October 2008 personal blog post

Went to Portland for about 25 hours last week in order to judge a mac and cheese cookoff. Stayed right downtown, and with the little time I had left over I visited the Deschutes Brewpub and Bailey’s Taproom. Both are fairly new and I had not yet been to either. Both were also within walking distance of where I stayed (Hotel Lucia–very nice if you aren’t footing the bill). Both had also gotten good reviews on Beer Advocate. Would have liked to have gone to Hopworks or Amnesia (keep forgetting), but I had so little time.
This being fresh hop season, Deschutes had four different fresh hop beers on tap when I went for lunch, including Hop Trip, which they bottle. They listed the variety and the farm source on most. I tasted a couple, had a full pint of cask bitter and a taste of a REALLY NICE unfiltered 4.5% Pilsner (Keller).
Nice place. Looks like the brand new Northwest brew pub it is. Didn’t look carefully at the food menu, but I had a nice spinach salad (organic) with bacon and goat cheese. There were nearly 20 beers on tap and more than half hovered around 5-5.5% ABV.  They did NOT have the wild-fermented barrel-aged beer on tap.
The cookoff was at Kell’s, a big Irish pub. Widmer was a sponsor, Kurt Widmer one of the judges, so there was Widmer Hefe on tap in the competition tent. Went the Bailey’s after the cook-off, relatively late in the evening. Looks like a Starbucks for beer, in a way. There are 20 taps, all were pouring West Coast products, (17 from Ore./Wash and 3 from Calif.). Lots of fresh hop beers here, too. Had the CoHoperative from Fort George Brewery, and the Hopworks Parsec Pale. Both very nice. Bailey’s had just concluded a barleywine bottle tasting too, so I had a few ounces of Alaskan Barleywine. Great service, good music, great experience all the way around.
While Bailey’s taps are all regional, the bottle selection goes in concentric circles like Map Room, but it’s only N. America, I believe, and heavy on the western half. Jolly Pumpkin is representing the Midwest right now, with La Roja, and Maracaibo Especial. Some of the bottle prices are VERY reasonable, (like a 22 oz. Greenflash B.Wine $9), and you can take ‘em home. Same price.
BTW, both of these places used exactly the same glasses at the core of their tap menus. Some sample glasses and snifters too, but the standard pint is a 20-oz. imperial for around $4.50 (across the board at Bailey’s) and a half pint is a 10-ounce flute ($2.50). Deschutes does a 60 oz. pitcher too for about a buck less than the price of 3 pints. ($12-$13 I think).
Ashamed to say, I was done drinking before midnight PST, and I didn’t have a beer in the morning. Visited Steve’s Cheese www.stevescheese.biz and then caught the Max to the airport. I sat down on the plane and when I looked up it was the same American Airlines flight crew from the day before doing the second half of the turnaround. Immediately wished I would have stayed out later or could have stayed another six hours.

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