I just drank my way through Oregon: Some Shameless Showing-off

So in a fully appropriate and fulfilling twist, my beloved hub-sand and I took a road-trip through California and the Pacific Northwest. It could go without saying that we visited many, many breweries, but it shouldn’t! Because that’s what this blog is all about, baby.

Saison in a Mason Jar, I'll thank ye.
Saison in a Mason Jar, I’ll thank ye.

That delightful little dog marks the first brewery visited on our trip: Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, CA. Of course we chose the weekend that the West Coast was having a sweltering heat wave to go on our journey. Nothing but farm ales, lambics, and Saisons really hit the spot. Lesson: seasonal beers exist to help you when you need them most.

We stopped in Mendocino County Brewing Company’s taproom in Ukiah, CA, for one brew before reaching our first evening’s destination in Eureka, home of Lost Coast Brewing Company. Both experiences were mediocre, but not negative. Decent brews emerged from both, though I would recommend staying at the bar and not having dinner at Lost Coast.

When there is nitro, however, all seasonal bets are off.
When there is nitro, however, all seasonal bets are off.

The delightful photo above is from one of the several bars at the McMenamins Old Saint Francis School. If you are not hip to the swirling wonder that is the chain of McMenamin’s Historic Hotels, click the damn link above, son. A chain of hotels, bars, theaters, concert venues upon the campus of rehabilitated historical buildings. We stayed at a former Catholic School (which, though cozy, is a bit of a spooky premise, no?) for the evening within stumbling distance of a Cigar/Whiskey Bar. And if you are skeptical about how awesome this would be, just look at how happy this man is:

Ambrosia!
Ambrosia!

We tore ourselves away from the campus briefly to visit my beer Mecca (sacrilege?), a short walk away.

Baby angels are a-fluting. Can you hear them?
Baby angels are a-fluting. Can you hear them?

Deschutes Brewery fills me with frothy devotion and love. Our server was brilliant and attentive, the beer was fantastic (DUH!) and our food was fresh and delicious. I kind of see this place as my Charles Mulligan’s Steakhouse of the future. Yes, I will be keeping a scrapbook of my visits and what I drank.

Of course I'm keeping a scrapbook of this.
Look at me. I was just a kid.

In Portland we had some top-secret work to do, but afterward wandered the streets of downtown as shameless tourists, visiting Stumptown and Powell’s and all those places filled with chubby people in shorts and water-sandals looking slightly stunned. Over the course of the week we tried a range of alcoholic beverages from wine to schmancey cocktails made by Jim at Vintage Cocktail Bar. I’ve tried to stay away from the Portlandia references as much as possible, but this pretty much happened (except for the mixtape and everything following). Let’s just say that Jim set an orange peel on fire for my husband’s Manhattan at one point.

A sumptuous peach old fashioned.
A sumptuous peach old fashioned.

We were sent along to some great Oregonian wineries (because my tasting-room customers would be way less likely to trust me if I told them I went to the Willamette valley without tasting their Pinot Noir), including a private tasting at Patricia Green Cellars. I mean, if you quote Aretha Franklin and Braveheart on your homepage? Come on. Radtastic.

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We also visited the Lompoc Brewpub in Southeast Portland. I thoroughly enjoyed my sweaty Heaven’s Helles along with a turkey sandwich as we looked out over the patio full of people enjoying the company of their friends and their dogs.

There was more delicious food, booze, hiking, and visiting, but I’m happy to be reunited with my hound. I’m looking forward to revisiting Oregon, though, a place I’ve been many times before and hope to frequent for years to come.

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