Portland Beer Tour

Part two of my presentation was a led tour of Portland Beers. The logistics of the tour were quite frightening, so we had to limit the group size to 10. The queue filled up quickly, and I forgot to pick up the list to make sure there weren’t any impostors in the group. We met in the Lobby, and there were 10 people, none of which admitted to not being on the list. So we left.

First stop was Full Sail Riverside in the McCormick & Schmick Harborside. Yes, technically Full Sail is from Hood River, but they also have a brewery on site that brews the brewmaster releases – which are excellent. Amazingly, all twelve (Michelle joined me) were seated easily and grabbed a pint. I had the Sunspot IPA on Cask, and damn if that wasn’t a great beer. It was actually my first visit to the pilsner room and I am definitely going back. The selection was great, and I think a menu or two might have been liberated for the purpose of showing off to friends when the conference goers returned home. From the Riverside we walked to the terminus of the Streetcar line and hopped a ride north to Rogue.

The Pilsner Room was happy to accommodate 10 or more, but I was a little concerned finding another pace that could do that on a Saturday night. Henry’s and Rogue were my next picks because they were both within the fare-less square and were large enough for a group. So I called Rogue to see what we could do. As luck would have it, the Tiki room was open and they saved it for us, so when we rolled in, wet and thirsty, we had a place to sit around a gorgeous hardwood surfboard table. The beer was great, which surprised no one, and a few people got samplers, others picked up pints, and others still were surprised when the beer they ordered showed up in a 10oz glass …. until they took the first sip. I think everyone was pleased with their beer. Somehow, we missed the official 7pm end of the tour and pushed on through to 8pm before we decided to get some dinner. The lure of 100 taps and good food brought us to Henry’s, but the 2-3 hour wait and absolute lack of standing room pushed us out. So, we walked to the streetcar, rode for only one stop, then walked down to Rock Bottom, which seemed like the most logical place to get dinner for 9 people (we had burgeoned to 16 at one point as phone calls were made revealing our location).

I’ve not been to Rock Bottom for 3 years, but they were a little crowded because of a Ducks game, but there was room to have beer in the bar while we waited for seating. The group was quite willing to have a beer and wait, and the wait was surprisingly short. They had a dry-hopped IPA on cask ( “Hoppy Daze”) that was excellent, and the food was good. The group had become old friends by this point, and dinner was a lot of fun. We finished around 11:30, only 4 and a half hours after the tour officially ended, and the group all seemed to think this was the best session of the conference. So at least 2% of the conference got a chance to taste Beervana.

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