A Beer Tour of NW Portland

Ok, so maybe we didn’t try everything this city has to offer, but between hanging out with Jess and Matt Saturday night and then Economo and Danielle’s visit over the weekend we happily found time to taste the fine brews at McMenamins (Blue Moon to be exact), Laurelwood, Lompoc, Rogue, Bridgeport and Deschutes. Here’s a quick breakdown of what we thought of each place:

Blue Moon – We’ve been to McMenamin’s places on many occasions as both Blue Moon and Ram’s Head are within a few blocks of our apartment. Good beer there with the Hammerhead IPA being my favorite.

Lompoc – Just one beer here with dinner on Friday night. The Centennial IPA was quite good, but I want to try some more before giving too much commentary.

Laurelwood – The closest provider of local beer to our apartment, Laurelwood is just great. I’ve previously noted the quality of the Hop Monkey IPA, but my favorite there is the Workhorse IPA. Still an IPA but at 7.5% and with a lighter build, it’s an easy drink to enjoy. I’d also recommend the Hooligan which is sort of an English-style brew that is lighter on hops and smooth.

Laurelwood's Hooligan and Workhorse IPAs.

Laurelwood's Hooligan and Workhorse IPA.

Rogue – Even our friends on the East coast should know of at least Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale. My grandfather even drinks it from time to time. But the beauty of Rogue’s public house in the Pearl is that they have damn near everything to choose from. Mike enjoyed a Kell’s Irish Ale, Morgen had the Honey Orange Wheat and I put down a Smoke Ale. The Smoke was very good partly because the smokiness was nowhere near as intense as the most famous smoke beer, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier. Though I enjoy the Bamberg specialty, Rogue’s version was much easier to drink and not as repugnant to those around me.

MAO and Eck at Rogue in a classic shot.

MAO and Eck at Rogue in a classic shot.

Rogue's light and refreshing Honey Orange Wheat. Note the glass for Rogue's Yellow Snow Ale, a winter seasonal brew I think.

Rogue's light and refreshing Honey Orange Wheat. Note the glass for Rogue's Yellow Snow Ale, a winter seasonal brew I think.

Bridgeport – Bridgeport is the oldest microbrewery in Oregon and is located in an old rope factory in the Pearl. Danielle ordered their location-appropriate brew, the Ropewalk ale and was very pleased. The rest of us turned to a sampler to try everything available in eight small glasses. Mike and Morgen really enjoyed the Black Strap Stout and I couldn’t help but like the Blue Herron Pale Ale. Bridgeport also featured a seasonal IPA that was similarly fantastic. Though I was the only one to really like that one because of its extremely high IBU count.

Eight-beer sampler at Bridgeport. Sorry for the blurriness.

Eight-beer sampler at Bridgeport. Sorry for the blurriness.

Deschutes – This Bend, Oregon brewery has a nice, large brew pub in the Pearl not too far from Powell’s Books. We decided to get a sampler at Deschutes and were happy to learn that we could pick whatever we wanted. That meant we could get reserve brews and specialties instead of their normal fare (which to be fair is quite good). Of particular note was the Red Chair IPA and the extra-special Black Butte XXI, Deschutes’ twenty-first anniversary porter.

Our happy foursome at Deschutes in the rain.

Our happy foursome at Deschutes in the rain.

Deschutes' sampler, a fine range of choices.

Deschutes' sampler, a fine range of choices.

So there you have it. A few choices if you’re in NW Portland and looking for a good beer or several. There are myriad happy hours and seasonal, specialty and craft brews that come along so the choices nearby are always changing.

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