Updated Aug 6, 2012 - 12:44 pm
A Tale of Limeys and Yanks in Beervana
Recently, some friends and I hosted a group of Englishmen for a week leading up to a joyous beach union of a true English gentleman, and his lovely American bride. As we pondered where we should take them in the Pacific Northwest once they had explored the great Emerald City, the answer landed on us like a two ton bushel of fresh hops; Portland. Stumptown, City of Roses, Bridgetown, Beervana, PDX, regardless which nickname you choose, Portland was the obvious choice for a international delegation of beer lovers to spend 24 hours exploring.
Once we crossed the border between Washingon and Oregon, we wasted no time finding delicious beer; Hopworks Urban Brewery, aka HUB. We chose the Bike Bar in North Portland, and found it to be exactly what we were hoping to find. Beautiful outdoor seating, fantastic beer, delicious food, and a server with more tattoos than a Maory warrior. We started with two pitchers, the Survival 7-Grain Stout, a rich and creamy beer bursting with nutty, coffee flavors, and the HUB Lager, a Bohemian Pils which is at the top of my best lager list.
With a crew of ten Americans and Englishmen, we decided it would be best to go with a few pizzas. When the giant, cheesy, meaty pies arrived the five Americans dished up and began inhaling the delicious slices. After a few bites I realized that a couple of the Englishmen seemed to be waiting for something before they indulged in lunch. After a minute or two, one of them exclaimed in shock, "Where's the coleslaw?"
"Coleslaw?" I asked, a little confused.
"You have to have coleslaw with pizza."
Once our tatted up Portland-to-the-core server wrapped his head around coleslaw on pizza and brought us a few sides, my confusion was laid to rest and I found the combination of cool creamy cole-slaw and hot melted cheese to be refreshing and complementary.
After a few more pitchers of Lager, we settled up and headed down the street to Lompoc Fifth Quad Bar, which shares a city block with HUB. The Fifth Quad bar has much more of a tavern feel than HUB, but the quality of beer is on par.
The seasonal saison is funky and spicy, the Kick Axe Pale is crisp and slightly fruity, and the Proletariat Red is as good as they come. Fifth Quad offered us a break from the sun, and a few moments to discuss American beer, English beer, CAMRA, homebrewing, pub culture, and everything in between.
The final stop before things started to get fuzzy was Burnside Brewing Company. Back into the sun, I ordered up pepper wheat, a spicy wheat beer with just the right heat to flavor ratio. It's pretty rare that I find a pepper beer that I enjoy from first sip to final drop, but this was one.
We departed Portland the next morning with delicious flavors still on our lips and hangovers in our heads.
The following weekend was the beach wedding where more beer was quaffed, the dance floor was well used, and across-the-pond love was on the wind. It was a wonderful wedding and a fantastic opportunity to get to show some out of towners what life is like in the Pacific Northwest.
I love Seattle, but Portland will always hold a small portion of my heart...and my liver.
PS. Congrats to Molly and Adam!
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