The only authority for all things beer…
It was as if the pearly gates of heaven swung wide open for me when I was given the opportunity to help one of my buddies celebrate his bachelor party in Portland. I know I have my wife to thank here as well. Looking back to my big skiing trip in Whistler Blackcomb the year before, I knew it was most opportune to factor in another ski outing no other than in Bend (only a few hours’ drive away from Portland) at some point during the trip to the Pacific Northwest, home of one of the world’s best craft beers.
Portland is home to many breweries such as Widmer Brothers and Laurelwood Public House (both good spots) and countless brewpubs supporting local brews. Not to mention some incredible bottle shops such as The Belmont Station where they served up some goodies such as Deschutes Abyss and Stone’s Enjoy By IPA on tap in their tasting room. I also got to check out Don Younger’s favorite watering hole, the famous Horse Brass Pub which has a ton of character and interesting people as well as good craft beer on tap.
Once the bachelor party hit full speed, we began our brewery hopping adventure. We hit up Hopworks Urban, a bicycling centric brewpub that makes alot of their own beers and good pizza on the menu, checked out Amnesia close by. Apex was really awesome with a gigantic beer garden serving up incredible beers from all over the country along with an impressive bottle program. Two breweries that I found most impressive during my visit in Portland were:
Cascade Brewing Barrel House (also known as the “Sour House”), holy beejesus, these people know how to make GOOD beer. I am not particularly fond of sours, but these guys can make ’em really good and lots of creativity in those barrels!
And, of course, the legendary Hair of the Dog – lots of wonderful beer came out of this place and continues to do so especially their venerable Hair of the Dog Adam and amazing “Wood” series (barrel aged beers). Most notable experience at Hair of the Dog was drinking a 1994 “Adam Bier” (Batch #3!). It was surreal and set the group back only $50 – split among us which was priceless. I also had some Matt which was very good as well.
After living it up in Portland, a buddy and I drove out to Bend. Beautiful drive there – lots of twists and turns along some amazing greenery. Life couldn’t get any better than that. We checked in at the historic McMenamins hotel (formerly the Old St. Francis school) – awesome place that makes their own beers which was just okay but amazing ambiance especially the hot soaking tub with an open air roof surrounded with custom made mosaic tiles. Amazing shit.
Anyway, I was just FLOORED with the amazing breweries here in little town Bend – first we have one of the country’s oldest craft brewery, Deschutes, that has been around since the 80’s making beer that nobody fully understood, Bone Yard, and 10 Barrel. My buddy and I enjoyed our tour around Deschutes but totally bummed they didn’t serve up Abyss (wrong time of the year) but settled for some fresh Hop Henge Experimental IPA on tap there along with some cool swag. 10 Barrel was just wickedly awesome – love their brewpub with an outdoor fire pit and amazing food n beer menu. Then 10 Barrel IPA was among my favorites there. Then we trekked on over to Boneyard Brewing just before they closed up for the day for some righteous IPA beer. I really liked the Hop Venom IPA. God, I want more of those Bend beers! Lastly, we stopped by the Crux Fermentation Project which is still relatively new. I got to sample lots of their beers and was impressed with their copper vats that were imported from Japan!? This place has promise.
Good times in Portland. Next up in the near future, I hope, will be in San Diego, home of many of my favorite breweries especially west coast style IPAs.
Check out the rest of the photos (below) from the Oregon beer trip!