Portland Beer Adventure – Part 2
So, despite our best efforts, we survived our first day in Portland and decided to start our second day seeing what Portland has to offer besides beer. Of course we didn’t want to waste too much time doing non-beer activities, but a break was in order.
We grabbed some lunch at Pok Pok, which we were told had the best chef in the North West. The food was great but we had other things on our mind: checking out more beer. Alas, there were a couple more errands to run. Those errands aren’t beer related, so let’s skip ahead too…
Stop 1 – Bailey’s Taproom
The directions we got told us that Bailey’s was right near Mary’s Club, an “all nude revue” that looked far from classy. However, Mary’s was hard to miss and it managed to point us to our desired destination.
Not a brewpub like we visited the day before, Bailey’s showcased craft beer from across the U.S.A. All 20+ taps are rotating so it’s definitely a place that you can keep coming back to.
Bailey’s was in a strange part of town. Right on the border between Downtown and the Pearl District, both fairly nice and touristy areas, Bailey’s sat next to a strip club and a rundown market that accepted food stamps. It was as if there was one small corner that hadn’t kept up with the rest of the neighbourhood. That’s cities for you sometimes…
We managed to have two tasting paddles at Bailey’s while sitting in the sun out the front, so we successfully ticked off half the menu! The beers were all pretty good, but all in all a bit hit and miss. We were jumping around and trying to experience some different tastes, so, while everything wasn’t to everyone’s taste, that’s not always the point.
Bailey’s Taproom was great and showcased some great American craft beers.
Stop 2 – Bridgeport Brewing
Located in the far north of the Pearl District, Bridgeport was a bit of hike from Bailey’s Taproom, but well worth the walk. Bridgeport Brewing is one of the larger brewpubs in town and is in the process of celebrating their 30th year, which was exciting.
As mentioned, Bridgeport is a full service brewpub, and we had worked up a hunger from the long walk so decided to have dinner along with a tasting of most of what their menu had to offer, including two specialty brews they had for their 30th anniversary. One of these beers was an Australian Salute IPA, so we were keen to try. This beer used a couple Australian hops (Ella and Galaxy), which did give it an Australian feel.
Tackling the Hop Czar was also interesting. This is one of the older American IPA’s out there and, while a great beer, seems a little old fashioned now compared to a lot of what’s come out more recently. Of course this isn’t a problem, it was just an interesting observation due to all the side by side tastings!
The food at Bridgeport was also great. It was all standard pub fare, minus the Australian pub classic of a chicken parmigiana, but hey, one has to respectful of other cultures, even if they get it wrong sometimes. They did have bangers and mash as a special though, so there’s something redeeming.
Stop 3 – Deschutes Brewery
Another great one that isn’t yet distributed in Australia, this was another pretty large brewpub/beer hall of similar age to Bridgeport.
Surprisingly, this was the only venue we went to that had recommendations for the tasting paddles. Everywhere else generally had at least 10 beers, and, while staff were usually happy to recommend something based on your tastes, there was never a simple “tourist’s tasting paddle” on the menu.
At Deschutes, while you could choose your own paddle, they also had a paddle of six of their most popular beers, and a paddle of six of their “brewer’s choice” or more experimental beers. Nicely, once those two paddles were done, there were another six beers to try: perfect for another paddle! Oh, and they had another two cask beers to try to round everything out.
So, for those of you counting, that was twenty tastes at Deschutes, and unfortunately, that was enough for the day!
And that was the end of Portland…
In two days in Portland we managed to try 55 different beers: that was more than one unique beer per hour of being in the fair city.
When you do a trip like this there’s a part of you that thinks maybe you should have stayed longer, or maybe you should have tried to cram more into a short stay. Our effort was pretty well balanced, but concentrated on quality over quantity (although there was a fair amount of quantity!).
The good part of this strategy, for any trip, is that it leaves the city somewhat incomplete, which means we have to come back and enjoy the city once again. Experiencing it all is always impossible, so, with limited time, do a few things right, rather than trying to everything, but doing everything improperly.
Thanks Portland, you were great hosts and we had a lot of fun.