Portland’s Brew – The Craft Beer Scene

DSC_0065Part 1 – by Bryan Meisel

Nestled under constant cover of clouds, one can find the Hedgehouse, a South East Portland institution. The converted house has a number of picnic tables out front where West Coast hipsters can be seen frolicking in their natural environment. A typical patron here might be wearing a flannel shirt to accompany his handlebar moustache and American Spirit Cigarette (ironically, of course). Regardless of how hip Hedgehouse’s customers are, they serve up good beer… and lots of it.

As fiends for a good microbrew, we tried eight different beers and picked out three of Lompoc’s finest to recommend to you:

  1. The “LSD”, or the Lompoc Special Draft, was my personal favorite as it has a distinct copper color. Additionally, I found it to be quite dynamic, as it manages to be smoky, sweet and malty all at once.
  2. We both liked the Kick Axe Pale Ale, which I would recommend for one of Portland’s summer days. It is flowery and light with hints of citrus, specifically grapefruit.
  3. Our third choice was the ACONSY-Y IPA, which is made with meridian hops. This light IPA is maltier and less hoppy than most, and stuck out to us because of its distinct taste of apples and citrus.

For more information about Lompoc beers, visit http://www.lompocbrewing.com/index.html.  Hedgehouse is located at 3412 SE Division Street.

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Part 2 – by Ariel Sultan

On day 2 of our beer hunting extravangza, we made our second stop into Hair of the Dog. Started in 1993 by Jesse Shue and Alan Sprints, they emerged on the Southeast side of Portland as some of the early craft brewers to produce high alcohol content in their beers.

I couldn’t help but order the flight for a tempting price of $8. This included (from light to dark) Greg, Blue Dot, Fred, and Adam. Shue and Sprints purposefully named each beer after people that inspire them.

  1. The Greg is an organic pilsner malt, filled with bursts of winter squash. It was brewed specifically for Greg Higgin’s restaurant in Portland called Higgins. I found it to be an easy-drinking beer with mild hoppyness.
  2. Blue Dot, named after planet Earth (the only blue dot in the universe), brought on the hops, being that it was double IPA. It was full of flavor, ranging from citrus, honey, and a bitter dry finish.
  3. The golden ale, Fred, contains a delicious mixture of rye and Belgian candi sugar. The beer was named after legendary beer writer and historian, Fred Eckhardt.
  4. Finally, we end with the beginning… Adam. It was Hair on the Dog’s first beer creation at a whopping 10% ABV.  For not being a big dark beer fan, this one was absolutely enjoyable: full of rich chocolaty and smoky notes. I’m sure you can guess what inspired this name.

To see more about their beers and hanging at their brewery: http://www.hairofthedog.com/. It is definitely a worthwhile stop.

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Part 3 – by Bryan Meisel

On our last night in the PDX, we decided we needed to indulge ourselves in some great beer just one last time. After dinner, we headed over to Rogue’s bar in the Pearl District of NW Portland.  This area of Portland is very swanky and a little more adult than the younger, hipper Portland. It can be found East of the river. Just like the neighborhood, Rogue is a little more grown up, having gained international recognition and distribution as far as New York City. When we walked in, our palates were ready to judge. We ordered Rogue’s sampler, which came in four small cups. It neatly fit into a serving platter in the shape of a baseball bat. Here’s what we tried…

  1. The Morimoto Soba Ale was light, yet fairly enjoyable. The nose was quite malty, yet the beer left us with a hoppy aftertaste. This ale had strong flavors of fall fruits, such as green apples and lemons.
  2. My personal favorite was the Dead Guy Ale, which was sweet, smooth and malty. The draft was really nutty, but had undertones of pears and walnuts.
  3. We decided to pick two that were a little different for our third and fourth beers, so beer number three was the Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout. This dark and filling beer had strong flavors of coffee, brown sugar, milk chocolate and oats. I enjoyed this, but would only recommend it to people who know they really like a dark, sweet and heavy beer. (Maybe try Brooklyn Brewery’s Chocolate Stout before venturing to this beer.)
  4. Our last beer was by far the most unusual beer I have ever had (and I am a beer blogger!) The Chipotle Ale looks innocent enough in the glass, as it has an amber/rust colored tint; however, on first taste it is really spicy! After the initial shock of the spice disappears, the beer leaves a Smokey after taste on your tongue that literally tastes like chipotle sauce. While I wouldn’t indulge in this beer, both of us thought it might be a good idea to cook with it. If you have any ideas, tweet at @foodguruchannel.

I am glad I went to Rogue and actually bought a bottle of their Barleywine to take home, although I have yet to indulge myself. Anyone who is interested in trying Rogue’s weird, yet cool beers can visit their location at 1339 NW Flanders, or visit their website at http://rogue.com/.

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