Brian's Photo Blog — Article 598
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A McMenamins Edgefield Pub Crawl
Friday 4 November 2016   —   Category: Dining Out
Pub Crawl Index  [+]
In my last article I gave an overview of my 25-hour summer sol­stice celebration at McMenamins Edge­field, in the eastern Port­land suburb of Troutdale. The 74-acre crown-jewel resort of the McMenamins empire was originally the Multnomah County Poor Farm. Bought by McMenamins in 1990, it now boasts a hotel, winery, brewery, distillery, spa, movie theater, soaking pool, gardens, a concert amphitheater, two golf courses, two vineyards, and ten restaurants and bars. Download their PDF Walking Guide Map to see the layout.

During my concentrated, jam-packed stay, I ate and /or drank at all ten locales, and toured the three facilities where they craft their libations. The only venue serving food and drink that I missed was the theater.

As I mentioned in Breweries and Pubs in Portland and Beyond, in the summer of 2015, The Oregonian published a series of eleven pub crawl articles to help their readers explore Beervana. But I think that most of them are way too long. I generally like to limit myself to three or four pubs when on a crawl. More than that is usually too much in too short a time period.

But Edgefield is the exception that makes it easy to break the rule. Because there are eleven pubs all in one place, I did not have to worry about how to transport myself from one to the other. And because I spent the night at the hotel, I did not have to worry about driving home or finding a des­ig­nat­ed driver. All in all, Edgefield is an awesome location for a deep, extended pub crawl! Well, seeing that we have eleven stops to cover, let’s get going!
Although I didn’t eat there until break­fast on my second day, the main res­tau­rant at Edgefield is the Black Rabbit Restaurant and Bar, on the ground floor at the back of the hotel. You can, of course, get there by going through the hotel, but there is also a nice back en­trance, lined with flowers and gas lamps.
I’ve had black tea at many different res­taurants over the years. Sometimes it’s good, but often it falls short in one or more ways: not hot enough, not strong enough, cheap-​quality tea, and /or not a large enough serving.

This was the second time I had tea for breakfast at a McMenamins. Both the first time and this time they scored on all four points: a two-​serving pot of hot, strong black tea made with quality loose-​leaf tea. It was very enjoyable!
An accompanying pleasure was my de­li­cious breakfast of grilled-salmon Eggs Benedict and roasted potatoes.

Finally, at age 54, I had my first Eggs Benedict in a restaurant! One more item to cross off the bucket list!
After breakfast I wandered up and down the hallways of the hotel for more than an hour taking pictures of the abundant artwork which graces every available space. Then I returned to the Black Rab­bit, this time to the Bar section, for some rest and refreshment.
From the Bar you can head outside to an enclosed inner court­yard. At 10:00, I was the only customer in the courtyard on an overcast morning.

Choosing a table with a view, I sipped on a screwdriver cock­tail — fresh-​squeezed orange juice and vodka — and plotted my next epicurean and photographic destination.
Inspired by the quirky The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky and Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland book, I tried my own bathroom shot on my way out of the Black Rabbit.

For my other bathroom photos, if that’s your kind of thing, see the entire growing collection!
All in all, the Black Rabbit Res­tau­rant and Bar netted me one stamp on my McMenamins Passport ad­ven­ture.
The second major dining destination at Edgefield is the Power Station Pub.

Both the Pub and the Power Station Theater are located in this building, which used to house the Poor Farm power station.

As with the primary-venue Black Rabbit Restaurant, I didn’t get around to vis­it­ing the Power Station Pub until the sec­ond day of my stay. Actually it was just a couple of hours before my departure.

Like most McMenamins buildings, the Power Station Pub has its full share of unique artwork and decorations. And as at every McMenamins venue, I made sure to get the stamp for that location.

I was still kind of full from my late breakfast when I went to the Power Station Pub, so all I had was a pint of their scrumptious Black Cherry Hard Cider, made just a few buildings away at the Edgefield Winery.

