Portland Paradise – Part 1

February 8th, 2009 · 7 Comments · Beer Travels, Oregon Breweries

Lots to choose from at Baileys Taphouse

Lots to choose from at Bailey’s Taphouse

A trip to Portland is always a pleasure, and when Jeanne and I hit the town this past weekend it turned out to be one of my best visits ever. We were looking for a weekend getaway to relax, and after finding a $99/night deal at a swanky new place called the Nines in downtown Portland, our minds were made up.

After checking in at the hotel on Friday night, we drove over to Hopworks Urban Brewery in the southeast part of the city. I’d previously tried just their HUB Lager, and I had been looking forward to visiting for quite some time. The place was hopping, but we were able to grab two seats at the bar. The place is pretty big, and it is very comfortable and relaxing. Not too upscale, and not even close to being a dive. Just a nice place to hang out and grab some food/beers. We split a sampler platter, which offered small samples of all of the current beers they had on tap. Highlights were their IPA, Doppelbock, Stout, Abominable Winter Ale and Sasquatch Strong Ale. All of the beers were pretty above average, with the exception of their Belgian Apple Bier – that one didn’t quite hit the spot for either of us. The BBQ chicken pizza we ordered was also fantastic. Overall, HUB ranked up there with some of the other great Portland breweries I’ve been to, and I would gladly return! One note to the bartender filling growlers in front of us: STOP WASTING SO MUCH BEER WHEN YOU FILL YOUR GROWLERS!!!! We watched this guy fill 3 or 4 growlers, and he impatiently just let it overflow (quite a bit) to fill, rather than use a tube or be patient and let it settle. That’s just wrong. Make the people wait a little longer and stop wasting beer.

Saturday found us waking up with a walk over to the Pearl Bakery for some outstanding croissants (the almond croissant was especially tasty) and some cappucinos. I’d never been in Powell’s Books before, which was just a block away from the bakery, and we headed over there next. If you haven’t been before…this place is huge. You could get lost in books for hours here, and we just about did. But, we pulled ourselves away and walked around the Pearl district and poked our head into a few shops here and there. Then, we pulled up a stool at the still shiny Deschutes Portland Brew Pub. After years of having no pub in Portland, Deschutes finally opened up this spot last year, and I’m definitely a fan. In addition to their usual lineup of quality beers, there are several seasonal and experimental beers developed and brewed on-site exclusively for the Portland pub, which is what we were excited to try. The first one was called Big Red Oak. This was essentially an Imperial version of their Cinder Cone Red Ale, which is then aged in Syrah and Cabernet wooden casks. This big beer was outstanding, with a dominant base of caramel malts mixed with citrus hops and just a bit of oak and dark fruit. It was incredibly smooth, and I’d never guess that it would approach its ABV of 9.8% (dangerous…).  Next up was the Red Chair IPA, which was a medium bodied IPA with good citrus/pine hop flavors and light bready malts. It was very drinkable and not very bitter. Last up for us was the Maple Gold, which is a Golden Ale brewed with an experimental hop strain exclusive to Deschutes. It had more than enough hop presence for the style, but the flavor was a bit soapy for my liking.

Next up on our agenda was a relaxing 75 minute massage, which was heavenly. If you have never had a serious massage before, do yourself a favor and book one. I’ll get into the rest of the trip in another post tomorrow (I need some sleep). But, it included visits to Lucky Lab NW, Bailey’s Taproom, Higgins Restaurant, Whole Foods (solid beer selection), Cascade Brewing/Raccoon Lodge and John’s Market Place.

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7 Comments so far ↓

  • Kevin Davey

    Hopworks was “hopping”! I’m glad you point out the endless feud between bartender and foam. What a waste. I’ve heard of brewers redirecting the tap drain to a bucket and showing the bartenders the next day how much profit loss in a Saturday night can be.

  • Patrick

    Heh. Most bars I’ve been to let the growler overflow when filling it. My guess is the half pint or so they lose isn’t really worth worrying about. It’s probably more valuable to business for the bartender to serve other customers than babysit a growler.

  • Kaiser

    Patrick – you didn’t see how much beer this particular guy was wasting. Definitely more than 1/2 a pint per growler. And while a little spillage is bound to happen sometimes, there is no excuse to not use a tube and lessen the foam. Not exactly time consuming.

  • Portland Paradise - Part 2

    […] you missed Part 1, Jeanne and I took a trip down to Portland this past weekend and started off with visits to Hopworks […]

  • Elvis

    The folks at Belmont Station told me they won’t fill growlers b/c they waste beer. They’ll fill mason jars, but no growlers.

    I thought HUB’s winter beer was outstanding. Glad you liked Descutes. I went when they first opened and thought it too sterile, plus they weren’t brewing beer there yet. Need to make another trip

  • Portland Paradise – Part 3

    […] out Part 1 and Part 2 of my Portland trip if you haven’t seen […]

  • Seattle Beer News visits Portland Paradise

    […] Portland Paradise – Part 1 begins with a visit to Hopworks Urban Brewery, where he and his companion enjoy several beers, including the IPA, Doppelbock, Stout, Abominable Winter Ale and Sasquatch Strong Ale, but have some advice for the bartender: STOP WASTING SO MUCH BEER WHEN YOU FILL YOUR GROWLERS!!!! We watched this guy fill 3 or 4 growlers, and he impatiently just let it overflow (quite a bit) to fill, rather than use a tube or be patient and let it settle. That’s just wrong. […]

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