With Dan posting his travels in the Summer of Dan (TM), I decided to throw my parallel journey out there into the ether of potential beery interest. Both of us were visiting the Pacific Northwest ostensibly for the National Homebrew Convention or Homebrew Con, but why not extend our trips to visit some local breweries and eateries? I headed out on Friday, June 22 with my wife Sarajo (Sj) for our third trip to the Portland, Oregon area. For most of the trip, we hung out with our friends Ron and Denise, with brief forays including Dan the Man himself and some other Minnesota beer friends out for the conference. This is my travelogue which includes pictures, opinions, and way too much beer! Your results may vary, but take what you can from these musings and hopefully, it will help spur you to try some of these places out. I’ve included personal ratings of beers I mention on a scale of 0-5. Please also feel free to comment and question! Dan and I also talk about our high and low points on A One Pint Stand Podcast .
Day 5: Wine
Day 5 was a non-beer trip to wine country. Our friends Patti and Chris invited us along with them and a bunch of others for a day trip out to four wineries. This was a fun trip and we had some excellent wines. Our favorite of them was Sokol Blosser Winery, where we have a case club membership from our last trip out this way. I took a few pictures early on, but let’s be honest, once you’re into some wine tasting your skills and motivation drop off a bit!
By the evening we were pretty shot and had nothing left in us for breweries. We did walk a few blocks for a late dinner at Por Que No? for some amazing street style tacos and a Mezcal margarita for me. Even at close to 10 PM the line was long (but quick moving).
Day 6: Back in Portland!
For breakfast we met up again with Ron and Denise at Tasty n Sons, also a quick walk from our Airbnb. I had high expectations for this eatery based on several reviews from friends (especially Garrett!) Our server Lindsay was amazing and attentive, being very helpful with suggestions and options for our group. She encouraged family style eating with plate sharing in order to try more things–and this was perfect for our group of four. The place was open with high ceilings and fairly loud, but still comfortable. We all ordered some of the best bloody marys we had ever had (mine coming with a Ranier Beer chaser). Every dish was better than the last, cooked and seasoned to perfection. I think the overall winner was the chicken fried pork cutlet, but everything was amazing. Now this is a good way to start the day out for drinking! I liked things so much that I bought the cookbook.
Our next destination for the day was to get to McMenamins Edgefield location for a bit of sightseeing and perhaps alcoholic libations. The McMenamins family has been buying historic buildings for many years and turning them into hotels, pubs, liquor stores, and more. The shining star in their collection is Edgefield. Formerly a poor farm, this large building and complex have been turned into something unique and amazing. The hotel is pretty cool (though many rooms have communal bathrooms). We visited only 3 of the pubs on property this time, but there were several more options we didn’t get to–the best was the Little Red Shed that barely seats 8 people and serves up cocktails and cigars. They have a brewery on site and we tasted through most of the options at the Power Station Pub. The beers were decent but not outstanding–the best was probably the Sunflower IPA (3.75) and the Prince of Fools Imperial Breakfast Stout (3.75). We wandered the extensive grounds stalking hummingbirds and butterflies. We had a wine tasting in the subterranean on-site winery. We discovered the on-site distillery and shared a cocktail or two there, watching golfers walk by and then inspecting the beautiful gardens. In short: this is a destination to explore and make a fun time of it. Even better is staying at the hotel and taking part in scavenger hunts, movies, spa, poolhall, concerts, and other special events.
At this point our group was soon set to break up for separate dinner reservations but we found time for one more brewery: Breakside Slabtown. Last visit to Portland, Breakside was one of my favorite breweries and won my award for best IPA of the trip. This is brand new site with its own smaller brew system, augmenting the plethora of flagship beers from the main brewery. The brewery is pretty, large, and has two levels (plus large patio) each with their own bar. We didn’t eat here, but there was a full restaurant. We tasted through a sampler of beers from the brewery and enjoyed most of them quite a bit. The Pilsner may have been my favorite (4), but Cuddle Puddle Pale Ale was also quite nice and bordered on IPA territory (4). Well worth a visit!
The cap on the day was a special dinner that Sj had reserved ahead for us: Mae. This is a pop-up restaurant located (speakeasy-like) in the back room of another restaurant. Wandering the parking lot trying to decide where to enter, we got to know some other friendly patrons, also in search of the restaurant. We ended up all sharing a quick drink (thanks for the Kolsch!) in the bar for Old Salt Marketplace before it was time to make our way through the kitchen and into the hidden space. James Beard nominated Chef Maya Lovelace has named her restaurant after her culinary muse–her grandmother Mae. We were seated family style (with our new friends) and were ready to go. This was simply an amazing meal, in which Chef Maya personally served up ten heaping courses of history, treats, and love. Even as a registered foody, this was one of the very best meals I’ve had this year and will be dreaming of it for some time to come. By the time the signature fried chicken came out Sj and I were so full we had throw some in tin foil for later use. And then the deserts! Feeling like ticks about fit to pop we relished this obscenely tasty spread and staggered home for the evening.
Coming up: Homebrew Con starts. Gigantic! Lardo! And no I’m not talking about myself here, just the names of breweries and restaurants…
Wineries: 5 (Sj 0)
Creameries: 1 (Eric 0)
Fish Hatcheries?: 1