This glass of cider got me two Passport stamps. One ‘ex­pe­ri­ences’ stamp (remember, four such stamps earn a $20 Mc­Men­amins gift card) was for ordering a hard cider. The other was a just-for-fun stamp in honor of Oregon Cider Week, in the middle of which the summer solstice occurred.
The third stop on our Edgefield pub crawl takes us down into the basement of the hotel, where Lucky Staehly’s Pool Hall has set up shop, complete with five pool tables, a snooker table, dartboards, pinball machines, shuffleboard, four tel­e­vi­sions, a jukebox, and of course, a pub ... and one more location stamp:
Because I arrived during the Mc­Men­a­mins daily 3:00 to 6:00 PM happy hour, I decided to try their happy hour slice of pepperoni pizza for $3.70. I was sur­prised at how big it was ... it seemed more like two slices, which was fine with me!

To accompany my pizza I had a beer flight (sampler). If my notes from that day are correct, the McMenamins beers are, from left to right, Terminator Stout, Influential IPA, Hopline Bling Double IPA, and their two most popular brews, Ruby Raspberry Ale and Hammerhead Northwest Pale Ale. Not pictured was an Irish Stout. My favorite was definitely the Hammerhead. Not only did I get to sample six beers, but I also snagged an­oth­er ‘experiences’ stamp:

Our next stop is the very location where all of these beers were crafted, the Edge­field Brewery. The largest of Mc­Men­a­mins’ breweries, it opened in 1991 in the old cannery building of the former Poor Farm.

Pictured here is the loading dock at the rear of the building, from which the beers brewed there are shipped out to other pubs in the McMenamins empire.
At 1:00 PM, I joined about half-a-dozen other beer fans for a tour of the brewery. But I did not get an ‘ex­pe­ri­enc­es’ stamp for the tour because I had already gotten one at an­oth­er brewery.

I had started my McMenamins Passport adventure by vis­it­ing their Cornelius Pass Roadhouse just the month be­fore, in May 2016. After lunch I was fortunate enough to be there at the right time to tour their brewery and dis­till­ery, thereby earning my first two ‘experiences’ stamps.
A stone’s throw from the brewery is the Edgefield Winery and Tasting Room. According to their Web site:

Founded in 1990, McMenamins Edgefield Winery offers a wide selection of varietals representing the best of the North­west: bold Washington Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, elegant Oregon Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, aromatic Pinot Gris and Riesling, and distinctive rosé, sparkling and fortified dessert wines.

Along with our own Edgefield-grown grapes, we purchase fruit from a number of Pacific Northwest vineyards, from family-​owned farms to expansive co-operatives. By working locally within Oregon and Washington, we maintain relationships with other growers, stay in touch throughout the process and actually pick and taste the fruit off the vine during the growing season.“
Edgefield wine and cider making starts by putting the freshly-picked fruit into these large, outdoor steel vats.

Silly me, before I was enlightened by the tour guide, I had imagined that these vats were for making beer, but I thought it was strange that they were outside. Now I know better!
I barely made it in time for the 3:00 PM winery tour. A group of about two dozen of us first went outside to learn about the large vats I just mentioned, then we headed into the under­ground cellars for the remainder of the tour.

Even though it was not a hot day, I was very grateful to be in the coolest air on the entire Edgefield property (not counting walk-in refrigerators and freezers!) — but that’s a separate story you can read in A McMenamins Edgefield Glass­blow­ing Dem­on­stra­tion.

Not only was it cool in the cellars, but it was also on the dark side, so I had to crank the ISO up to 6,400 — but the image quality produced by my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera was still quite good.

The cellars were very interesting, but between the limited duration of the tour and the crowd of tourists, I wasn’t able to explore it photographically as much as I would have liked.
After the tour I received one more ‘ex­pe­ri­enc­es’ stamp to add to my col­lec­tion. Then I visited a couple more of the Edgefield bars, returning a few hours later for some winetasting during a free evening concert.
One end of a large hallway became an improvised stage. For seating, there were a couple of couches and easy chairs, as well as ten or so small tables, lining each side of the hallway all the way back to the foyer / main entrance. I managed to claim a table about halfway back.

Below to the right is the red wine tasting menu on the day I was there (click on it to see a larger, easy-to-read version). Di­rectly below are my notes for each wine as I progressed through the tasting.
2014 Gamay Noir
pretty lightweight
2014 Vintage Select Pinot Noir
slightly light and a bit tart
2013 Zinfandel
goes good with chips and salsa
2013 Cuvée de l’Abri Rouge
had this before, really good!
2013 Ferryman’s Choice Malbec
after a while everything is good,
especially with chips and salsa!
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
very good, like a Cab should be
2012 Syrah
at this point it’s hard to judge!
As I made my way through the seven wine samples, I switched from oyster crackers to chips and salsa, as my tast­ing comments above have already revealed.

