I’m spending most of the month of July visiting family in Oregon, and I’ve got a little bit of work that I’m doing out here too. I’ve already spent a good amount of time at my favorite bars and breweries. It turns out that my pals in the Springs wanted to come along for part of the trip as well. Grant, Leah, Isaac, and Daniel all came out and spent four days. I showed them some good bars and good spots and wanted to send you all our photo recap. I’ll continue posting my adventures as well. But we’ll start with Horse Brass Pub…
Horse Brass Pub
Horse Brass is my favorite bar/pub of all time. When I lived in Oregon I was here a few times a week, and during grad school it was my favorite place to go and talk about my studies. My thesis exhibition was about how the pub is a true place of education, and Horse Brass was a major influence in my work. It’s been a tradition that whenever I visit, I get straight off the plane and head to Horse Brass, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. So, when my friends showed up a few days after I had arrived, I gave them the same treatment.
Horse Brass has a dark atmosphere with nooks where you can get involved in some good drinking and conversation. There’s also a few open areas where you can throw some darts and entertain a slightly larger group. There are two menus – the regular menu with about 30 beers that are on tap at all times, and the ‘guest tap’ menu with thirty-plus more beers of rotating taps that won’t be seen for a while once they disappear. In any given night, a few beers will be crossed off that menu and new ones added, and the menu changes almost daily. You are served 20oz beers for about $5, with no sales tax. Yep, no joke. The staff is endlessly knowledgeable about the beers, which are all served poured to the top with proper temperatures. You may be surprised by the amount of pale ales and IPA’s on the menu but after being in Oregon for a while it begins to make sense. This is a place that has fallen into an endless devotion and exploration of hoppy and bitter beers that have no match anywhere else in the country.
Needless to say, we all had a great time. My friends/family in Oregon got along quite well with my friends from Colorado Springs.
|Isaac went undefeated that night in darts.|
Bagby Hot Springs
Another of my favorite places is the Bagby Hot Springs, located about an hour SW of Portland, in some old-growth areas of the Mt. Hood National Forest. You hike about 45 minutes through an old forest before coming to the lush springs, passing waterfalls and lots of large trees. The place is not commercialized at all, and thanks to some hippie folks there are communal and private tubs made from wood where you can treat yourself to hours of uninterrupted and luxurious bathing. The temperature of the water is 130 degrees, so you have to add cool water from a nearby stream to get the temperature of your choice.
We made sure to bring a nice load of unfamiliar beers, some old favorites, and some wine. A couple great new ones included the Caldera IPA (which I’ve had but others haven’t) and the Church Key, which comes in a steel can and requires a church key opener. We spent a few hours in the springs, some of that time we were alone. We did a few spinoff hikes from there
Hair of the Dog
Hair of the Dog is a beer geek heaven. They are one of the first breweries in the US that aged their beers, and this was a major focus of theirs starting when they opened in 1994. They are masters at barrel aging, producing beers that are deeply complex and absolutely lovely for sipping. We all ordered samples of their regular line-up, and we splurged a little when we saw their bottle list, containing vintage beers that had been aged in various barrels. These were phenomenal, one of my most memorable vintage beer tastings ever and a whole lot of fun. We each went in one bottle. Here’s a list of what we tried:
Fred From the Wood 2007 – American Strong Ale aged in oak barrels for at least 6 months.
Cherry Adam from the Wood 2009 – A smokey old ale aged with cherries in oak barrels.
Matt 2010 – Commemorative ale aged in bourbon and apple eau de vie barrels.
Michael 2009 – Flanders Style Red Sour.
This seems like a good place to stop for now. Soon I’ll show you photos from our visit to Cascade Barrel House and other places. As I right this, I’m gearing up to head to Upright Brewing, I have a Beers Made By Walking meeting with the brewer there. We also visited my all-time favorite brewery, Double Mountain and we went to the Pelican Brewpub on the coast too. Not only that, but I’m still here for a few weeks. So, stay tuned, and thanks for having patience while the updates on the blog are a little sparser than normal.