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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 530
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My First Portland Pub Crawl — In the Pearl
Wednesday 16 March 2016   —   Category: Dining Out
One early morning in September 2015 I took an Amtrak train to Portland, Oregon, instead of driving the 75 miles from Albany as I normally do. Then I took a Blue Line MAX train to the eastern edge of Portland’s city limits at the 162nd Avenue sta­tion. Just getting to this point was quite an adventure, as you can read in the above-linked Amtrak article. From there I started the first half of my Burnside Street hike.

Around noon I was finished with my six-​mile photo excursion along East Burn­side. I was tired, hungry and thirsty, but there are not many restaurants in that mostly-residential area. So I took Bus 20 west down Burnside until I ended up at Henry’s 12th Street Tavern, where I had an excellent lunch — more about that in a little bit.

Because my photo outing was already completed, and because I had all afternoon to do something before my 6:00 train left for home, I decided to go on one of the pub crawls I told you about in my last article.

It wasn’t hard to pick the Pearl District Pub Crawl, see­ing that I was already having food and beer at the first stop, on the south­ern edge of the Pearl District. And by rearranging the order, the last brewery would not be very far from Union Station at the northern end.

Of course, because I had my camera equipment with me, and because food photography was one of my newfound passions in 2015, I made sure to document my entire six-​pub tour with plenty of photos.

In fact, I took about twice as many pictures during the afternoon pub crawl as I did on my morning six-​mile photo-​hike! But I guess that should not be too surprising — I think it would be accurate to say that the Pearl District is a lot more photogenic than the Hazelwood Neighborhood.

Well, grab a beer and a snack, find a comfortable place to sit, and come with me on a virtual pub crawl around Portland’s Pearl District....
 
As I mentioned above, my first stop was at Henry’s 12th Street Tavern, on the ground floor of the historic Weinhard Brewery Complex, where Henry Wein­hard’s beer was brewed for 135 years, at the corner of West Burnside Street and NW 12th Avenue. Unfortunately they stopped beer production here in 1999, and Miller Brewing Company now owns the Henry Weinhard’s brand. Correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that this beer is no longer made in Oregon.
 
Perhaps that explains why I didn’t pick a Henry Weinhard’s beer here. In­stead, I had a Pils by Heater Allen Brewing in nearby Mc­Minn­ville. I thought it was pretty good. According to the brewer:

“ This is our take of the renowned Bohemian-style pale lager that you might find in Bavaria or the Czech Republic. Ours is a little more golden, rounder, and a little more malt driven than many other ver­sions. The beer possesses strong hop character that is bal­anced by its rich, round, malty palate. Refreshing and balanced, this beer is a fa­vor­ite of our winery friends during harvest.” Meas­ure­ments: 4.9% ABV • 36.6 IBU
 
Their pepper-crusted salmon seemed to have some sort of honey glaze on it — the combination was heavenly! Served with grilled asparagus and Yukon Gold chive mashed potatoes. A scrumptious, classy, spendy treat for this country bumpkin in the big city! Even though it was very dark in the restaurant, I think my camera did great at ISO 1,600.
 
 
On my way to the second stop of my pub crawl I made a one-block detour to pass by one of the most well-known business in the city. I had first heard about Powell’s Books a few years before I moved to Oregon in 2006, and long before Portland was on my radar.

So even though they don’t serve beer there — but there is a coffee shop! — I was thrilled to be able pop in and quickly explore this four-​story, one-​square-​block bookstore. It was so impressive and overwhelmingly-​huge that I defintely need to go back when I have more time.

Before I left I bought a copy of the quirky The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky & Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland book. Since then I have created my own series of pub bathroom photos.
 
 
To get to my second stop I walked two blocks north and one block west from Powell’s, to the corner of NW 11th Avenue and NW Davis Street where I arrived at the Deschutes Brewery Port­land Public House, which opened in 2008.

Deschutes Brewery was founded in 1988 in the Central Oregon city of Bend. Over the decades it has grown to become the sixth-largest craft brewery and twelfth-largest overall brewery in the country.
 
At Deschutes I had the nitro version of their award-winning Obsidian Stout. I used to be really into stouts, but I didn’t care for this beer enough to want to try it again in the future. According to the brewer:

Deep, robust and richly rewarding, this is beer to linger over. Obsidian has distinct notes of espresso, chocolate, roasted malt and black barley, with just enough hop bite to cut the sweetness. On nitro, it’s velvety smooth.” Meas­ure­ments: 6.4% ABV • 55 IBU
 
 
To get to the third stop of my pub crawl, I walked two blocks east on Davis Street until I came to Fat Head’s Brewpub on the corner of NW 13th Avenue and Davis. Fat Head’s Brewery is based back East — this Beervana location is their first expansion to the West, and had been opened less than a year when I visited it in September 2015.

Because it was a sunny afternoon and they had outside seating, I decided to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful weather, which would soon be disappearing under the clouds of Oregon’s nine-month rainy season.
 
