Wednesday, August 15, 2012

With love, from Oregon

Oregon's ability to promote itself as craft booze capital, USA always impresses me. They have Oregon state university’s fermentation science program, established wine making region and they throw great parties ( oregon brewer's festival). They're home to several outstanding breweries, and many more mediocre ones. We cant be wasting precious time on sub par beer, so here's my best of oregon.

Double Mountain: Hood River
Great pizza, great beer, awesome music. Matt and company makes this place an amazing hideout for locals and visitors alike. They're producing some fine sours and the perennially enticing Vaporizer dry hopped pale ale. The IRA and Brown also consistently bring balance and and unique flavors to the gorge. I'm especially bespotted with their kreik, sour brown, and kolsch. Word to the wise; the beer is so well balanced you barely notice the booze, please walk or get a cab!

Good if you like : sours, cow-punk, wood fired pizza, stand up bassists, hanging with locals, dancing, raucous friday nights, sweating.

I was skeptical when my man Shaggy insisted Sherwood (suburb south of Portland) had amazing brews. Last time I checked, this area hasn't got a good beer for miles. Luckily I ate my words while downing deliciousness at Two Kilts. This tiny tasting room is hidden way out in a strip mall. Simple, pared down, and straightforward it's literally all about beer, there is nothing else. An older gent with two hussies in tow promptly left when faced with the lack of party atmosphere (suckers). Alex and crew really make each style sing. The heather ale brings light malt and wooly herbs in a way I've never experienced. Their imperial stout is literally one of the best, on par with Serpent Stout from Lost Abbey. Alex is a rock star and I will be keeping tabs on him. If you're in Portland, skip half the breweries you wanted to see in the city for this one.

Good if you like : Excellent beer, quiet alone time, talking to brewers, heather, imperial stouts, man skirts, more great beer.

Cascade Brewing Barrel House/ Raccoon Lodge: Portland
Same company two places! Both places have a selection of sours and dandy food.

The Racc also has some of Portland's finest bartenders that know their beer and make the best damn Bloody Mary in PDX. Cascade brews some great sours and other styles. I'm partial to day drinking in the lodge to avoid kids and hang out with their awesome staff.
Raccoon Lodge, good if you like; Hiding in basements, sours and american styles, bar food, dirty jokes, amazing Bloody Mary's, vintage bikes.

Barrel House has a wider selection of sours The beer list can be intimidating and rewarding. I suggest getting a sampler and going wild with as diverse a selection as possible. Atmosphere is relaxed and communal with big tables, open building plan and lots of light. Being part rat, I wait until dark to venture into open spaces.
Good for : impressing fellow beer nerds, making pucker faces, night drinking, second dates, mispronouncing foreign words

Les Caves: Corvallis
Leave the kiddies behind at Block 15 and jump next door to Les Caves. Holy hellfire! This is my kind of place. Not a frat boy in sight and everything is tasty, foreign and sour/tart/ funky. Allegedly the owners went to Belgium to import these sexy euro beers. I applaud, whatever they had to do, they got it right. The menu perfectly fits with the beer. Atmosphere fits everything else and its a great selection of beers you just wont find anywhere else. It's like stepping off a Flemish farm and into a beer cellar dream.
Good if you like: Pretending you're a foreigner, seafood and beer, delicate horsey flavors, fresh cut grass, mood lighting, farm living.