To call Portland, OR, “an embarrassment of beer riches” would be an understatement. For years, enthusiasts have flocked to the Rose City to enjoy that perfect pint; and establishment after establishment either brews, or pours, nectar from the gods. The city is so serious about its beer that one alternative newspaper rates movies on a one- to four-pint glass scale.
As we approached the front door, we saw a smiling gentleman carrying out a case of newly released Jubelale. He gave us a good chuckle by saying “Lucky for you, there’s plenty more inside.”
Portland is so rich in places to quaff that we could devote several columns to it. We simply can’t do the city justice in just one. So, for the first time ever, we’re doing two articles about one place. In this issue we’re visiting the Pearl District. Next issue, we hope you’ll accompany us to some of the places located outside of downtown.
Getting around Portland is an utter joy. Your designated driver is TriMet: an extensive, well-run system of buses, light rail and even a European-style streetcar. An inexpensive daily pass will get you anywhere.
So, let’s hop on the streetcar, which does a loop from downtown, and past the famous Powell’s City of Books and into the Pearl. A design staple in these parts is converting industrial property into showcases for good beer. And that’s precisely what Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House has done at 210 NW 11th Avenue.
Last year Deschutes, which has been brewing in Bend, OR, since 1988, renovated an auto shop into a beautiful state-of-the-art brewery and dining area. The outside is freshly scrubbed pale brickwork, with a retro “Deschutes” sign on the corner. As we approached the front door, we saw a smiling gentleman carrying out a case of newly released Jubelale. He gave us a good chuckle by saying “Lucky for you, there’s plenty more inside.”
And there is. In all, 16 taps and two hand pulls of some of the best beer in the world. You’ll find all of Deschutes’ regular lineup, plus a special menu of “exclusive beers” that aren’t available anywhere else. The bartender suggested we try the fresh-hopped Mirror Pond Pale Ale. We did, and our only regret was not being able to make a day of it right there.
The interior decoration evokes a rustic inn, with high ceilings, brightly colored walls and a stone fireplace. Be sure to take a good look at the wooden arches, carved into local plants and animals. The food menu shows some genuine creativity: elk burger, grilled pear and goat cheese pizza, venison chili and a sweet and spicy baked mac-and-cheese made with a sweet chile cream.
Deschutes bottles its beer, and you can find it many places, but all everybody knows there’s nothing better than fresh beer served at the brewery.