This was our third wonderful trip to Portland. “Beervana” indeed. Another case of waaaaay too much to do and not enough time. In fact, I got a bit overloaded towards the end. Too much of a good thing is a good problem to have…?
This is another post dug out of my personal Facebook account — too good to be left in the walled garden! AFAIK, all the places I visited are still open, so all this info still applies today if you thinking of planning a trip. The one exception is Amnesia Brewing, whose brewpub location got sold and the brewery moved to Washington State (more details here).
- Pine State Biscuits
- The Mash Tun
- Upright Brewing
- Whiskey Soda Lounge
- Pok Pok
- Nong’s Khao Man Gai
- Podnah’s Pit
- Breakside Brewery
- Bailey’s Taproom
- Nong’s Khao Man Gai – Second Visit
- Bailey’s Taproom – Second Visit
- Ruby Jewel Scoops
- Hair of the Dog
- Apizza Scholls
- Amnesia Brewing (NOW SOMETHING ELSE)
- Saraveza Bottle Shop & Pasty Tavern
- Alameda Brewing
- Mi Mero Mole
- Beer Mongers
- Luc Lac Vietnamese
- Saraveza Bottle Shop & Pasty Tavern – Second Visit
Pine State Biscuits
Lining up at Pine State Biscuits, as featured on Unique Eats, DDD, etc. This was around 12:30 and they close at 2:00. They have weird breakfast/lunch-only hours. I’d love to eat here for dinner or late-nite snacks!
$4 for pint of beer?! It’s not even happy hour?! Yes please!! And many different kinds of biscuit sandwiches, most of which involve fried chicken.
Snuck a shot of the baking section of the kitchen.
Everybody’s Country Boy IPA. Easy drinkin’ IPA. Floral, citrus, little bit sweet to balance. Good first Portland beer!
“The McIsley ($6) – Fried chicken with pickles, mustard & honey”
Great combination of flavours! The honey goes with the chicken, the honey goes with the mustard, and the honey even goes with the pickles and it all goes together! Wilhelmina didn’t like the idea of honey in a savoury dish.
Side of collard greens for the hell of it. Nothing special.
Wilhelmina’s “The Chatfield ($7) – Fried chicken, bacon and cheese topped with apple butter”
Cross-section of Wilhelmina’s Chatfield. Thin, crispy batter on the chicken, moist meat inside. She loved it. Didn’t even complain about having to eat cheese.
JJ’s “Reggie Deluxe ($8) – The Reggie with an egg”. The basic Reggie has “fried chicken, bacon & cheese topped with gravy”. That gravy looked and tasted heavenly.
I had to knife-n-fork mine. Best biscuits I’ve ever tried. Crumbly, soft, light yet firm enough to hold without disintegrating in your hands.
The Mash Tun
This place was just beside Pine State Biscuits. I had never heard of it during my research for this trip. That would be for a good reason, as we’d later find out.
Tight selection of house beers plus a few guest taps. The place was pretty dead though. Another sign.
Six glasses of mediocrity. JJ detected unclean flavours. I actually enjoyed the “Samuel Jackson”, the cloudy-looking pale ale (second from the left). Their Summit IPA (third from the right) was interesting but the balance was off. Eh. The porter (second from the right) was rich but just ok. Overall a mediocre experience. But luckily we just shared this tasting flight so it didn’t hit the stomach or pocketbook too hard.
We found Upright Brewing! It’s located in a semi-industrial/office area with not much else in the vicinity.
You have to go into this commercial-looking building and take the elevator to the basement.
$1.50 for 5oz tasters??! What a deal! They were out of olives but at least we got pork rinds
Bottle prices are good but not as cheap as I thought they would be. Seems beer on tap in Portland is the cheapest option. Usually about half of what we pay for beer on tap in Vancouver. Bottle prices are closer to our prices, surprisingly. Although 6-packs in supermarkets can be quite cheap, eg. $8 for US craft 6-packs that would be almost double here.
Flights! Bottom row (L-R): Upright 4, 5, 6, 7 and Engelberg Pils. Top row: Safe as Milk IPA, Alt, Saison Du Blodgett and Reggae Junkie Gruit.
