This weekend I went over the hill for work in Portland - unfortunately the Bend Beer Blog isn't quite turning a profit yet - but made sure to sample the local brew scene as much as possible.
If there's a better beer town in the world than Portland, I'd like to know where it is. That being said, here are some thoughts from the final weekend in February:
Mt. Hood Brewing Co.
Located in Government Camp, I swung by the Ice Axe Grill, home of the Mt. Hood Brewing Co., and grabbed a growler of their Hogsback Oatmeal Stout for later consumption. It turned out to be a great choice for a wet and cold night in Portland. Just the right combination of oatmeal and coffee tones. My only complaint was that the beer was a little flat, but I'll write that off to the growler.
Talking to their barkeep, the Ice Axe IPA is the brewery's signature beer. I had a sample after I had already ordered the growler and really enjoyed it. It was refreshing almost, nothing like the over-the-top, in-your-face IPAs that seem to have become popular in the Pacific Northwest the past few years.
Just a good overall experience. The pub is also right off U.S. 26, making it a quick and easy stop to grab a growler on the way to or on the way back from Portland.
Ninkasi Brewing Company
These guys may be based out of Eugene, but they own Portland. Ninkasi is everywhere. We meandered from ultra-cool Northwest Portland, to hipster joints on NE Alberta and Ninkasi was always on tap. This brewery has captured Oregon's palate through less-than traditional means. Ninkasi still doesn't own a brewpub and the only bottles you can buy are in 22 ounces. But their kegs are everywhere. What a great concept. Focus all your energy, resources and money on the beer itself.
Terminal Gravity Brewing
You gotta love the little brewery that could out of Enterprise. I always try and get local beers whenever I travel. If I'm in Portland, I'm looking for a brew from Hopworks or Alameda I've never tried. In Kansas, show me that Buffalo Sweat Stout from Tallgrass Brewing Co. But if I can't find something new, it's nice to have that old reliable Terminal Gravity IPA to fall back on.
On the things that go well with beer, but aren't entirely beer-related front:
- Next time you're in Portland, go eat at the Grilled Cheese Grill on 11th & Alberta. Yep, it's all grilled cheese sandwiches. I had the Moondog, a grilled cheese masterpiece that included provolone, hard salami, pepperoni, olives and peppers. They're open until 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
- Big thanks to the bike shop Bike Commuter in Sellwood for turning over a flat tire in record time. Cool little space - it used to be an antique shop - in the always fun Sellwood area. If you're looking for a commuting bike, check this place out. Also, there's a nice little wine shop next door too.