Just got back from another road trip to Portland or Beervana as it has been dubbed by the mayor (you know your town is pretty cool when the establishment okays a city nickname with beer in it) where I got to sample a variety of new draught and bottled beers. Rather than attempt to recount the details of all my imbibing I have decided to highlight some of my favourites.
First stop was Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) where my partner and I sampled a bicycle hub filled with their ten most current brews –this included six of their regular line-up and four special ales; two new reds the Galactic Imperial and the Rise up Red, a robust Belgian the Muscles from Brussels and the Pick-a-thon IPA. Our favourite was the Galactic Imperial Red, a hoppy 100+ IBU ale with a nice almost sour malt quality to it.
Next day was the Green Dragon Pub, which boasts and impressive Front 20 and Back 30 beers on tap. We tried six samples, which included Rogue Creamery Ale, Green Dragon Quadrupled, Ninkasi Radiant Summer Ale, Full Sail Saison a Pleine Voile, Russian River Consecration and Caldera Dry Hop Orange. The hands-down winner of these six was the Rogue Creamery Ale a strong brown ale with a subtle burnt cafe au lait aftertaste. Across the road at Cascade Brewing Barrel House we sampled Nightfall, Pre-Buorbonic, Apple Pie and Honey Rye Ginger. Tough call on this one so I will award a tie to the Pre-Bourbonic and the Honey Rye Ginger, which were both amazing sour ales but for very different reasons; Pre-Bourbonic was strong and sweet with a porter like quality to it while the Honey Rye Ginger was an awesome balance of sweet and spice on the palate. Both of these sours tempered their tartness with robust but complementary elements.
On to Deschutes Brewery & Public House where we got a little carried away with another dozen samples. Cascade Ale, Gluten Free NW Pale Ale #29, Twilight Ale, Bourbon Murder, Black Butte Porter (Casked), Imperial Hop in the Dark (Casked), Armory XPA, Deschutes Brewery Hefeweizen, Conflux 2, La Cycliste, Hop-in-the-Dark and Obsidian Stout. Bit of a two-way tie here as well. The Conflux 2, a collaboration with Boulevard Brewing Company, is white IPA, which marries the spice of a nice hefeweizen (coriander, orange, lemongrass) with the robust hop of a northwest IPA. The Bourbon Murder (okay so I think is actually the better of the two) is a bourbon casked stout with the most amazing vanilla nose followed by a send-you-to-heaven chocolate and coffee mouthfeel. It actually lacks the heft of some stouts but keeps the prominent liquor taste making it creamy and easy to drink …yum!
Last but not least we complimented any lulls in our pub crawl by stocking up at the amazing Belmont Station Beer Store, which boasts a mere 1201 BEERS. You know the expression kid in a candy store well I think grown-up in a beer store is equally apt. We found way too many beers several of which actually made it back to BC with us but some of which only made it as far as our hotel room. Armed with a box of voodoo donuts we sampled (bottle sized samples) Russian River Redemption Blond Ale, Baird/Ishii/Stone Brewing Japanese Green Tea IPA, Russian River Salvation Dark Ale and Maredsous Triple. This might not be shocking to those who have read any of my previous posts but the winner here was the Russian River Blonde. A sweet, nutty ale with a lot of carbonation. It had a pungent yeasty nose and but tasted surprisingly light. The mouthfeel was almost creamy. Amazing gold colour, hazy with a ton of head, I can never say enough about the quality of beers this brewery is producing.
Trending in Portland Radlers, beers mixed with lemonade or lemon/lime soda, and bourbon casked ales …Stay tuned for reviews on the rest of the beers I liberated from Beervana.