If you look carefully, you will notice my Panasonic 35-​100​mm zoom lens nestled between the two wine glasses.
In the previous photo you can see a win­dow to the left. Looking through that window from my table, I had the view, seen in the image to the right, of the big vats in which more wine was being made to be tasted.
The view I had straight ahead from my table was of the end of the hallway where the musicians were setting up for their per­for­mance: Skip vonKuske and Don Henson (known together as Groovy Wallpaper), and Darka Dusty and Miri Stebivka.

Their music was “interesting” ... I have no doubt that the wine tasting helped me to enjoy it. Don is an amazing per­cus­sion­ist, as you can see in this five-​min­ute video I captured:

Satiated with seven wine samples, chips and salsa, and alternative mu­sic, I moseyed off to other pastures during the intermission.

Not only did I leave with a location stamp for the Winery Tasting Room venue, but I also earned yet another ‘experiences’ stamp for the wine flight.
Here’s the view across a putting green towards the Edgefield Distillery, the Dis­tillery Bar and the Pub Golf Courses club house, all of which are housed in a former Poor Farm shed.
The distillery tour starts at 2:00, between the brewery and win­ery tours. Unlike those tours, there was no walking involved to see the entire distillery, because it occupies a single, not-large room.

So we simply stood there and admired all the pipes and shiny copper while the distiller explained the process of making Edge­field spirits. Fortunately the tour was not long, because it was pretty hot in there.

I didn’t get a stamp for the tour because, as for the brewery, I already had one from the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse (CPR) Distillery during my May 2016 visit there.
After the tour I admired another set of pipes in the Distillery Bar men’s room. Using my own pipe, I did my duty and made a con­tribution to the general supply.

As before, I was inspired by the quirky The Best Places To Pee: A Guide To The Funky and Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland book. And as I mentioned above, for my other bathroom shots, if that’s your kind of thing, see the entire growing collection!
I found even more pipes in the Distillery Bar itself, which I vis­it­ed later in the evening after the concert in the Winery Tasting Room.

When I arrived there was one or two other patrons, but after a while it was just me and the bartender, who gave me my next location stamp:
There I had a sampler of two Edgefield whiskeys (Hogshead and Monkey Puz­zle) and one Cornelius Pass Roadhouse whiskey (Billy).

At that time I chose Monkey Puzzle as my favorite, but after buying a bottle and exploring it further at home, I have de­cid­ed that its “flavors of malt, vanilla and caramel mixed in with citrus hop characteristics and blackberry honey sweetness” are not exactly to my tastes after all.
With my whiskey samples I enjoyed a soft pretzel with house-​made cheddar cheese sauce, both warm. Dee-lish!

I also enjoyed adding another ‘experiences’ stamp to the grow­ing collection in my McMenamins Passport!
The next day, the last place I visited was the Little Red Shed bar, located in the Fir Grove section of the property.
There I found more pipes and valves, this time used to build a gas flame torch by the front door to the Little Red Shed.
The first thing I saw when entering this tiny two-room bar was a cozy corner table.
After ordering my drink and getting a location stamp, I parked at a corner table in the equally-small back room.
I hadn’t even taken a sip of my Black Rabbit Porter because I was busy taking pictures, when in came three very gabby wom­en, who pretty much spoiled the peaceful atmosphere for me.

So I took my beer to a picnic bench in the Fir Grove and sipped it in silence and solitude. Ahhhhh .... According to the brewer :

“Black Rabbit Porter is a semi-sweet ale with a roasty chocolate malt tone. This ale is defined by it’s toasted nut flavor and a sweeter, softer finish than McMenamins’ Terminator Stout. Named after the elusive Black Rabbit who roamed freely on the grounds at the Edgefield Manor, this ale has been an Edgefield staple for years.” Meas­ure­ments: 6% ABV • 13 IBU

My notes from that day read: “pretty good, not too intense.”
In between major destinations on my first day at Edgefield, I ducked into an­other small bar, Jerry’s Ice House — named in honor of the late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia.
The view of Grateful Dead memorabilia from my table in Jerry’s Ice House.
My visit was during happy hour, so I enjoyed a glass (plastic cup?!) of Edgefield White Rabbit. I really liked this blend, enough to buy one bottle for myself and one for my mom for Christmas.

