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Portland Partaken

July, 1998

By Bobby Bush

Somehow during this brief trip to Portland, Oregon (which began in last weekís edition), we managed to visit The Rose & Raindrop on three separate occasions. This popular bar, less than two years in business though it resides in the ground level of a huge brick building constructed in 1890, offers an enticing menu of sandwiches and entrees, a reasonable wine list, three cask conditioned beers and a wide selection of imported, micro and commercial beers- usually 40 on tap. The R&R is almost as popular as owner Don Youngerís other, older local bar, The Horse Brass Pub.

Younger is somewhat of a local legend. Credited as one of the cityís first true beer freaks, the affable fellow, who often enjoys a shot of the hard stuff, gets as much pleasure in watching his patrons drink his fine special beers as they do consuming them. Though never boastful, the lanky proprietor was honored in Ď97 with a special Rogue beer named just for him: Youngerís Special Bitter. Stop in at the Horse Brass or Rose & Raindrop for a fresh brew and a chat with Don. If heís not there (at the R&R), ask for the manager. Earl is almost as crazy and nice.

Try as we might (twice), we couldnít catch Widmerís microbrewery near the Rose Garden- home of the NBA Trailblazers -open. The restaurant it is sort of tied to, must be having some problems.

With a lazy Saturday to kill, we headed north toward Washington State. The car pulled to a stop just before the river in Jantzen Beach at BJís Pizza, Grill & Brewery for a relaxing lunch on the patio. After we ordered sandwiches from a very varied menu, the waitress rustled up a taster tray of the brewpubís six brews. In German Kolsch style, BJís Brewhouse Blonde was golden, snapping crisp and surprisingly flavorful.. Harvest Hefeweizen was brewed to Bavarian specs, relinquishing mildly spicy flavor. Chinook hops- dry hopped with Cascade -punctuated the complex Jeremiah Red. PM Porter, nitro conditioned and sweet throughout, and Tatonka Stout, a bitter 8.1% alcohol Imperial stout, rounded out BJís repertoire.

This BJís is part of the Chicago Pizza & Brewery chain which operates restaurants in a handful of states. Their first brewery ventures were in Boulder, CO and Brea, CA. The Jantzen Beach location, opened July 1997, is the second of two Portland area BJís brewery installations. So far, the chain is doing pretty good for a chain- not as plasticy as Hops! (the Florida version) but not as classy as Gordon Biersch. Give Ďem a try.

We spent the rest of this warm afternoon overlooking the busy Columbia River from the Washington State side. McMenamins On the Columbia has a perfect location and a nice patio paralleling the waterway. Barges, sailboats and an occasional obnoxious jetski cruised by as we soaked up sun and suds. Starting with a dry hopped IPA on cask, which was oh so smooth but not really hoppy enough, to the roasted/chocolate malted Terminator to a more biting Queen Loshaís IPA, time seemed to pause, but only long enough to contemplate our next beer selection. Brewed and fermented in psychedelic painted tanks in the far back corner of this sizable brewpub since 1994, other fine McMenamins fare include Ruby, Bavarian Dunkleweizen, Proletarian Porter, Uhuru (a light seasonal), Hammerhead and the berry-fied Purple Haze. A proper choice of guest beers were also on hand, including Portlandís Macís Amber Ale, Widmerís Hop Jack Pale Ale. Full Sail IPA, Deschutesí Mirror Pond Pale Ale and BridgePort India Pale Ale; a veritable cross-section of the best of Oregon. The McMenamins boys recognize a good beer, even if itís not always theirs. For a good time call McMenamins. And for an even bigger, better time, spend a few days in Portland. Portland Trivia Borrowed from 365 Bottles of Beer for the Year, a daily calendar: ďThe BridgePort Brewing & Public House at 1313 NW Marshall Street is Oregonís oldest microbrewery. Itís located in a century-old landmark brick building in the cityís historic Pearl District.Ē They also have a relatively new, large and picturesque Brewhouse Taproom at 2730 NW 31st Street. Both are highly recommended, as are BridgePort bottled beers.

This article first appeared in Focus, a weekly paper published in Hickory, North Carolina.

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