a Hop Head and this is big in the Pacific NW)
Stop#1 Laurelwood  - As we arrived the sun started shining and the two stand out beers here were there award winning Golden Ale and the ESB. Both had nice clean malt bills with a great taste/aroma of NW hops. $10 - 8 tasters.
Stop #2 Old New Lompoc - Just a few blocks north, and has a great patio with hop and grape vines everywhere. Another taster rack, not too impressed with this beer but the LSD was an interesting beer and may be fun to make a homebrew version of.
Stopped by the local farmer's market to taste fresh berries and some cider.
Stop#3 Lucky Labrador - Probably my favorite place on the trip when comparing the beer quality and the atmosphere of the place. People do really bring their dogs and it makes for a neat time. So here we tried a double taster of all 12 of their beers on tap. Most were NW hop bombs but a few I still really enjoyed. I think I had my favorite Bourbon Barrel beer, the Red Baron. It was also nice to taste this beer as it warmed up. This is the first bourbon barrel that the nose wasn't too boozy and truly blended with the beer. And another great ESB.
Stop#4 Bridgeport Brewing - This has more of a restaurant feel and had good food. They had all solid beers, kinda reminds me of a Karl Struass in San Diego. All brewed to style and high quality at that. Again the favorite was the ESB.
Stop#5 Rogue - Probably my other favorite on the crawl. And I knew it would be going in. They had a lot of beers on tap and allowed you to mix match your own samplers. They had a brand new beer just released that was a favorite of the whole day, their Double Chocolate Ale. The Morimoto Soba was quite nice and different.
Stop#6 Deschutes - This was our last brewery stop and that meant dinner time. Which was perfect because this Deschutes location is mostly a restaurant. Nothing new on tap here but I am a big fan of their beers.

Stop #7 Bailey's - just because I was really craving a sour beer. For some reason, they didn't have any Cascade beer. So we went with a nice bottle of Jolly Pumpkin Maracaibo Especial. It was new to me and I have been impressed with everyone of their beers so far.

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