I also really liked yet another Passport location stamp!
During my wanderings around Edge­field, I came across the itsy-bitsy Tea House Bar, next to the saltwater soak­ing pool at Ruby’s Spa and Salon.

As you can see in the next photo, there is a service window on the soaking pool side of the bar, so you can order a drink to enjoy while soaking.
When I went to the soaking pool around 9:00 PM — after more than nine hours of pub crawling — I ordered McMemamins’ popular Ruby Raspberry Ale. I’m not really into fruit beers, but its lower alcohol content (4.4%) was appropriate for the ex­ten­u­at­ing circumstances.

Arguably better than the Ruby Ale was the two stamps I received at the Tea House Bar. One for the location, and one ‘experiences’ stamp for the soaking pool. Cool!
Even though it is appearing near the end of this article, the first place I stopped on my 25-hour Edgefield summer solstice ex­trav­a­gan­za was the Loading Dock Grill. I have saved it until now because it is an outdoor, seasonal venue that is not open year-round.

I was told that because this restaurant is seasonal, there is no Passport stamp for it. But you may have noticed that the Power Station Pub stamp shown above also mentions the Loading Dock Grill.
Because I already knew I would be hav­ing some less-healthy food later in the day — like chips with salsa, and pretzel with fondue — I decided to go veg­e­tar­ian at lunch with a salad. I would have been very happy it the salad had come with some freshly-baked bread, or at least some crackers, in addition to the croutons, but no such luck!
With my salad I enjoyed a pint of White Rabbit Pilsner. Ac­cord­ing to the brewer:

“Pilsners are generally light colored, clean-flavored beers with a distinct hop aroma and this beer is no exception. The grassy, spicy hop resins from Sterling and Tettnanger hops really shine through the light, smooth flavor of Pilsner malt while the Bo­he­mi­an yeast con­trib­utes a clean lager ester profile.” Meas­ure­ments: 5.3% ABV • 39 IBU

My notes from that day read: “a good Pilsner, tasty and not watery ... I would definitely try it again!”
Last, and among the least in size, is the Black Rabbit House bar. It is located in the Loading Dock Grill courtyard, is sea­sonal like the Loading Dock, and I vis­it­ed it right after my lunch at the Loading Dock — chronologically my second Edge­field pub crawl stop.
While in the Rabbit House I had a pint of seasonal Copper Moon ale. According to the brewer:

“Copper Moon has a coppery-orange luminescence radiating out of the pint glass, originating from three different organic malts that impart a flavorful yet summery smooth sweetness that quenches your thirst while tantalizing your taste buds. The upfront hop bit­ter­ness of Copper Moon is relatively low, com­ple­ment­ing the malts without being overpowering. The hop flavor and aroma are another matter, as the Perle and Chinook hops used in the latter stages of each batch intermingle to gen­er­ate a dazzling, citrusy, floral ex­pe­ri­ence, in addition to slight­ly spicy notes. All of these qualities blend into a refreshing, flavorful organic summer pale ale.” Meas­ure­ments: 5% ABV • 44 IBU

My notes from that day read: “pretty good beer ... could be worth another try.”
This itsy-bitsy bar features a glorious blue ceiling spangled with stars.

Once again, because this is a seasonal venue, it doesn’t offer a Passport location stamp. But I did get a just-for-fun stamp for the Copper Moon beer on page 31 — Seasonal Beers.
At long last, this brings my eleven-stop Edgefield pub crawl to a close. If you have been counting, you will know that I received 16 Passport stamps during the crawl. Three additional non-crawl stamps — two location and one ‘experiences’ — brought the grand total to 19 in only 25 hours!
For just the pub crawl part of my Edgefield visit I took a total of 193 pictures. The best 98 are now available for virtual crawling in the McMenamins Edgefield Pub Crawl 2016 album.

However, the McMenamins Edgefield property is so vast and rich that this pub crawl article and album do not come close to telling the whole story. So be sure to continue the series with these other albums and articles to give you the big picture of what I experienced on my two-day 2016 summer solstice adventure:
And remember there is also the introductory overview article: A McMenamins Edgefield Summer Solstice.
For more tales about other locations, see My McMenamins Passport Adventure.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 598
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