I live in Seattle where there is not exactly a shortage of excellent locally-made beer, but I consider Portland, Oregon the true Beer Mecca. For a recent visit, my Aussie husband spent quite some time researching all the latest and greatest breweries in the greater metro area, and came up with a list of places we needed to check out. The list was 2 pages long. As soon as we mentioned we were passing through Portland suggestions came out of the woodwork for even more places to try. I could see where this was headed, and I packed some extra aspirin.
We have some perennial favorites; Hair of the Dog, Cascade, Amnesia, and every visit seems to add another name to that list. Or two… this visit yielded 2 outstanding entrants in Base Camp (a brand-new brewpub that everyone everywhere else we went kept recommending) and Burnside Brewing Company which has actually been around a couple of years.
Heading to Base Camp http://basecampbrewingco.com/ we were expecting some small start-up with a couple of decent house brews on tap. What we found was a full-throttle operation with canning facilities, a nice tasting room and some very tasty beer. We went for the sampler, which included their S’more Stout – complete with toasted marshmallow. It was amazing, and the rest of the offerings measured up. I would recommend it to you – if all the other brewers/servers in the area haven’t already…
Burnside Brewing http://burnsidebrewco.com/ is a more established brewery, but by no means boring. The beers tend toward the hoppy end of the spectrum which is fine by me, but my Aussie husband would have preferred to see some more malt. They do have a truly unique beer called “Sweet Heat” that is hard for me to describe, so I will use their blurb – “a wheat ale with an addition of 200 pounds of Apricot puree, then dry hopped with imported Jamaican Scotch Bonnet peppers.” Let me tell you it is addicting! I am not a fan of chili beers, but this one was so well balanced you only got the heat at the back of your throat at the end. Which makes you want to drink more. These people are clever. They also know how to cook with some imagination. Exhibit A – their Cohiba Cigar appetizer; essentially a duck confit eggroll wrapped in collard greens with a (this is my favorite part) ground hazelnut and freeze-dried duck fat “ash” to dip it in. You need to go there and order this!