Road trip recap, part one.

Something that many of you have heard me say is that if I were not living in Napa it would be the Pacific Northwest. This trip did nothing but back that up, so lets get right to it.

DISCLAIMER – I had to break this recap into three parts between all of the stops we made.  I wouldn’t be doing some of the great ones justice if I had to glaze over them.

Days 1 and 2:

After a very smooth nine-hour drive we parked in the Pearl District of Portland for three days.  The best part about this spot was the fact that we could walk everywhere we wanted to go – the breweries, food stops, pubs, donuts of the Voodoo variety and the strip clubs. We actually received quite a few recommendations on the different gentlemen’s establishments while in town; apparently there are more of them per capita than anywhere else in the good ole US of A. Who knew?

Anyway, we dropped of our bags, cleaned up and headed out on the town. The first stop was a pub by the name of Life of Riley. A simple cold beer, hot food tavern with a couple games downstairs.  Worth a stop if you want a cold one before you head out to dinner or if you just need a cold one.  The second stop of the evening was Oven & Shaker and I have to say that this is HANDS DOWN the best pizza I have ever had.  The cocktails were solid as well, some very creative things going on between the Tennessee and Soul Kiss #3. If you are in the neighborhood and you don’t stop here you are doing it wrong. Just saying…


From there we hit up what would be one of our “regular” stop at the Deschutes brew pub.  I was very familiar with the Black
Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale, which are the two staples, but I no idea how much they have stepped up their game with some of their other brews:

  • Black Butte XXV – the favorite of the trip and worth aging at least six months to a year. A whopping 11% ABV but extremely well balanced, easy to drink, not overly thick, filling or over done. Tasty. 
  • Vernal Falls Sour – if the XXV was #1 this is #1a. I love me a ridiculous sour brew and this was one that will be hard to beat.  Unfortunately it was a limited production and was tapped by the time we left the city.
  • Hard Target IPA – a new go-to IPA if you can find it. YUM all the way around. Oregon IPAs seem to tone down the hop-iness but maintain the kick, this one was no exception.
  • Fresh Squeezed IPA – if you are looking for a summer beer you can thank me later for this recommendation. With a whole bunch ‘o citrus this guy packs a refreshing punch.

After a good nights sleep we were off to the races.  We ran out to Newberg for a tasting at Shea Wine Cellars (more to follow in the next post!) then back into Portland to continue wandering around town. On the way back in to town we made a quick pit stop at the Full Sail pub just off the highway at McCormick and Schmicks.  A thirst-quenching stop for a couple of my favorite staple beers, the Amber ale and LTD specifically.  Olympic Provisions was next on the list, for a little charcuterie and refreshing Campari-based beverages, followed by the Portland City Grill (I am a sucker for an awesome view).

RogueIn between we had some time to kill so we stumbled into the Rogue River Public House where we were presently surprised by their distilled beverages, particularly their Pink Spruce Gin. This delicious fellow is a spruce gin that spends some time aging in Pinot Noir barrels for 4-6 months (what a twist!). I could see many delightful martinis in my future so naturally a bottle of this was smuggled across the border with some local vermouth, Imbue made with a base of Oregon Pinot Gris, to complete the ensemble.

More to follow!


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