Tonight’s Drinkin: Portland. All of it.

Photo by Steel Brooks, a gen-yoo-wine photographer dude. Whose Iphone photos turn out better than mine.

I am back from a ridiculously awesome weekend visiting buddies and drinking beer in Portland. A lot of beer. Between sample platters and six-packs we drank at home, I think I tried 30 microbrews this weekend. (And some not-so-microbrews.) I’d like to note that I didn’t get all that drunk, either, because I paced myself, and ate much delicious food. Nary a non-organic thing passed my lips, except for donuts and PBR.

July, by the way, is Oregon Craft Beer month, and every single publication I picked up had beer on the cover. Seeing as this is my new adopted state, I’d better start celebrating the local holidays.

Lemme see if I can recap this beer jaunt from memory:

After getting switched around for two hours on the freeways (I knew where I was, so “lost” isn’t the right word) my friend greeted me with a refreshing Leinenkugel Summer Shandy lemon-spiced lager and we kicked back on the porch while I explained that I am from Montana and have never driven in that much traffic in my whole life. Then we grilled burgers and drank Dick’s Brewing ale, which was fine, not super exciting, and the more interesting Bridgeport Brewing triple hopped red ale. At some hazy point me and my cohorts went to the Widmer Brother‘s brewpub and got a sampler of Black IPA, Sharon’s Golden Ale, Himmer Gose Raspberry, X-369 IPA, Drop Top Amber, and Crunchy Dude Ale. They didn’t card us, which I’m young enough to be pleased by, and brought us tasters of the Rotator IPA. That’s what I call customer service. I marveled at the giant brewhouse across the street from the pub.

Hardworking journalism buddies, in front of the Widmer brewery.

Next up we headed to Hopworks Urban Brewery, HUB, a delightful bicycle-themed joint with a happy hour and also handed out free samples. Score. I got the Seven-Grain Stout, (very right, in the photo) which is finished with Stumptown espresso, so it was a great pick-me-up. One of my buddies ordered pretzels and sausage, and holy hell, was that delicious. The pretzels–three of ’em–come fresh and buttery in a stein, served with cheese sauce. We asked for extra cheese sauce. It was a beautiful moment.

The next day, I wandered downtown to unload my wallet at various neat shops and check out the Saturday Market. Rogue Brewing seems to be the only beer vendor at the market. I got the Morimoto Soba buckwheat ale–buttery, delicious–to drink for lunch, a bottle of the Chipotle Ale for later, and a copy of the Rogue monthly paper. Yeah. A brewery with a PAPER. They also have Rogue-brand shoes and shirts and cheese. I’m pretty sure Rogue will take over America, and I’m fine with that. And hopeful that they need a journalist to edit their paper.

Lessee, what did I drink next…Ah, yes. I believe Saturday afternoon involved more Summer Shandy and cracking open the Rogue Chipotle ale, which was amazing. Tasted like I’d eaten something spicy before taking a swig of beer.

Oh, and I had a Miller Lite, because I got my hair cut at Bishop’s, which gives you a free beer while they do your hair. That is possibly the coolest thing ever. My hair is awesome. We also grabbed some MacTarnahan‘s amber ale to go with dinner. Then I went to a punk show at the East End and had an obligatory PBR. You can get PBR tallboys for $2.50 in Portland, same as Missoula. I am deeply in love.

And lest ye think that Saturday was my last beer-y day, I kept it up on Sunday, too. With breakfast, I had some leftover MacTarnahan’s that we hadn’t finished the night before. Excellent motivation for garage sale-ing. With lunch at Montage, I got the Peach Over–a Rainier blended with peach Schnapps and garnished with orange peel. Mostly ordered it to be deliberately tacky, but it was a nice, sweet accompaniment to the incredibly rad spicy cajun mac ‘n cheese I ordered.

Then, because my time in PDX was drawing to a close and I’d only been to two breweries (shameful) we went to Deschutes‘ downtown brewpub and tried the Sagebrush Pilsner (ooh, a pub exclusive!) and the Black Butte XXIII, a 10.8 percent barrel-aged porter with chocolate, peppers and oranges. For all those spices and flavors, I mostly just tasted a whiskey flavor. Which was just fine by me. So there I was, sipping microbrews while watching the Timbers game, which is possibly the most Portlandy thing to do ever. Excellent.

So, after a bit of sobering up and grocery shopping, I headed east. I’ll be back to Portland soon. Three breweries down, many more to go!



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