Leapbeer Fieldtrip – Portland Oregon, Day 3
Day 3 for the Portland trip I thought it would be a nice opportunity to all climb aboard the Trimet and see some more of the town. I went to their site and plotted our way to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, or OMSI (pronounced om-see by the locals). While the exhibits at OMSI were interesting, and they had several that were focused on my daughters demographic, I was most excited about going to a Brewery that was very close, Hair of the Dog. It was the number one ‘must go to’ on my list of Portland Breweries. Even though I hadn’t ever had their beers before, the legend of Hair of the Dog had reached my ears and I was intrigued.
First thing I ordered was the ‘Walk the Dog’ tasting flight.
From left to right, its Adam, Fred, Blue Dot and Ruth. I tasted them in the opposite order.
First up in the flight was Ruth. Ruth is a 5.0% ABV pale ale made with Pilsner malt and North American hops. I found it light and hoppy, with a tinge of citrus to it. A very easy drinking pale ale indeed.
Second I had their Blue Dot, a 7.0% ABV. It was as advertised, not overly bitter yet still very hoppy. The dry hopping of this beer left the smell that kind of reminded me of wet dog (no pun intended).
This amber coloured beauty is Fred. Named after the beer writer and historian Fred Eckhardt. It is a 10% ABV golden strong ale. To me this beer smelled very unique, somewhat like salted toffee. It has a rich and malty taste to it, almost like a sweet wine. This beer is deceptively drinkable, despite its high alcohol content.
Last of the ‘Walk the Dog’ flight is Adam. Described on the Hair of the Dog website as “a recreation of a historic beerstyle. Originally made in Dortmunder, Germany, it was the first beer I produced when I opened Hair of the Dog. Rich in flavor, Adam is best served as a dessert beer. It is great with chocolate or cigars, or just a warm fire and good company. It has 10% alcohol by volume and 50 IBUs.” The menu attributed the flavours as ‘chocolate, leather and smoke’. I could not have described this any better. When I first started looking into this beer people told me that it would be unlike any other beer I have had before, and they were right.
After that flight I got tasters of the two bourbon aged beers on tap that day. First of those two is the Bourbon Fred or Bourbon Fred from the Wood. Aging these beers in the bourbon barrels adds to the total alcohol contend of them making this tasty marvel weigh in at 12% ABV. This beer held a heavy bourbon smell to it. And as you sip it the sweetness of the bourbon mixes with the flavours of the fred. I don’t know how else to describe this beer besides I love it. It was a symphony of delicious flavour in my mouth that I didn’t want to stop. I could have sat and sipped on this beer for hours. Bourbon Fred from the Wood is hands down one of the best beers I had on my whole portland trip.
Last taster of the lunch was the Peach Bourbon Fred from the wood. I was honestly surprised that I didn’t love this beer. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, but I found it to be too sweet for my taste. Also the alcohol wasn’t masked in this beer either, the whole 12% came through really strongly.
For lunch I ordered the brisket and my wife ordered the pulled pork. And we split the brussell sprouts. We had a lovely lunch all around, and I left with a full belly, a bottle of blue dot, and two glasses (a taster and a tulip).
My family and I headed back to OMSI to see the rest of the exhibits, and give our five year old time to play in the ‘6 and under’ play area.
Later that evening I felt it would be my best time to visit Belmont Station. For those not in the know this beer store has over 1300 different beers in stock. You’d think with such a staggering variety this would be a costco sized warehouse of a store, but it isn’t. It’s roughly the size of a small convenience store with narrow aisles with lots of boxes and a quickly rotating stock. After filling up my basket (and then some) I paid for my goods and slid over to the other side of Belmont Station, the taproom. There they have 17 different taps and, on this night, a cask offering as well. I ordered a bowl of chilli to eat and sat down for a drink.
First up was Burnside Brewing Company’s Fresh Hop Bitter. I ordered this because it was on special for only three dollars a pint. How could I say no to that? (I really can’t ever pass up an opportunity to engage my frugal side and my inner beer adventurer, honest) I found it to be a nice sessionable bitter (4.2% ABV) that the fresh hops ad a nice piney character to.
After the Fresh Hop Bitter I went with the beer I was searching for, due to its name alone, Gigantic Brewings Most Interesting Beer in the World. The bar menu described this beer as one that changes its character with each sip. Its at its heart a fresh hopped American pale ale, but it’s been alchemistically franken-brewed into so much more. Its a nice and easy drinking pale ale (5.5% ABV) that would make for a great conversation piece.
Lastly as I was eating my hearty chilli I went for the cask offering, the Supergoose IPA by Hales. This is a fairly bitter (72IBU) and fairly strong (7.1% ABV) IPA that had a real licorice malt flavour with a bitter hop back. Serving it at cask temp really brought out the nature of the three variants of hops in the beer, Amarillo, Centennial and Simcoe.
I headed back to my hotel for the night. My head still swimming from a very busy day (trust me a whole day at a museum with a five year old is exhausting) I decided to have a bath and a night cap. Because I had heard good things from several others I went for a Logsdon Fresh Hop Seizoen
This beer was tremendous. The delicate saison married so well with the fresh hop characteristics, and it was all woven together by this delicate farmhouse ale. In a day of such a diverse and impressive line up of beers this one stood out. It was the best beer I had on my trip to Portland. I made sure to grab another bottle before leaving, so that I have another waiting in the wings to be consumed. I realize that shelving a fresh hop beer is a bit of an error, but it is such a great beer that I am waiting to share it with others.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the two beers I chose to add to the Leapbeer Master List are Bourbon Fred from the Wood (#271) by Hair of the Dog and Fresh Hop Seizoen (#272) by Logsdon Farmhouse Ales. Truly stand outs on a fine day of tasting.
That concludes my notes from the third day of my trip to Portland. My notes from the last day of beer tasting in Portland are coming next, as well as the two stops I made in Hood River en route to visiting with some friends across the river.
Thanks for Reading.