Portland - Microbrew Capital of America

February 19th, 2009

Rogue brews

So… there’s beer in Portland. Lots of it. There are about 30 breweries in the metro-area, most with more than one taproom. There are over 60 “brewpubs”. The state of Oregon has even more - 63 to be exact. Our circumnavigation of Mount Hood took us past about seven breweries! You can read all about the Oregon beer industry on the Oregon Brewers Guild website.

The AnnexThe friends we stayed with were right down town, so we could walk to some of the more well known brewpubs. Of the 30 in town, we only went to four this trip: Rogue, Deschutes, BridgePort, and the Annex. The Ringlers Annex is a McMenamins joint - of which there are many - but I count it because they do brew their own beer. The only problem is that there are about 30 McMenamins brewpubs, and they all serve the same six beers. So you can only count one, I think. The Annex was a good one to choose though, a tiny and badass looking “angle iron” building. The bartender was cool too and hooked us up with lots of samples, including a tasty mix of their Nitrogen stout and a raspberry beer. We visited there one night separately from the other three.

The Deschutes Brewpub!Deschutes taproomTeam drinking

Our true “beer tour” was the “big three”, which we started at lunch time with Deschutes. I’m not the biggest-fan-ever of their regular line up, but I’ve had a soft spot for the company ever since the Royal Wolf in Driggs had a whole keg of their Mirror Mirror Barleywine on tap a few winters ago. At the brewpub I tried their very tasty Oregon Sesquicentennial beers, and drank a nice full snifter of their D Straat Belgian Dubbel.

Our second stop was Rogue. This place will blow your mind. I forget the exact count, but there have got to be something like 40 beers on tap here. Pretty much their whole line up, plus the “Frog” beers from Issaquah, and some special seasonals and the like. Insanity. I jumped right with a Quad Frog, a Belgian Quad from Issaquah clocking in at a mind bending 13.5% abv. Between our group we tried lots of beers, but the most memorable were the Old Crustatean Barlywine, the Imperial Porter, and of course the always entertaining Chipotle Ale. I paid way too much for a pizza while we were there, but really that’s just more praise for their wonderful beer. :P

Finally we hit BridgePort, but only for one beer since it was getting time to go home. They have a much more modest tap line up, but it was still good. I was hoping to discover a bunch of secret/seasonal/reserve beers, but found only an Imperial Stout (which was all I needed anyway…). And so we finished our mini beer tour.

Keeping it classy in PortlandThe Bridgeport Brewpub!Rad urinals

Our time in Portland wasn’t all fun and beer-games, though. Really, we only went out “to drink” once, on our “tour”. We also had some tasty food, starting with an exotic fruit tasting party on Valentines day (a la Fred Meyer), and ending with a rad Thai and Laotian dinner. We also checked out Powell’s Books, the famed (and huge) bookstore downtown. I learned some interesting things about rares books there (determining my signed first edition Frank Herbert book will be almost worthless because of the dust cover) and saw a first eidtion Hobbit! And we checked out Voodoo Doughnuts, the *ahem* “punk rock doughnut shop”. We had to stand in line about 20mins to get these doughnuts! And I wanted to get one of their “Bacon Maple Bars”, but they were out. It was still cool though, I enjoyed my Froot Loops doughnut, and my “Blood Filled Voodoo Doll” doughnut. Then it was time to head back to Bozeman.

First Edition Hobbit!Voodoo Doughnuts lineSome Voodoo doughnuts

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One Response to “Portland - Microbrew Capital of America”

  1. I kept saying “ouch” every time you referred to the Rogue brewery as the Rouge brewery. I used to live in downtown Portland and enjoyed the many beers and brewpubs. I really miss the city, but I’ve learned to love some of the local Lake Erie Brewery beers.

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