Barley Mowat 

Archive for the ‘Breweries’ Category

Back and Alive (Sort of)

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Well, I’m back. Despite some train-related technical difficulties on the way down that required me to become vastly more familiar with the Tacoma Amtrak station than really any one man should be, the weekend was a success. I will get the big summary of my Portland adventures up later this week (once I have a chance to sort through all the pics), but here’s a short summary.

Portland: The Coles Notes Version

Highlight: Upright Brewing tasting room. Upright just scattered some tables and chairs around their basement brewery and started pouring beers. The result is exactly the sort of cosy brewery experience I was looking for, complete with a self-guided tour around their fairly modest facilities.

Lowlight: My trip coincided with Portland’s Zwickelmania, so the normally placid minor breweries were crammed full of beer tourists. Granted, they’re a friendly lot, but even so having 150 people in Hair of the Dog was a bit too much.

Best Beer: A split between Upright Brewing’s one-off Melange Solide and Cascade’s excellent Vlad the Imp Aler.

Worst Beer: Dogfish Head World Wide Stout. Not because it was bad. The exact opposite. This is a damned tasty stout, but because I didn’t do my homework and forgot it’s an 18% ABV brew and had it at the end of the night (no ABV on the bottle didn’t help). Oh well, at least I slept well.

That’s it for now. More details, including tips for planning your next trip to Beer Mecca, coming in a day or two.

Written by chuck

February 22nd, 2011 at 12:26 pm


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A time comes in every beer geek’s life when s/he must make a pilgrimage to that holy centre of all that is good in barley-land. Yes, my friends, I’m talking Portland. Not just about Portland, but about going to Portland.

I am making that pilgrimage (for the second time, as it turns out), which you would already know if you’ve been within ten feet of me recently or started a conversation with me randomly on the street:

“Excuse me, do you have the time?”
“Nope, but I DO know what time it is in Portland! Because I’m going there!”
“Sorry, what?”
“To Portland! Me! Portland! WOOOOOOOOOO!!! Yeah!”
“B-but, you have a watch. I can see it on your wrist! Couldn’t you just lo-“
“Did you know that Portland has more breweries than ALL OF BC! It’s TRUE!”
“OK, fine. What time is it in Portland? Same timezone, right?”
“I don’t know. How could I know that?”
“You just sa-“
“Well, yeah, I know what time it is in Portland three weeks from now when I’m there, just not now. Cuz I’m not there yet.”
“Please help me.”
“Tell me, my friend, have you heard the Good Word about Portland’s BrewPubs?”
“Oh fuck off.”

That river is basically pure beer.

OK, so I’m a bit excited. Justifiably so, since Portland is about 10-15 years ahead of BC in terms of craft beer. Go over to Google and search for “Portland Breweries” to get an idea of what I mean. No, actually, don’t. You’ll be too engrossed to remember to come back here and jack up my Google Adsense revenue (those are on, right? I mean, people other than me see banner ads for free iPads everywhere? You do? Cool).

So where should I go and what should I do? Well, I’ve been planning, and here are few highlights.

  • Bailey’s Taproom – Sure, the Alibi has more taps and casks, but imagine if there was no border and thus no silly import laws between Nigel and the best breweries in the US
  • Hair of the Dog Brewing – Widely regarded as one of the best breweries in the US, and thus world. Oh, and about a 10m walk from my hotel
  • Cascade Brewing Barrel House – Like sour beer? How about a whole pub dedicated to produce sour, barrel aged versions of their normal beers? (which are in an entirely different bar across town)
  • Upright Brewing – Sadly Alex will be in San Fran the weekend I’m there, but it’s still nice to visit the source of 50% of my cellar’s contents
  • Belmont Station – Gotta bring some beer home, don’t I–8.5 litres for me, and 8.5 litres for Sharon… also for me 🙂 Go look at their list. LOOK at it. Then realize they have a tasting room as well. Belmont Station is a prime example of why I hate the BC Liquor Control Board
  • Horse Brass Pub – As solid a watering hole as could be imagined

This is a real thing that happens in Portland. At a bar.

I’ll also be stopping by Rogue, Deschutes, Widmer and making several runs to the Pearl District Whole Foods, who have a beer selection that would instantly be the best in BC if it were here. In a grocery store. Well, not really. They’d be the best for a few minutes before the BCLCB shock troops stormed in and shut them down. Can’t sell booze and food in the same place! People might… uh… really not sure where they’re going with this one.

So, am I missing anything? I want to keep fairly close to downtown or within walking distance. Any suggestions from beer-land?

Written by chuck

February 3rd, 2011 at 11:31 am

Okay, Okay, I’ll Review Some Beer

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I’ve finally cracked, and will put individual beer reviews up for your consideration. However, I won’t update the main page here with my thoughts, but rather keep my malty musings of the variety “beer good, you drink” over here.

As you all know, I’m a fan of folk making up their own mind about such things as beer, so I’ll keep it simple. I’ll either say to skip a beer, drink it, or consider replacing your blood with its sweet amber nectar. That’s it. The ratebeer’s of the world can have beer ratings down to 1/1000 of a point accuracy.

Written by chuck

November 25th, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Posted in Beer and You,Beers