Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Beer Travels to Portland, OR

As I sit here at home, after another day at graduate school, instead reading for seminars and research, I decided to just catch up on blogging. I feel that home is sanctuary away from work, so I don't generally do any. If I do take work home with me, then I end up going to a coffee shop, but every once in a while I do work (but I rather stab my eyes out). You may ask, Where is he going with this?" Right now, I'm not really sure.

So, graduate school allows me to travel to conferences. It is a benefit, but with a limited budget, I find ways to cut cost. One thing that I don't cut cost on is seeking good beer. This is the third conference that I travelled to this year. The last one was to Lincoln, NE, though not a beer town, it wasn't that hard to find good beer. This past 5-10 August, I got to go to, what I like to call on of the meccas of beer, Portland OR for a conference.

One way I learned to cut costs is to couch surf. There is an excellent website called couchsurfing.org that I used, though my friends are sketchy with this as they think that I'll wake up in a tub of ice with organs missing. Eh, it's perfectly safe.

So I met my host (Dan) in the airport and he gave me keys to the house and car because he was flying out to Hawaii. The only requirement for me to do is to take care of his dog. What better way to stay, have a four legged friend and a house all to myself! So while at the airport, I got to talk with Dan, his finance, and some of their friends. It was really nice to meet them and they bought me a beer. My first beer in Portland was the Inversion IPA from Deschutes Brewery. I very much enjoyed the face full of hops at the very beginning. If only I could live here and enjoy more of the West Coast beers.

I got to Dan's place, which was across the Columbia river from Portland in Vancouver, WA, got into the house, met up with the dog, and settled in. I felt really bad leaving each day to go to the conference, or other adventures that I would take, because I would have to con the dog into going into the garage (which wasn't a bad situation anyway, because he had carpet to lie on and it was cool).

That night I went on my first beer adventure.

My first adventure was to Deschutes Pub. Deschutes is a brewery from Bend, OR, but they have a pub and small brewery in Portland. I got to the pub and found a seat at the bar. Even though I haven't had any of there other mainstay beers, I had to go for something special. They had quite the line up of beers. I have been craving sours lately, so I went with the Mis Spelt Sour. It was tart, light on the palate, and had some fruity esters. After I got my food, I ordered a second beer, the Rye-T-On. It was an amber rye beer that was on cask, which made it ever more so enjoyable. This is the only way a real ale should be served. It had a nice caramel backbone with bold bold hop flavour of Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand.

That night was the only bad time while there. Good thing that I got some food and only had two beers, because, while driving a strange car and watching my GPS, I got pulled over for something moronic that I did. Driving on I-5 back over to Washington, I was in the right lane, keeping track on my GPS. Then all of the sudden, I noticed that I was on a exit only lane. Idiot me, sped up and cut over a double white line back into traffic, even though I saw the cop get off the freeway right before me. So, a $260 ticket and a sobriety test I was on my way back to where I was staying.

The next day, I was up early, wanting to see what different things that I could find before the conference started that day. I ended up at StumptownCoffee Roasters for coffee and Voodoo Dougnuts for a breakfast pastry. Then another day I went to Pine State Biscuits for breakfast.  Again, why am I not living on the West coast? I went aboot the day enjoying what I could do before I made my way to catch a bus for the first field trip. I won't bore you with my geekhood of taking a trip to see Mt. St. Helens and the blast zone ... but it was AMAZING.

I ended up meeting a few Canadian folks and went out to dinner with them to Rogue Ales Public House and Distillery. There I was able to order one beer, the Younger's Special Bitter on cask because they were insanely busy. It was wonderful to drink cask beer again. The bitter had light bready noted with some fruity undertones and soft hop bitterness.

Over the next couple of days, I was really busy with going to talks and seeing posters. At each of the poster section, they had beer for sale. Over the those couple of days I got to try C-Not Imperial Pale Ale by Lompoc Brewery and Rotator IPA: X-114 IPA by Widmer Brothers BrewingCompany.

To finish my time in Portland, I went out with a ex-colleague of mine and some of her friends. I ended up at Deschutes again and did a flight of 4-oz. tasters Extinction Stout, Chainbreaker White IPA, Flagline Ale, Fresh Squeezed IPA, Deep Red Belgian Specialty Ale, and Black Butte XXIV Anniversary beer. I ended up taking home a glass and a bottle of the Black Butte XXIV Anniversary and stopping along the way one evening at a beer store called Belmont Station and grabbing a Firestone Walker Double Jack and a Russian River Salvation.

My last stop was at Laurelwood Public House and Brewery. There I had the Workhorse IPA, a very balanced IPA with a slight sweet finish that balances out the bitterness. The second beer that I had was the Organic Deranger Imperial Red Ale that had a caramel malt backbone and complex layers of hop bitterness.

Leaving Portland, I took a flight to Oakland, CA to meet up with a buddy. It was really great to see him for a while and wonder around Oakland, San Fransisco, and Berkeley, and hike the Berkeley hills. Even though I didn't get a chance to meet an icon in the brewery industry, The Beer Wench, I did get out once to taste some good beer. After a day of hiking we ended up at Schmidt's Pub in Albany, CA where I had a classic Fuller's ESB at a classic English pub.

This was a great beer trip that was an addition to the ecological conference that I signed up for. I was just a little more enjoyable than the trip to last year ESA in Austin, TX, and most likely better than the one that I will take next year to Minneapolis, MN if I stick with my studies and don't get a job in the brewing industry.

No comments:

Post a Comment