4-7: Very tasty! Different from the 1-3 month-old bottles that we get in BC…I guess fresher tasting? But still awesome either way, in bottles or on tap. The bottles might be a bit more bubbly than tap, but this stuff still had plenty of bubbly mouthfeel.
The Pils was really clean and crisp. Quite good as far as all the pilsners I’ve tried so far.
Saison Du Blodgett was really tart but refreshing. Even more tart than Upright’s regular beers.
The Safe as Milk IPA was…interesting. I probably would drink it again just cuz it’s Upright but it was kinda watery without much of a malt backbone.
The Altbier was the surprise of the day! Reminds me of roasted barley tea. The guy running the taproom said they use a lager yeast but ferment at ale temperatures? Not sure if that’s what defines an “Alt” but we all enjoyed it. Way better than all the other Alts we tried later during this trip.
Pork rinds, the perfect accompaniment to our beers.
The taproom is only open for five hours Friday-Sunday, so this was our only opportunity to try it. I’m SO glad we did!
This was the guy running the taproom that day. He does the bottle design and also bunch of other stuff around the brewery. I later learned that he was Ezra AKA Samurai Artist and runs The New School beer blog. Nice guy but I didn’t see him smile the whole time we were there. You know people who aren’t mean, but just don’t smile a whole lot?
On this trip, I brought six bottles of Driftwood Fat Tug IPA to give out to people that I thought were doing great work and brewing great beers. I gave this guy a bottle. He seemed as thankful and excited as he could probably ever get.
Best saison/farmhouse style beers I’ve had on tap, ever!
Towards the end of our drinking session at Upright, this banjo player comes in and starts setting up and playing. Apparently he performs in the taproom every Sunday.
The beers alone make this dank basement a must visit!
Waiting for Pok Pok
Pok Pok is one of the many Portland institutions. Busy as hell. There was an 1.5 hour wait for our table. They told us we could wait at their lounge across the street, the Whiskey Soda Lounge.
We decided to check out the “D Street Noshery”, a food cart pod across the street from Pok Pok.
*NOTE: D Street Noshery closed in October 2012.
Probably not as good as Pine State Biscuits but we couldn’t find out cuz they were closed.
Lots of nice carts with cool graphics.
Beers in Portland are cheap cheap cheap! And speaking of “cheap cheap cheap”, there’s our first “bird on it” spotting!
Cool/scary soda machine.
Whiskey Soda Lounge
Killing time at Whiskey Soda Lounge.
Restaurants in Portland are so cool, with their exposed beams and ventilation.
Whiskey Soda Lounge features thai-inspired nibbles that go with beer and whiskey.
Shrimp chips. A notch above the crappy coloured shrimp chips that have no shrimp content. Not as good as the deluxe Indonesian kind.
Roasted dried squid with a sweet spicy chili sauce.
Crispy fried pig’s ears with an awesome black vinegar dipping sauce. We also ordered their fried pork chitlins (intestines) but our table at Pok Pok was ready and we just cancelled the order. Maybe next time.
I also had a beer, Double Mountain’s Vaporizer Pale Ale. Decent, good body, flavour on the light, easy-to-drink side, which is what a pale ale should be. I’ve actually had this beer a few more times since this trip back home in Vancouver and I’m really growing to love it’s easy-drinking yet delicious nature.
I would definitely make Whiskey Soda Lounge a destination of its own, apart from Pok Pok…just chill with a drink and a bunch of nibbles…hopefully chitlins!
Finally we got into Pok Pok! Here’s their famous Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings. Sweet, salty and carmelized on the outside and juicy on the inside.
Grilled eggplant salad. The usual Thai flavours of spicy, sweet, salty, sour. I liked it.
Pork belly and shoulder curry. Rich, tasty, a favourite at the table. There’s actually more meat that it appears.
Absolutely delicious stewed duck leg.
Cold rice vermicelli noodle/salad type thingy. Contains pineapple, ginger, green mango, dried shrimp, chilies and coconut cream. Menu said this was a recipe from famous chef David Thompson, who ran the first Thai restaurant to get a Michelin star.
Boar collar meat…
…served with chilled mustard greens.
Sticky rice and plain jasmine rice to go with our entrees.
Coconut Ice Cream Sandwich. Wilhelmina liked it.
