Sometimes on my way home from work on the airport MAX, visitors to our fine city ask me what there is to do around Portland. I try to be helpful. I send people to Jake’s for seafood and Tom McCall Waterfront Park for the “Doobie Bros.” Last week I sent a couple drunken frat boys, downing whiskey from a bottle of vitamin water, to McFadden’s. They wanted girls, and that’s the only place I could think of besides Mary’s Club
, with females that might take them seriously. But in my unsanctioned role as MAX ambassador, I recommend Portland’s beer most often, and with earnestness. Felecia and I recently joined our buds Jennifer and Patrick for a microbrew crawl around the neighborhood. What a place to live, where one can stumble between world-class brewpubs.
So, in celebration of Patrick’s birth we gave Rogue Ale House, BridgePort Brewery, and Laurelwood Public House each a call.
ROGUE ALE HOUSE
1339 NW Flanders St
I’d never been to Rogue Ale House before but Felecia and I visited their brewery in Newport a couple years ago. The beers are spectacular, but the pints cost $4.50 or $5. Even though you could spend half as much at Lompoc
, it’s certainly worthwhile for a treat. They serve a real beer log, as pictured at the top of the post, that’s much more satisfying than my beer log.
The tastes and variety are amazing. I had their Uber Pilsner
. It’s not my favorite style, but interesting anyway; swallow and the taste disappears with intriguing abruptness. The chocolate stout
is implausibly thick and delicious. They have so many good and interesting beers you must visit and try them yourself. We witnessed a couple guys drinking soda with their burgers. All I can say is, “whatthefuck.”
1313 NW Marshall St
This was my first visit to the newly remodeled BridgePort Brewery. It seems they’d like to remake their image too. The Pearl District seems artificially tacked on the old city’s soul sometimes. In a real physical way the new buildings were built up, over, on top of, and inside old Portland.
It’s an urban garden of brick and bridge vistas carefully engineered by developers for San Jose tech moguls who buy lofts in which to dwell for a bit in the summer or on an occasional long weekend. I’ve gradually come to the view that the Pearl, though tastefully presented, is a tourist encampment, and Bridgeport, on the district’s northwestern tentacle, is the new enclave of the upwardly mobile who have no real investment in this community and its people but for their entertainment.
BridgePort IPA was my first favorite micro, and the beer is still good. The building looks great. But now you’ve been warned.
Since I hardly described the place before my rant, check out an accurate and informative review on alt.portland
LAURELWOOD NW PUBLIC HOUSE
2327 NW Kearney Street
Laurelwood makes my favorite beers in town, with the possible exception of Roots. Their (organic) Free Range Red
is about the most fresh and flavorful, completely drinkable ale around. I was also lucky enough to enjoy a pint of Workhorse IPA
, their new head brewer, Chad’s entry in a three way IPA brew-off. I’ve been sampling a lot of IPA’s lately, and this was light, fragrant, and plenty hopped, though by this point in our pub walk I wasn't prone to displeasure. Laurelwood has good, cheap burgers, tremendous beers, and it’s a nice place to hang out on NW 23rd. They have an outdoor patio and a balcony hidden in the neighborhood’s thick deciduous canopy.
Wow, Laurelwood makes me happy.
Check out their only slightly propagandistic blog.
These guys are finding success, but deep down, I think they’re really in it for the beer.