At Fat Head’s I had their (now discontinued) Kölsch beer, which was OK, but nothing too special. According to the brewer:

“ This is a highly drinkable golden ale that originated in the German city of Cologne, and is still the beer of choice there. A crisp, well balanced beer with a delicate fruity aroma, soft maltiness, and subtle Noble hop aroma.” Meas­ure­ments: 5.2% ABV • 27 IBU
 
Inside, after taking a leak, I was able to take a peek at part of their operations. Ah, the mystery, art and science of brewing beer!
 
 
Walking one block west and two blocks north brought me to the fourth stop of my pub craw at 10 Barrel Brewing on the corner of NW 14th Avenue and NW Flanders Street. Like Deschutes Brew­ery, they are based in Bend. So far, none of my stops in Portland’s Pearl District have been at a Portland-​based brewery!
 
The afternoon was progressing nicely but a bit sedately, so I decided to live adventurously and try their (now discontinued) Belgian Strong Dark. Because it had just about the same alcoholic content as wine, it was served in a smaller-capacity snifter. The taste was definitely “special” — I don’t think I would be that adventurous again! Ac­cord­ing to the brewer:

“Cherries, figs, dark fruit, and spiciness are characteristics that will be found in this big-Belgian ale. This high alcohol libation is built upon six different specialty malts and Hallertau hops. There are also subtle notes derived from dark cherries in the mash and Piloncillo sugar (Mexican brown sugar) in the boil. All this is brought together by the estery profile created by the use of Belgian Trappist yeast.” Meas­ure­ments: 10.9% ABV • 30 IBU
 
Right next to my table was a huge brewing tank with a fair amount of steam rising from the bottom. It is hard to see in the picture — click to enlarge, as with all of the photos on this page — but was quite visible in person.
 
 
Rogue Distillery and Public House is located across the street from 10 Barrel Brewing, on another corner of NW 14th Avenue and NW Flanders Street.

Rogue Ales is another non-​Portland-​based brewery, founded in Ashland in 1988 and now based in Newport. At least it’s all in Oregon!

Obviously, it was a short walk to my the fifth stop. If fact, I was so close that this photo of Rogue Ales was taken from my table inside 10 Barrel!
 
At Rogue I opted for their (now discontinued) Rogue Farms Roguenbier Rye. It was OK, but I won’t shed any tears over it being out of production. At least I was able to sit outside again and enjoy the summer-​like weather. According to the brewer:

“Farming takes determination. Our entire first planing of Rogue Farm Dream™ Rye was eaten by a wave of slugs in 24 hours. We were determined to grow and brew with our own rye, so we replanted. This hazy amber rye ale is a taste of the rich alluvial soils that define the terroir of the Wigrich Appellation.” Meas­ure­ments: 5.5% ABV • 25 IBU
 
 
For the final stop on my six-pub crawl, I crawled one block east and seven blocks north to the BridgePort Brew Pub, on the corner of NW 13th Avenue and NW Marshall Street.

At last, a Portland-​based brewery! Founded in 1984, they claim to be “Oregon’s oldest craft brewery.”
 
For my final beer of the afternoon I had their (now discontinued) award-winning Long Ball Ale. It was OK, but nothing special. According to the brewer:

“ Triple-hopped light bodied summertime-style brew with the body of the beer completely from BridgePort’s regular high-color pale malt which gives a subtle pleasant biscuit-like malt flavor. The beer main­tains a smooth bittering profile at an easy-to-drink 28 IBUs. The Meridian dry hops create an aroma and flavor that is very distinctive and reminiscent of sweet Meyer lemons.” Meas­ure­ments: 5.0% ABV • 28 IBU
 
After a long, demanding afternoon vis­it­ing six pubs I was ready for a snack. Salsa and chips were the perfect ac­com­pa­ni­ment for a pint of beer.
 
I took this picture while I was sipping my suds and crunching my chips. Some people, like me, drink their beer while stationary. Others, like the folks across the street, prefer to drink theirs on the Portland BrewCycle. This company has a BrewBarge as well — whatever floats your boat!
 
 
A ten-block walk east and south brought me back to Union Station. I was very glad that I could let Amtrak whisk me back home to Albany rather than having to drive the 75 miles down I-5 myself.
 
 
Over a period of five hours, I took 122 photos during my Pearl District pub crawl. The best 41 can be viewed in the appropriately-named Portland Pearl District Pub Crawl 2015 album.

In addition, I have also inaugurated the Oregon Pub Crawl (All Years) album. Photos I take at breweries, pubs and restaurants around Oregon are often found in various outing albums, rather than in albums dedicated to those types of images. In order to counteract this scattering, I have created this new con­glom­er­ate super-album. Now, no matter which albums such photos are in, or what year they were taken, any pictures of food, drink or facilities at any brewery, pub or res­tau­rant in Portland (or anywhere else in Oregon) will be found therein.

All in all, I had a wonderful gastronomic and photographic afternoon on my first pub crawl in Portland. I hope that you en­joyed it as well!
For a list of all the articles and photo albums resulting from my exploration of Burnside Street, see Portland Burnside Adventure Wrap-Up.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 530
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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 530
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