Have thirst, will travel

Mike Buhler
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Beer adventures in Portland, Ore.

Who likes to travel? Even if you don’t like to travel you may want to rethink that if you have any interest in seeing what’s out there in the big world of beer.

Beard Beer from Rogue Brewing in Portland, Ore.

There are places you can land and find more variety than you even knew existed in the world; Portland, Ore., is one of those places.

For example: as I write this I am sitting in a funky place called Velo Cult which is a combination bike shop and bar. Finally someone had the great idea of combining two of my favourite things.

Not only do they have 12 taps to choose from and a decent bottle list, but they sell bicycles and a great range of accessories, too.

For me the coolest feature is their collection of vintage bicycles, in particular early examples of the classic mountain bike builders. The vibe is super chill with an equally funky clientele on a Friday evening. This is my kind of place and if I lived here this would be my local.

Last night one of my coworkers and I went to a place called Bailey’s Taproom which is pretty strictly a beer bar as they don’t sell food.

One of the most interesting things besides a really nice beer selection is the electronic billboard that tells you what’s on tap. It’s wired to the kegs as it will show you how much beer is in the keg; when one is flashing low level red you know you’d better try one soon or it will be empty. The other fun bit on the board is the stream of Untappd online social media for beer geek members checking in from there.

My cousin lives in Portland and she took me on a cruise around to check out some more places.

Occidental is a small new brewery that specializes in German styles and I had their Lucubrator wheat doppelbock aged for 30 days in bourbon barrels — it was a nice beer.

After that we went to check out another funky little spot called Captured By Porches which is housed in an old school bus.

Totally a neighbourhood brewery, it has a heated 20x20 tent out front, a couple of food trucks parked on one side and a farmers’ market on the other. McMenimans is a chain that buys historical properties and renovates them true to the era and puts their brand of bar/restaurant in there for a good vibe.

Rogue Brewing has long been a favourite of mine largely due to their sense of humour and, of course, their beer. Again, my cousin was kind enough to drive me to the original brewery to fulfill my historical bent and get a few more stamps in my Rogue Nation Passport. Fun.

As you can imagine the selection of beer available is large and there are options for everyone. Personally, I like to try new twists on style to see if I can figure out what the brewer is trying to tell me as I sip my beer.

This trip had a few good ones to spark the imagination.

How about Ballast Point’s Habanero Sculpin IPA?

As the name implies it is brewed with those hot peppers and the beer does not disappoint as it gives a nice heat that warms you up for awhile.

Another really strange one is Rogue Brewing’s Beard Beer, which is a blond beer brewed using yeast they cultivated from the head brewer’s beard; as you might imagine it creates a funny picture in your head while you’re drinking it.

The options are endless here. Is it time for you to book a plane ticket?


Mike Buhler is a certified cicerone.

Email him at mike@beerthief.ca,

or check out beerthief.ca for information

on beer club offerings.

Geographic location: Portland, Ore., Portland

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