Greetings from Portland, OR! Sorry about the lack of posting. Last year, at the condo where I stay, there was wireless internet I could steal and a cable hook up downstairs that I could use, but this year everyone has their wireless protected and I can’t get the hook up to work.
So after a very nice 3 mile run (it’s only 57 degrees here!) I’ve come over to Starbucks this morning to catch up with my BFF, the internet.
What have I been up to? It’s been a pretty busy 2 days. My flight left NYC at 8pm on Friday. When I got to the gate at 7pm the plane still wasn’t there, so I didn’t really have high hopes of leaving on time, but the plane arrived around 7:15 and we were up in the air by 8:20. We actually made it to Portland almost a hour early! Which was great but also bad because my family wasn’t there to get me. But they eventually came for me.
Saturday morning I was up pretty early (jet lag!) and after breakfast at 8:30 (my grandparents eat breakfast at 8:30, lunch at 1, and dinner at 6 every single day) we headed to Whole Foods to buy me some food to eat.
When we came back to the condo there were model boat races happening on the lake so my grandfather and I walked over to check them out.
There wasn’t a very big turn out (it was raining), but it was nice to stand out there and watch for a bit.
After an early lunch my aunt picked me up and we headed into Portland proper to go on the Brew Bus tour. The tour met in the lobby of the Double Tree Hotel and immediately on arriving at the hotel I realized I had left my license in my other bag. I was pretty devastated since I was so excited to try the beers, but I thought I’d play it by ear and see what happened. Luckily I didn’t end up needing my license any where we went!
So you’re probably wondering what the Brew Bus is. Well, it’s a tour of Portland done by stopping at different breweries. The actual bus is a school bus.
And the tour is owned and run by this really funny guy named Jim.
The tour had a very favorable male/female ratio, the only women were me, my aunt, and a women celebrating her 50th birthday. The rest were guys, mostly in their 20s. Most of the beers were had were very hoppy since the Portland area actually produces 40% of the world’s hops.
Ok, on to the breweries.
First stop was Hopworks Urban Brewery which is an organic brewery.
This was the only brewery where we got a formal tour.
One of the many cool things about Hopworks was that not only are they organic, they also try to be as green and sustainable as possible.
They have a restaurant upstairs and they recycle all the grease as biodiesel, among many other green initiatives.
I thought the beers at Hopworks were good, not great, but good. We had the hub lager which I thought was very bitter, but still very light. The crosstown pale ale was not at all strong. The Evelyn Sunshine was my favorite, I didn’t like it at all at first, I thought it had a very basil-y, earthy smell, but the more I drank the more I really liked it. We ended with the seven-grain survival stout which was interesting. It was a super dark beer and smelled and tasted just like coffee to me. It’s actually made of 7-grains (like quinoa) and they call it the survival stout because with all the grains it would be all you need to survive.
After Hopworks we headed to Amnesia Brewery where we just sat outside and drank.
At Amnesia we had the ESB, which was ok. The alt, which I liked but didn’t love. The desolation IPA, which I thought was great, possibly my favorite beer of the day. And finally the copasetic IPA, which was good, but not as good as the desolation.
The drive between some of the breweries could be more than 10 minutes so along the way Jim pointed out landmarks or told interesting stories about Portland.
Because there were so many (eventually drunk) guys, the atmosphere could get a little crazy. There were a lot of jokes about strip clubs (even a vegan one) and nuts.
Our third brewery was MacTarnahan’s Tap Room. I guess I should take a second to say that we were drinking very small samplers at all these places so I had a nice buzz, but wasn’t drunk.
This is the only picture I took at MacTarnahan’s.
My memory gets somewhat blurry here, we definitely had the apricot ale, which was better than I expected but I still can’t imagine drinking a lot of it, the Haywire Hefeweizen, which was good, the Amber ale which I’m just not a fan of ambers in general, and another one I can’t remember.
We also had the rosemary garlic fries, which, in my opinion, were not very good fries and were missing the rosemary and the garlic. My aunt and I also split the chipotle chicken tacos which were good, but very greasy and flavorless unless you got a bite of the chipotle sauce.
Finally we headed to Lucky Labrador Brewery where we again just sat outside. It was a really cool space.
At Lucky Labrador we had the Cather in the Rye (my favorite name), possibly the ALT (I’m starting to doubt I had the ALT at Amnesia…irony, right there), the Super Dog IPA, and something else. I really liked one of the IPAs, maybe it was the Super Dog IPA.
We stumbled upon another brewery tour at the Lucky Labrador, but this one was a brew cycle tour.
You can’t really tell from the picture but each of those seats is a bicycle and that’s how you get around. I want to do that next time I’m here. Burn off some of the carbs! Although I doubt anyone could be as amusing as Jim.
And that concluded our Brew Bus tour.
This is the score card we got to make notes on. That is the only reason I remember anything. And clearly I didn’t do a good job taking notes.
After the tour ended my aunt (who wasn’t drinking, she doesn’t like beer), wanted to go to the Hair of the Dog Brewery. Or maybe I wanted to go? Who can remember?
Hair of the Dog was a really cool space. And the beer was delicious.
I got the sampler, which included the Ruth, Blue Dot IPA, Fred, and Adam. The Blue Dot, which I think is the 2nd from the left in that picture, was by far my favorite. It’s definitely in competition with the desolation as my favorite beer of the day.
After Hair of the Dog I was definitely feeling the beer. I’d gone from happy, talkative, fun to trying really hard not the throw up.
So we went for Thai food! And once I got my food in my stomach I felt much better. And then I went home and went to bed!
I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend the Brew Bus tour (aka “the college of brew knowledge”) if you come to Portland and even remotely like beer. Jim was a real character and the nature of the thing (riding on the ridiculous school bus, hanging out with new friends) makes it a total novelty. It costs $45/per person and you can buy gift certificates for friends or loved ones. It would be a really cool bachelor/bachlorette trip, too.
I was going to try to write about Sunday too, but I think this is long enough. More later!