Saturday, May 31, 2008

Stinky Fish

I shared a Ballast Point Brewing Dorado the other night with a friend and it had gone bad. It had lost much of its hop flavor and the alcohol was too pronounced. It's a shame because it is such a good beer, no it's a great beer. I blame myself because the beer was improperly stored. I had it in my garage and it had been exposed to too much heat and other variable temperatures. This is a good lesson - drink the double IPAs fresh.

Last Portland Post - McMenamins

These brothers are amazing. They have a series of restaurants, pubs and hotels throughout Oregon. We visited their Edgefield in Troutdale, about twenty minutes from downtown Portland. Edgefield is a resort with a hotel, several restaurants, a brewery and a winery. It also has a chip and putt golf course. (Check out the link to Edgefield to see all it has to offer.) Our stay did not do the property justice. We were pressed for time and only visited the Black Rabbit Restaurant. The meal was delicious. I had the chef's version of a plowman's lunch and a cask-conditioned ESB.

I had heard that the McMenamin's could be quite local in their attitudes. We did not experience this at all. I purchased a Sunflower IPA from the gift shop. The woman at the counter noticed that the beer was cold (I had grabbed it from the fridge) and inquired whether I was going to keep it cold until I drank it. When I replied no, she went to the store's stock room and replaced it with one at room temperature so the beer would not skunk. Respect for beer and the customer. (I had the Sunflower tonight after its first chill and it was marvelous.)

I would like to go back and stay at a McMenamin property and savor the atmosphere, food and ale.

Portland Pour

At every restaurant we visited in Portland, the pints were all filled to the top with minimal head. This is the way all beers should be poured. It is disappointing to receive a pint and have several ounces lost to bartender laziness or incompetence. It also shows a lack of respect for beer and the consumer. All bartenders should learn the art of the Portland Pour.

More Portland - Bridgeport Brewing Company

We made a stop at Bridgeport Brewing for happy hour appetizers (that became dinner) and a few beers. The beers were refreshing, in part because it was an unusual 100 degrees in Portland. I like Bridgeport's IPA and have posted on it before. Its hops give it a crisp, citrus flavor, unlike the floral accent of many IPAs. It has the characteristic bitterness of an IPA, but it's no West Coast hop bomb. Its 5.5% alcohol level means you can have two beers. The food is good, too, and like other Portland restaurants considerable care appears to have been put into the menu. In addition to the brewery, I had Bridgeport IPA at several other restaurants. There are many beer choices in Portland, but Bridgeport should be on any beer connoisseur's list of breweries to visit.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I spent last weekend in Portland with my family. We had a full weekend that included some good beers. I will devote a couple of posts to the trip. Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a local coffee roaster and operator of several coffee shops was across the street from our hotel. Stumptown is a great place to start the day. It has a variety of coffee drinks and its basic cup of coffee is all done through a French Press, not a drip machine. It was very good and I bought 3/4 pound of its Hair Bender Blend. In addition to its excellent coffee, Stumptown sold beer! Coffee and beer - two of my favorite things. The beers were mainly Belgian (no local craft beer) and it had three on tap - La Chouffe's Golden Ale, Bitburger and a Chimay - all served in proper glassware. In addition it had a small but solid selection of bottled Belgians - Scaldo, Westmalle, Trapists, Duvel, Chimay, Gueze Boon, Framboise, Oval, and several St. Bernardus beers. It also had some German beers and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Stumptown is a must stop in Portland.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Yard House

I went to the Yard House in Irvine, California last Saturday night. So many beers, so few worth trying. The place was packed. The food was decent, but expensive - my wife and I split a $25 fish dish. You have to give Yard House props for building a restaurant around beer, but wish it had more craft beers. It had multiple beers from most of the big "craft" brewers - Sam Adams, Redhook, Widmar - and multiple offerings from Stone. It had every macro on tap. I can't remember the last time I saw Moosehead on a tap list. In addition to Stone, other compelling choices included Bear Republic's Racer 5 and Lost Abbey's Lost and Found. I wanted the Leffe (no beer named) but it was out. I chose St. Bernardus Abt 12 that was served in a small chalice and tasted great. (I did not know it was 10.5% alcohol until I linked to this post - it sure did not have a heavy alcohol presence.) I'd go back to the Yard House, but I'd try to avoid a Saturday night.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Lost Abbey Visit

I went up to the Lost Abbey this evening to pick up the second set of beers (out of six) and a shirt as part of my Patron Saint membership. What a beer scene. The place was packed with beer geeks (and some non-geeks). I was greeted with a sample of Devotion as I entered the tasting bar. Praise the Lord. I had my young daughters with me so I could not camp out for a few beers, but the bartender brought a game for them to play as I had my tasters and and picked up my loot. I received my shirt and two bottles of Judgment Day and added a bottle of Devotion and a growler of Pizza Port's Amigo lager. (It's a forty-five-minute drive so why not.) I want to go back during tasting bar hours (Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons) and savor Lost Abbey's heaven on draft.