Saturday, May 25, 2013

Beercation: Adventures in Portlandia

As a reward to myself for finally escaping my own personal IT services hell and landing a job more in line with my educational background and passions with the Urban Land Institute NW, I took a solo trip down to Portland, Oregon, to celebrate the start of a new chapter in my life.

It had been several years since I'd been to Portland, so I went down there with the strict intention of trying lots of delicious Portland beer. And I did just that.

Started the day off at Lardo for an incredible pressed pork meatball bahn mi sandwich and a fantastic Upright Brewing #6, which is a rye saison of sorts. Really complex, yet highly drinkable beer.


From there, I walked over to the Deschutes Brewpub in the Pearl District. In addition to all of Deschutes' standard offerings, they have a whole bunch of brewpub-only special brews. I gave the Shifties Pilsner a try and it was fantastic. Great take on the style, very refreshing.

Followed that up with the Deschutes version of the Class of '88 Barleywine, a collaboration between Rogue, North Coast and Deschutes. I was expecting to love it but man, it was really weird even for a barleywine. Way too sweet for my liking and it had an odd lager or pilsner type of backbone to it. It's cool that they were going for something different and the barleywine style allows for lots of creativity in the ingredients, but this one just wasn't quite doing it for me.

Next stop was the 5th Quadrant pub, one of Lompoc's Brewing's neighborhood pubs. Really chill spot with a nice variety of ales and lagers. I wasn't impressed by their IPA offerings, but I rarely am. Not my preference. But the Lompoc Strong Draft (LSD har har) was killer, as were the porter and stout.

Right next door to the 5th Quadrant is Hopworks Urban Brewery, or HUB Brewing, which is very bike-centric and eco-friendly kind of place. Very Portland, but they let me watch Felix school the Blue Jays while I enjoyed a Survival 7 Grain Stout, so it was very cool.

From there, I checked into my cheap, but surprisingly not that crappy motel and then walked over to the renowned Hair of the Dog Brewery. Oh my goodness. Definitely the highlight of the trip. World class beer. I had a sampler of Greg (a squash-based beer), Ruth (their awesome pale ale), Fred (golden belgian ale) and Adam (their killer strong ale). Also had their roasted brussel sprout dish for dinner, which was excellent. Really want to go back to Hair of the Dog like right now.

After that, I walked across town to see the movie "Upstream Color" while enjoying a Breakside Lager because most cinemas in Portland serve beer, which is chill. The movie was captivating and enchanting even though I can never hope to explain it. The soundtrack mixed with the sound and film editing is just utterly immersive.

After the movie, I tried to make it over to Cascade Brewing but I just missed last call. Not like I needed any more beer at that point anyways. I'll have to start there next time I make it down there.

All in all, it was a really fun trip. Had lots of quiet introvert time, which I find myself needing more and more of these days.  Portland, you may be a goofy ass and weird lil' town, but you know your beer, food, and art. I'll be back!

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