Brian's Photo Blog — Article 695
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Dining Out in Silverton, Oregon
Saturday 21 October 2017   —   Category: Dining Out
Because of my continuing McMenamins Passport adventure, most of my dining out for 2017 has been at one or another of the many McMenamins locations. But that doesn’t mean I never eat at a non-​McMenamins restaurant.

Sometimes business takes me to Silverton, about an hour’s drive from where I live in Albany, Oregon. Earlier in the spring I tried out two Silverton dining establishments, with mixed results.
In March 2017 I stopped by The Gallon House for the first time. Contrary to what I was expecting, this place is more of a bar than a restaurant. They were playing nice Irish music for St. Patrick’s week. The friendly bartender was also the waiter.

To start things off, I chose a pint of Kell’s Irish Red, from Port­land’s Kells Brewery. According to the brewer, it is:

“A traditional Irish Red Ale, with notes of caramel, toffee and toasted malt.” Meas­ure­ments: 4.5% ABV • 23 IBU

My notes from that day read: “Pretty good, not overpowering.”

The beer went well with the Bourbon Chicken I had for lunch. According to the menu, the meal consisted of “grilled marinated chicken topped with a mushroom and onion bourbon demi-​glace served with garlic mashers and seasoned veggies.“
My notes from that day read: “Both the chicken and the bourbon sauce were pretty good. The veggies consisted of baby carrots, broccoli, bell pepper, onion and mushrooms. The garlic mashed po­ta­toes were good but not very garlicky. All in all a quite enjoyable meal.”

After lunch I still had another hour be­fore I had to be anywhere else, so I de­cid­ed to slowly sip another beer while reading a Star Trek Kindle book on my iPad mini.
The Gallon House has a really slick elec­tron­ic tap list, powered by DigitalPour. The photo to the right shows only one of the two large screens.

After seeing this science-​fiction-​like sys­tem, I installed the companion Dig­it­al­Pour app on my iPad.
I decided to try a few samples before making my choice. Guided by the tap list, my first sample was MacPelican’s Scottish Ex­port Ale, from Pelican Brewing Company in Pacific City, Or­e­gon. According to the brewer:

“Our interpretation of the Scottish Export style is coppery am­ber in color and features a mild, malty aroma. Golden Promise malt from the UK gives this beer its rich, complex malt flavor and silky texture. Willamette hops add balance and a little snap to the flavor and finish of this smooth, easy-drinking ale.” Meas­ure­ments: 5% ABV • 16 IBU

My notes from that day read: “This is good, I would get a whole pint sometime in the future.”
The next two samples were from a brewery located right there in Silverton: Belgian Underground Beers. The first was Armée Secrète Belgian Style Golden Strong Ale. According to the brewer:

“The Armée Secrète (Geheim Leger, or Secret Army) was the largest resistance group active in Belgium during WWII. De­spite the name, most members were unarmed civilians involved in gathering intelligence and operating safe houses for the protection of those sought by the occupying forces. This golden strong ale was brewed to honor those who showed uncommon courage in defiance of an invading force.” Meas­ure­ments: 9.7% ABV • 31 IBU

My notes from that day read: “Not so nice; like a lot of Belgian beers, it’s too yeasty.”
The second of their beers I tried was Het Vrige Woord. It passed inspection so I got a whole pint. According to the brewer:

“One of many clandestine newspapers in circulation in occupied Belgium, Het Vrije Woord (The Free Word) was an invaluable source of information and usually able to transmit news more quickly and accurately than traditional media. This light and refreshing unfiltered lager was brewed to honor those who risked their lives to make sure the truth was told.” Meas­ure­ments: 5% ABV • 20 IBU

My notes from that day read: “I really like this ... it’s like a good Pilsner, tasty and not watery. I would get it again!”
A month later, in April 2017, I returned to The Gallon House for a beer, but not a meal. I had a pint of seasonal Red Chair NWPA, from Dechutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. According to the brewer:

“The citrus punch of a big IPA, minus the one-dimensional hop sledgehammer. Several select European and domestic malts round out the edges for a complex, copper-colored brew. Like its namesake ski lift, it’s an insider’s ride to fresh thrills. Available January through April.” Meas­ure­ments: 6.2% ABV • 60 IBU

My notes from that day read: “A bit hoppy, but fairly good. I probably would not get it again.”
When I was back in Silverton in May, I decided to expand my horizons and try a different restaurant: Gather Café. I should have stuck with The Gallon House!

They did not have much of a beer selection. I ended up with a Paulie’s Not Irish Red Irish style red ale from Portland’s Old Town Brewing. According to the brewer:

“Bronze medal winner 2014 — World Beer Cup. Inspired by an old friend who had to perpetually explain to tone-deaf patrons that his accent was, in fact, Scottish, not Irish. Caramel notes, toasted malt, well-rounded and perfectly balanced.” Meas­ure­ments: 5.6% ABV • 30 IBU

My notes from that day read: “Pretty good ... maybe just slightly watery ... it was OK, I suppose I would get it again if there weren’t any better choices. Lompoc Proletariat Red is still the king of reds!”
The food menu disappointed me as well when I tried to order a dish I had seen on the menu on their Web site: Stuffed Por­ta­bel­la. The waitress told me that they had just changed their menu so that item was no longer available, and the Web menu was out of date.

So I got their Steak Sandwich instead, which, according to the menu, consisted of “sliced flank steak grilled medium, caramelized fennel, pickled onion and Portland Creamery Chèvre on a toasted ciabatta.”
Although the waitress was very friendly, it took a long time to get my food — at least 30 minutes after I had ordered. But once it finally arrived, more dis­ap­point­ments followed. My notes from that day read:

“The sandwich was pretty pathetic ... not much meat, and what meat there was was nothing special. Also, the cheese looked very much like cheddar rather than the stated goat cheese. The whole sandwich and the salad were nothing special, nor was the beer. Taking into consideration the mediocre food, the very slow service and the price, I don’t see any reason why I would ever go back. Very disappointing and a total waste of money! Even a Philly steak sandwich at Denny’s is way better and much cheaper!”
Larger versions of the ten photos on this page can be viewed in the new Silverton Dining 2017 album.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 695
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