I’m closing out my fourth and last week of Portland unemployment tonight by seeing Lucero at the Wonder Ballroom. I’ll be sad to leave Portland, but also I really need something to do all day besides hang out at coffeeshops and breweries, blowing my tax refunds. Aside from a few memorable evenings drinking whiskey with another journalism school friend in town, I mostly spent this time bicycling around and drinking fancy beer by myself. Pro tip: I found I couldn’t handle hoppy or dark beers when I was getting a lot of exercise at the same time. I drank a big, soporific IPA at Lompoc and getting the 60 blocks back up to my apartment was miserable. It might also be that spring is approaching, but pales and pilsners are the only things I’m interested in.
Some stand-out beer experiences from the last few weeks:
Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA: A friend and I stopped in Deschutes on St. Paddy’s Day after drinking whiskey, so I would probably have enjoyed just about anything at that point, but I remember particularly liking the fresh, citrusy, not-overly-hoppy Chainbreaker. I should try it again.
Bayern Killarney Irish Red at Hawthorne Hophouse: I wandered in on a Sunday, and they say something about Sundays makes a body feel alone. Nothing tasted better than a pint of smooth, sweet hometown beer, and the only Bayern brew I’ve never had before. Also, paid $4.75 for a pint of something that’s a $6 growler fill at Bayern. Sigh.
Session-style 3 percent Little Dog ale at Hair of the Dog Brewery: Drinking alone has taught me to appreciate session ales, because if I learned anything in college, it’s to instinctively order the most alcohol percentage for the least amount of money. But it turns out slamming back 9 or 10 percent stouts is generally a bad idea when you’re trying to linger over a pint and read the latest issue of the Mercury.
Bike Route Rye at Lucky Labrador: I ordered an imperial pint, and asked the bartender, who had long hair and wore a black leather vest, if I could have a cookie, and he said, “Sure. My till’s broken right now, so don’t worry about it.” Astonished at my good fortune, I enjoyed both the enormous peanut-butter cookie and the refreshing rye for free! I went back up to the bar afterwards when I saw their till was working, and the bartender waved me off, saying it was fine. I left him a nice tip.
Fat Scotch Ale at Silver City Brewery in Silverdale, Washington: I come from the land of Kettlehouse Coldsmoke and Big Sky Heavy Horse, so I’m fairly finicky about scotch ales. I can’t say Silver City’s was quite as thick and rich as Coldsmoke, but it was tasty, dark and finished crisp. You might ask why I found myself at a small brewery three hours north of Portland and an hour west of Seattle, and that’s because I’ll shortly be working there for the Central Kitsap reporter. I’m stoked.
Hibiscous Hefeweizen at Fish Brewing in Olympia, Washington: While driving south on I-5 back to Portland, I stopped in downtown Olympia to check it out and get dinner and a beer. I was impressed with the sweet, fruity hef and the massive portion of shepherd’s pie fresh from the oven. Also, between Olympia and Portland and preparing to spend a lot of time in Seattle, my head is hurting from all the hipsteryness and I can’t believe I’m getting used to paying $2 for a cup of drip coffee and $5 for a pint of beer and having to separate out recyclables. I called my dad just to hear somebody say “ain’t” and “I reckon.”
PBR tallboys at the Know and Dante’s: Sometimes, a lady just wants a PBR while she watches some punk bands. I saw Fucking Dyke Bitches, Agatha, Dogjaw and Forsorcerers at the Know–that place is so cheap and awesome, I want it to be my home– and Hunx and his Punx a few days later. It was a great week in gay rock music (literally) and sweet relief to find music venues will still serve PBR for $2.50 or less. Also, the bartender at Dante’s recognized my Total Fest shirt and turned out to be a former Missoulian, so he gave me a PBR on the house. Aw.
So, I better get back to packing up my car. I’m sipping a New Belgium Dig Pale Ale whilst I work. Simple, affordable, tasty. Here’s to more beer adventures!