I had an Anderson Valley Hop Ottin IPA. It was adequate with my food but on its own was meh. I haven’t been a huge fan of Anderson Valley beers.
The food at Pok Pok is powerfully delicious. Intense morsels of food best eaten with lumps of rice. Highly recommended food destination!
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
Getting some morning latte at Stumptown.
We took the free downtown streetcar to our next food stop.
One of our other favourite food spots in Portland, Nong’s Khao Man Gai. First time we tried it, it was at the original downtown street cart location. This one’s their new PSU (Portland State University) location with an expanded menu.
Chicken skins! I wonder what they’re like?
Nong’s PSU location is located on a block with a ton of other street food carts. Looked like a sea of mediocrity.
Natural Oregon pork braised in cola, cocoa powder and Thai/Chinese herbs and spices. Deeply delicious!
The chicken skins are like the chicken version of pork cracklings. Skin plus fat deep fried until crispy/crunchy.
The pork was served with pickled mustard greens and a boiled egg. One order was enough for the both of us to share.
I loved these chicken skins so much, we’d come back later to buy some to go with beers.
Cacao! How can any Portland business use the word “cacao” non-ironically anymore?
Decently priced find at Whole Foods. This watermelon beer is less sweet than Parallel 49′s Seedspitter Ale, which is a good thing
The king of barbecue places in Portland, Podnah’s Pit! http://podnahspit.com/ They relocated to a bigger and nicer space a bit north of their previous location.
We ended up getting the Green Chile Mac and the Green Beans.
Their daily taps. We tried the Amnesia Alt. It was ok but we think Podnah’s doesn’t clean their tap lines often enough because it tasted unclean.
Table sauces: mustard, vinegar, bbq sauce and honey.
Full Sail Session Black Lager. Decent roasty black lager. Only $2.75 for this cute stubby bottle!
This is “The Pitboss”, a selection of brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs, sausage and two sides for only $21.25!!! And this is all high quality, natural meat!
Full rack of 12 ribs for $33. Look at that smoke ring action! Meat still had the right amount of bite to it. We couldn’t finish this and had to pack some away.
I always hit this place when I come to Portland and recommend it to people all the time
Breakside Brewery, one of our Portland favourites. Just a bit north of Podnah’s Pit. They’re a fairly new brewery but buzz has been great. Located in a converted garage.
Nice selection of usual suspects plus interesting experiments you don’t see very often, if at all. First time I’ve seen/tried a Cedarbaumbier.
Great service and vibe here. I gave them a bottle of Fat Tug IPA
L-R: Wit, Dry Stout, Passionfruit Berlinerweiss, IPA, Session Brown, Smoked Porter.
Wit was clean, citrusy, and the carbonation was spot-on.
Dry Stout was a very nice session stout. Gently roastiness and dry.
Passionfruit Berlinerweiss – subtle passionfruit smell, tart tart tart, not much else…vinegary. Meh.
IPA – awesome aroma, fruity, sweet, grapefruit. Taste was piney and fruity. Dry bitter finish with a touch of astringency.
Session Brown – Ok. Hint of chocolate on the nose. Good for a session beer but not overly complex or interesting.
Smoked Porter – Ugh, didn’t like it at first cuz of the acrid smokiness but it got better after a few more sips.
Not shown: Cedarbaumbier – Smells very much like cedar. Taste has a hint of sweet. It’s an amber ale brewed with cedar tips.
Dark Stout Chocolate Brownie. A huge mound of awesome. Tastes as good as it looks. Just stick a spoon into it and enjoy. Great with my stout and interesting with the IPA.
I like their logo. Makes me wanna kick back and enjoy. I so want to come back and try their famous burgers, medium-rare please!
At every beer place in Portland where we had paddles, they pour them VERY clean! I wish Alibi Room and St. Augustine’s would do this. Look at how dry that paddle is! Not a drop!! I think that’s why Alibi Room sometimes stinks like old beer, cuz they drip everywhere. Or maybe it’s the inebriated hipsters just spilling their precious double IPAs everywhere
Bailey’s Taproom in downtown Portland. One of the premier beer bars in Portland.
