Portland, Oregon & Seattle, Washingtion 2007

Travels for Beer Portland, Oregon & Seattle, Washington

 Nina and I are on our way to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.  The flight time, from Florida, is nearly the same for a trip to England and just less than the time needed to reach Central Europe. We are a little anxious of the destination we have selected because we do love our visits to Europe.  However, we are anticipating some great diversity in Portland and Seattle.  This is where the craft brewing sensation has reached a pinnacle of success, and that is why it is known as Beervana.  Of course, we have done our homework and are armed with a list of brewpubs for each city along with maps and suggested pub-crawls.  It looks as if we have a lot of work to do.  Portland alone has 30 breweries within its city limits, proclaiming “more than any other city in the world”.

We start Saturday by renting a car. Our plan is to drive to Multnomah Falls and then continue East to the city of Hood River and visit Full Sail Brewing. It is suppose to be scenic with a view of the Columbia River. It’s only about a 30 mile drive to the falls. When we arrive, it is still foggy in the area. The top of the falls is 620 feet high and we can’t see at least half of them. It is a beautiful morning for a hike though. So we get our exercise in for the day and make it up and down the trail. When we return to the bottom the fog has cleared and the sight of the falls is spectacular. It’s worth a visit if you are in Portland. One problem, there is no beer here!

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 There are seven bridges crossing the Wilamette River. Early cities were established along major rivers for many obvious reasons. You see it all across Europe. Just a few blocks across the bridge, we find Roots Brewing. This is an organic brewery. The bar is not open yet, but we wander in. We find the brewer raking the mash out of the kettle. It smells just great here and I think about the lucky pigs that will probably get to eat the spent grains. The brewer is friendly to us (of course, it’s Portland), tells us some brewing facts, and invites us back later for a beer. Okay, no problem, we move on.

We climb down the steep steps and find ourselves in a roughly finished cellar with stone walls, plumbing pipes overhead, electrical wires running along the walls, and a small bar with about eight stools and a dozen tables in the room. A very funky place…We stay for one beer each. I enjoyed a Hammerhead pale ale which was a little sweet with an orange/red color. Nina had a Terminator, which was dark and flavorful without being over hopped. The McMenamin Brothers owned the Cellar Bar. The brothers started in 1983 and now their “Kingdom of Fun” includes about 50 beer bars, unique hotels, pub theaters, and brewpubs in the Northwest.

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Upon entering, I notice banners on the wall celebrating their winnings at the GABF, Great American Beer Festival. Elysian has won Large Brew Pub of the year in 1999, 2003, and 2004. Recently they received the gold medal award for their Dragonstooth Stout.  I was happy to see that they also brew a lager and a pilsner. I gave the Zephyrus Pils a taste and was pleased with the balance; it was a good example of a pilsner. Along with a lunch, Nina and I proceeded to taste the ESB, Bette Blanche, Achilles Amber, IPA, Dragonstooth stout, and Dortmund. That’s a long list, I guess we like these beers. The ESB was nice and rounded, full of flavor yet not heavy on the hops. The Bette Blanche was a Belgian Triple, sweet, good color, nice foam lace on the glass, and hints of coriander. The Achilles Amber even though a respectable 5.9%, was a great session beer, but we can’t stick to just one flavor. Dragonstooth stout was black and delicious, just smooth going down. The Dortmund was heavy on the hops





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