Brian's Photo Blog — Article 552
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Portland NW 21st and 23rd Avenues Pub Crawl
Sunday 15 May 2016   —   Category: Dining Out
In my last article I gave an overview of my final photo outing in Portland, Ore­gon, for 2015. I spent the day exploring NW 21st and 23 Avenues, in the North­west District, which included stopping at a number of restaurants and brewpubs. Rather than cramming all of those ep­i­cu­re­an experiences into the overview ar­ti­cle, I am presenting the delicious details here.
Because there were no pubs in the area open for breakfast (although there are some elsewhere in Portland), and seeing that I’m not really into beer for break­fast, I had to make other arrangements.

After months of trying to follow the bread recipes of Portland master baker Ken Forkish in his cookbook Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza, I finally visited his bakery at 338 NW 21st Avenue.
The sausage quiche I had at Ken’s was truly scrumptious! It must have been very close to quiche perfection! Un­for­tunately, the water they put into the pot was nowhere near boiling, so the tea turned out very weak, and was quickly cold. That’s too bad, because with a little effort and attention to detail, it could have been a great cup of tea. At least the quiche was awesome — as well as the Johnny Cash music in the background the entire time I was there!
I felt like the quiche was not quite filling enough, so I indulged in one of the many treats created at Ken’s. This beauty is their famous Oregon Croissant: hazelnut paste and local blueberries wrapped in croissant dough, then topped with local marionberries, and a sprinkling of sugar nuggets. It was very, very good!
After looking at the menus of numerous restaurants located in the Northwest Dis­trict, I decided to have lunch at the Mc­Men­a­mins Rams Head. It occupies the ground floor on the corner of NW 23rd Avenue and Hoyt Street of the historic (built 1912) Campbell Hotel (now the Campbell Court Apartments).

I ordered their Irish Stout (on nitro tap). According to the brewer:
“ This is our Halfway to Saint Patrick’s Day Seasonal and will pour exclusively on our nitro taps for the occasion. McMenamins Irish Stout is our interpretation of the internationally renowned beer style that originated in Ireland. McMenamins Irish Stout is made as tra­di­tion­ally as possible with our own little twist. It is a very dark, ebony-colored stout with a thick, creamy and long-lasting head. The flavor is a fantastic fusion of coffee-like roasted barley bitterness and semi-​sweet chocolate. A moderate hop bitterness balances pleasingly with this hearty backbone, while tiny nitrogen bubbles enhance the sen­sa­tion on your taste buds with a smooth, silky creaminess. One sip will have your head in the Emerald Isle clouds. A touch of the Irish, the blessings of St. Patrick and a pint of McMenamins Irish Stout to you!” Meas­ure­ments: 4.9% ABV • 38 IBU

My notes from that day read: “This beer was good with the meal, as it was not too thick.”
The Wedge Salad I had that day was delicious, with plenty of crumbled blue cheese and bacon. Unfortunately, as of this writing, it is not on their menu any more.
Their truly scrumptious Steak & Mush­room Bites was a pure delight. My notes from that day read: “The wine sauce on the steak and mushrooms was awe­some, as was the horseradish dipping sauce.”

Unfortunately, this delicacy is not on their menu any more either. I really hope it comes back, because I would like to try it again.

Lompoc Brewery is named after the city of Lompoc — properly pronounced as ‘Lompoke’ — about half an hour south of where I grew up in Santa Maria, on the California Central Coast.

W.C. Fields mispronounced the name as ‘Lompock’ — much to the chagrin of the local residents — in his 1940 film The Bank Dick which was filmed in Lompoc. Be­cause the brewery took the name ‘Lompoc’ from this film, they also mispronounce it as ‘Lompock’ — much to MY chagrin as a Central Coast native.

Despite the mispronunciation, I still like their beer! I had my first Lompoc brew — their award-winning Proletariat Red Ale — at Life of Pie piz­ze­ria during one of my Portland outings. Since then I have been buying bomber-​sized bottles of it at the Walmart (of all places!) in Albany where I live, so I can enjoy it at home.

It was such a warm and sunny day on November 29, 2015 that I decided to sip my suds at a sidewalk table rather than inside the dark tavern — plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ty for that during Oregon’s nine-​month rainy season!
I’m always ready to try a new beer! After considering the options, I chose the 107ist Ryeght Strike Mosaic Rye Pale Ale.

According to the brewer, this beer was originally a homemade con­coction by Bizzy Gross, which he entered into the First Annual Duane Graf Memorial Homebrew Competition. After the beer won the Best of Show award, he got to brew his beer at Lompoc Brewery for a limited release.

My notes from that day read: “It was pretty good, light and a bit citrusy, but I probably wouldn’t try it again. Next time I’ll have to try their Fool’s Gold Ale and Kick Axe Pale Ale.”
The last stop on my pub crawl was Kells Brew Pub at 210 NW 21st Avenue. The young bartender had such a thick Irish accent that it was kind of hard to under­stand him. Now that is an authentic Irish pub experience!
I wasn’t sure which of their beers I would like, so I had samples of Vienna Lager (from another brewer, I believe) and their Irish Red Ale, before I finally settled on a pint of their Irish Lager.

According to the brewer, it is “light, golden, smooth, crisp and clean.” 4.5% ABV.

My notes from that day read: “Pretty good, but maybe just a bit watery.” The weather continued so warm and sunny that I once again decided to sit at a sidewalk table.
Inspired by the quirky The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky & Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland book which I had read not long before, I decided to try my own bathroom shot at Kells as a parting shot before heading home. For the best results, you need a perfect aim!

This is my second pub bathroom photo. If such things fascinate you, don’t miss my first one taken at McMenamins Kennedy School.
In the end, this outing might be more notable for all of the pubs and restaurants I skipped rather than for where I actually stop­ped. In my wanderings up and down NW 21st and 23 Avenues, I passed by quite a few establishments that will have to wait for another time.

These are the ones I took photos of — follow each link to see the picture and for more information:
All 25 images from this pub crawl can be found together in the Oregon Pub Crawl 2015 album. And the entire col­lec­tion of 43 photos from this outing can be seen in the Portland NW 21st & 23rd Ave 2015 album.

During this pub crawl I also did a bit of gourmet grocery shopping. And to wrap this outing up, I walked a short three-​quarters of a mile to Pioneer Courthouse Square, via SW Morrison Street, to see the newly-lit 75-foot Christmas tree. You can read about those details in A Slice of Portland’s SW Morrison Street.
For more tales about other locations, see My McMenamins Passport Adventure.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 552
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