We don’t have anything like this in Vancouver. This place just serves 20 beers on tap and no food. You’re allowed to bring in your own food or order food from the mexican place across the street and have it delivered to you here. Vancouver scene could absolutely use a place like this, but I’m afraid the concept is too wild for our outdated legislation to deal with.
Stone had syrupy maltiness but balanced by an arresting bitterness and dryness. Masterful. JJ liked its smoothness. Does NOT taste like a 10% ale. Ignore the BeerAdvocate reviews, I thought this beer tasted awesome for that moment in time when we drank it.
Upright Yusef was tart, funky. Reminds me of Jolly Pumpkin beers. I’d need to pair with food if I was gonna drink any more of this one.
Great setup with the TV showing their taps and how much is left in the keg. They also have one cask and one nitro. I love this place! We’d be back the next day…
Nong’s Khao Man Gai – Second Visit
Another trip to Nong’s Khao Man Gai! This time we got an extra large chicken rice with chicken liver. Comes wrapped in paper.
That soup on the left was awesome as well.
I just love the mixture of all the flavours. The moist poached chicken, the sandy livers, the super hot thai chilies, the sweet/salty/spicy sauce, the fragrant rice and the side of cucumbers.
The original Nong’s Khao Man Gai location. Very busy. We didn’t see Nong there though. She’s also got a takeout location east of the river, so she’s “made it” somewhat, I guess Well, enough to have staff at each of her locations.
Bailey’s Taproom – Second Visit
Back to Bailey’s Taproom!
Bartender was helpful and we talked afterwards about saisons and stuff, and he recommended some beers and stores to me. I gave this guy a bottle of Fat Tug IPA.
Knish from Kenny & Zuke’s plus chicken skins from Nong’s.
Perverted bagel dog from Kenny & Zuke’s.
Double Mountain Goliathan (Belgian Dark) – sweet, hint of coffee, good with my bagel dog (coming up).
Bridgeport Witch Hunt Spiced Ale – contains cinnamon and nutmeg. Slight nutmeg and sweet cinnamon on the nose. Subtle, restrained spices on the tongue.
Gilgamesh Vader Cascadian Dark Ale with coffee – Sanka on the nose, subtle coffee taste, roastiness, dry.
Seven Brides Kelley’s Hot Chocolate (Stout with chocolate and peppers) – Spicy, tingly, little sweet. Roasty chocolate smell.
Silver Moon Hopnob IPA – Meh. Long, dry, bitter finish but doesn’t have that balance, spark, je ne sais quois.
Again, super cleanly poured paddle!
Nom nom nom nom nom! So good with the Double Mountain Goliathan!
Surprisingly delicious. I never go for bagel anything but this hit the spot!
Awesome Moylan’s Dragoon Dry Irish Stout on nitro. Big coffee nose, smooth and yummy.
An empty glass is beautiful yet sad.
Ruby Jewel Scoops
Look at how thick that thing is! Wilhelmina got hazelnut dark chocolate with chocolate chip cookies. Tasted like Ferrero Roche!
My “Oregon Strawberry” with double chocolate cookies. It felt so decadent to bite into a massive handful of ice cream and I loved every minute of it.
Pints to go, if you so desire…
Hair of the Dog
The infamous Hair of the Dog Brewery. Located in an industrial area but that doesn’t keep the beer hipsters away.
They had these massive fans going full blast, which blew directly onto our backs/faces. Kinda uncomfortable so we moved around. I guess it can get really hot in here during the summer.
Their “Little Dog”, an English mild. Sessionable type of beer, light body, gingery on the tongue.
My “Walk the Dog” flight. Their beers all have “names” as their name:
Greg – contains winter squash, pilsner malt, and NO hops! Vegetal smell. I just don’t know about this one…
Blue Dot – DIPA. Citrus and funk aroma. Tastes the same.
Fred – golden strong ale with rye. Looks very red for the style…??? Spicy quality with a syrupy body.
Adam – Their first beer that they ever brewed. A dark beer that tastes smoky, roasty, strong.
I dunno, maybe it was how we were all feeling or what, I just didn’t like any of their beers that much. Quite a disappointment considering the following that they have online. They even sell bottles of their older vintages that you MUST consume on-site cuz they don’t want people to resell them for a profit. I can’t see why their beers are coveted so much.
Dinner at another Portland must-try, Apizza Scholls!
Beers. I wanted to try the Double Mountain IPA but they were out, so…
…I settled for a just-ok Anderson Valley Amber. Decent, drinkable but nothing wild.
Excellent spotted crust. It stayed crispy/crackly throughout the night.
Sooo good. Eating here made me feel good about having Pizzeria Farina back home. Different crusts for sure, but taste-wise, Apizza Scholls and Pizzeria Farina do top-notch pies.
Sausage & Pepper. Also excellent. Different from Pizzerina Farina’s finocciona cuz here they use banana peppers instead of sweet peppers.
Again, an awesome bake on that crust. Stayed crispy to the end.
Leftover Apizza Scholls for breakfast!
Nothing like the smell of Stumptown. Even non-coffee drinkers like me can appreciate it.
I wasn’t going to check out this place but I’m glad I did: Amnesia Brewing.
The girl was very nice and generous with the samples!
After trying a few different samples, I went with their awesome Copacetic IPA.
Copacetic IPA on the left, Alt on the right. JJ liked the Alt. To me it had a sweet grain taste. Not bad. But maybe I just don’t like Alts that much.
Copacetic IPA on the other hand, after 1/4 of the glass I grew to absolutely love! It’s got to be the dankest smelling and tasting IPA I’ve ever had. Very different from other PNW IPAs. Dank, resinous smell. Piney, cloudy. Hint of funk. Smells like pot, my burps smelled like pot. In fact, it wasn’t until we sat down on the patio that I smelled the pot and I said, “Are those guys smoking pot?” It was actually my beer! Just awesome.
I gave the girl a bottle of Fat Tug IPA.
Snuck a shot of their facilities. All the magic happens here. Amnesia was middle/bottom on my list but it turned out to be a great surprise. I’d definitely come back here for a cheeseburger and an IPA!
**Unfortunately this place got bought out and is now…something else.
Saraveza Bottle Shop & Pasty Tavern
Another place that was middle of my list but ended up being an absolute favourite. Saraveza Bottle Shop & Pasty Tavern!
There are a few places like this in Portland — a place that sells chilled beer for consumption on-site or to-go, plus a few taps and food. Absolutely unheard of in BC!
Some guy was fresh-hopping his Pliny the Elder at the end of the bar. I just had to take a photo! This guy turned out to be Nick, who worked there. He picked a baggie-full of hops that morning. I saw him open the baggie and pop a hop into his beer and I exclaimed, “Dude, you’re wet-hopping your own beer at a bar?!? That’s awesome!”
Nick threw me the bag of hops and told me to take one. I felt honoured to finally handle a freshly picked hop cone. I popped it into my Laurelwood IIPA, which had a fluffy head, syrupy middle but long dry finish. Not much on the nose but a good IPA, especially paired with my apple sausage.
UUhhmmmmmmmmuuhhh! That’s ecstacy on my face, yes.
To tell you the truth, I couldn’t smell a whole lot coming from the fresh hop, but it was a cool experience. JJ actually took a bite out of the hop and said it tasted like shiso leaves.
I gave them my last bottle of Fat Tug IPA. I would totally come back here again. My idea of a cozy, relaxed neighborhood spot with top notch beer and unfusssy food.s
We checked out smallwares. The chef worked at David Chang’s Momofuku for a bit, so I was hoping to see a bit of the same Asian-influenced cooking.
Apple kimchi! Great stuff. You bite into it thinking it’s gonna taste like radish kimchi but it’s sweet apple!
Oxtail curry. Tasted pretty awesome and authentic for an “inauthentic Asian” restaurant! Came with a side of super-hot scotch bonnet sauce that we were all fascinated with.
My somen noodles. Served warm with fried egg and hijiki seaweed. Not bad. Not *that* exciting though.
JJ’s hanger steak with apricot kimchi. The apricot kimchi was more like a chutney than kimchi. But he enjoyed it.
Passed by Alameda Brewing. You can get a few of their beers in BC now, and also on tap at Portland Craft. This city loves hops as a design element.
Inside Alameda Brewing.
At this point I was feeling too full and uninterested. Most of their beers I could get at home and the seasonal brews didn’t grab me.
P-Town Pilsner – Not very clean, crisp or hoppy tasting. Meh.
Wilshire Wheat – Seriously could not taste anything in this beer. Weak.
Ah well. At least their Yellow Wolf IPA is available back home and is imho their best beer.
Mi Mero Mole
Time for a change of pace. Mi Mero Mole on the east side. A mexican place featuring mexican stews served in tacos, burritos, quesadillas or rice and bean platters. Hearty, big, flavourful yet not salty.
Descriptions of the salsas.
They just cook their housemade tortillas on those small grills but they taste SO GOOD!
Fresh tortilla chips with guac.
Horchata (rice and almond milk) on the left and watermelon-ginger on the right. Both great drinks.
Beef. Tasted like a kicked-up version of some kind of beef stew in a can. But in a good way.
My beef tongue on the left and chicken with green mole on the right. Hearty unsalty flavours. Served with plain black beans and really tasty rice.
Sweet carmelized fried plantains for dessert. Side of sour cream with cinnamon.
The guy at Bailey’s Taproom recommended this beer store called Beer Mongers. This was place awesome! Big bottle selection at good prices, plus beer geeks galore just sitting around drinking bottles and stuff on tap. There needs to be places like this in Vancouver!
Lagunitas Daytime – blonde/straw coloured with a piney smell. Light body. Pleasantly bitter, light. Almost like their version of a summer ale but since I’ve tried it, I probably wouldn’t buy a 6-pack of it. Not as delicious as say, Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale.
Luc Lac Vietnamese
Final Portland meal at Luc Lac Vietnamese!
I had low expectations of this place but I was pleasantly surprised. Taken aback, actually, at how good it was.
Bar guy smashing some ice in a bag.
Bridgeport IPA. Not bad.
Jackfruit colada with mung bean and lychee jellies (the red stuff). So good! Smooth, creamy, could really taste the lychee jellies, perfect amount of sweetness.
Their namesake dish, Luc Lac, which is stir-fried beef cubes with black pepper/lime dipping sauce and side of tomato fried rice. Absolutely excellent. Big chunks of beef, carmelized on the outside, rare on the inside. High quality greens (no iceberg lettuce in sight) and cute cherry tomatoes!
Spring rolls, grilled pork and grilled nem nuong (pork sausage) on vermicelli. Excellent nem nuong!! Flavourful, carmelized on the outside, and not salty!
Pho sure it’s good!
Very clear pho soup. Awesome.
We’d totally come back here. Kicks Vancouver Vietnamese food’s ass!!!
Saraveza Bottle Shop & Pasty Tavern – Second Visit
We swung by Saraveza Bottle Shop again on our way out of town. Luckily it’s just a minute from the I-5. They had their smoker set up outside the shop, smoking some trout and bacon! Heavenly!!!
I bought two more bottles of Pliny the Elder and four pasties to go. The total came out to $44.40!!! BAAAAD NEWS for a Chinese person, man! But we joked about it and left it as-is.
I bought one each of their pasties to eat on the road. Here’s the “beaf”.
Served with brussel sprouts, picked zucchini, carrots and onions.
Flaky! Chipotle bbq sauce.
Here’s the Reuben version (corned beef and saurkraut inside). Yumsville.
My beer haul from Portland. We totally sailed through the border with only a 30 second wait!!! So excellent after a long trip back.
Post-trip beer comments:
I’m liking the 21st Amendment as an easy-drinking wheat ale. We have one here called Parallel 49 Seedspitter Watermelon Ale which I find a bit too sweet but the Hell or High Watermelon is more drinkable.
The beer geek’s hype train, Pliny the Elder, was an interesting beer. I’ve only tried one bottle so far but it’s quite bitter and I don’t get much else besides the bitter. Taste is so subjective! I’m looking forward to trying the Pliny with different foods. Not regretting the purchase, for sure!
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum tastes almost like a local beer, Central City Imperial IPA, but without the lychee/mango element that the Central City has. Still enjoyable and VERY different from Pliny.
Lagunitas really appeals to me. I guess it’s the typical Lagunitas sweetness playing off the hops or maybe their house yeast, but I love most of their beers. And it was about half the price as Lagunitas 6-packs in Vancouver BC!
These beers are going to a lucky person! One good turn deserves another!
So yeah, Portland was awesome. We’re dying to go back!