Anyway, sorry to get sidetracked. Back to Oregon.
From a "number of brewery visits" perspective, this day might seem shorter than most on the trip. Although we were only able to hit six places (amateurs!), we covered a lot of ground and also hit some roadblocks along the way.
As we approached Lincoln City (home of two stops for the afternoon), we thought we'd be coming in from the other direction. Now, I can see myself getting confused given my poor sense of direction, but even Brewslut was perplexed by our whereabouts. Nevertheless, she noticed McMenamins Lighthouse Brewpub just ahead on the right. It was just on the outskirts of some giant shopping plaza. We had planned to stop in anyway; we just thought we'd be starting our day at Rusty Truck Brewing Company.
|Pleeps enjoying the spotlight at McMenamins Lighthouse Brewpub.|
OK, here's where the day starts to go downhill.
We had originally planned on hitting coastal Oregon on the tail end of the trip (Tuesday) but realized that almost all of the breweries in Eugene were closed on Monday. So, we made some adjustments and coastal Oregon fit in most conveniently on Saturday. I implore you... NEVER visit a beach town (especially a touristy one) along the coast of Oregon during the summer months! Our next stop, Rusty Truck Brewing Company, which turned out to be the red-headed stepchild of the trip. I insisted we go since it was a mere 6 miles away from McMenamins. What ensued was a cluster fuck of horrendous beach traffic and a string of obscenities that lasted basically the entire 40-minute drive to Rusty Truck. While I've gotten a bit more tolerant with traffic in my older, calmer age, it doesn't seem to translate well when we're on vacation. To quote Luke Skywalker: "We're wasting our time here!" Unfortunately for us, those words rang all too true, because Rusty Truck was not really worth the 6-mile drive. Beer friends from PA will appreciate when I say this place reminded us of Abbey Wright, just outside of Williamsport. It seemed like a bar that one day decided to brew their own beer. I had a sinking feeling when we pulled up, went inside and right off the bat got a lukewarm greeting. We bellied up to the bar and perused the beer menu. There was a lot to digest, so we settled on a flight of six house beers. Here's the breakdown:
- Moonlight Ride Blackberry - aged on 126 lbs. of Oregon blackberries per 10-bbl batch
- Road Wrecker IPA - a classic Pacific NW IPA
- Pedal to the Metal - a DIPA brewed with almost 3 1/2 lbs. of hops per bbl
- Taft Toffee Porter - an old dock worker's favorite (I was most excited to try this one.)
- Stupiphany Imperial Red - the definition of stupiphany: "a sudden, inspired and profound realization that you did something stupid." The irony here isn't lost on me, folks. ;-)
- Pacific Grind Espresso Stout - coffee stout, yada yada yada.
|The Roadhouse aka Rusty Truck (Courtesy of Google)|
Our next stop was pretty much the impetus of the trip. Deuane had long mentioned that Pelican Brewing Co. in Pacific City boasted the absolute most amazing ambiance of any brewpub he'd ever visited. If you think we're well-traveled, well then you need to meet Deuane. He wouldn't even have time to write a blog, because he's always traveling. So needless to say, Perlican was perhaps the place I was most excited to visit. I hate building up a place so much that it turns out to be a let-down. Well my friends, unfortunately it wasn't in the cards for me. Not to say that I didn't enjoy our visit, but several things were working against us: Saturday beach traffic and parking (apparently they share a parking lot with the local beach). You think parking at Tröegs is bad? Pfft. Pales in comparison. I dropped off Brewslut to secure seating and circled the parking lot dozens of times until I found a spot (which technically wasn't even an actual spot). But I kept my cool... somewhat. When I entered, Brewslut mentioned the wait was about 90 minutes. Again, I get it. Saturday. Busy. Tourists. No problem. We peruse the bar and notice a few patrons getting ready to leave. There was an older couple waiting longer than us, so we let them take the vacant seats instead of diving in like vultures. I said to them, "No worries, we're just getting some beers and going outside." But then two other people were wrapping up, so we waited for their seats. Meanwhile these two biker dicks came in and were waiting for bar seating. When I went to take the seats, the guy says to me, "I thought you were going outside." I said I was going to go outside until the seats opened. But I didn't feel like arguing with him. I just said, "Don't worry, we came here all the way from PA, but go ahead and just take them." He didn't pick up on my sarcasm because he simply said, "Thanks!"
|Haystack Rock, a stone's throw from Pelican.|
Slightly frazzled after a somewhat disappointing visit to Pelican, it was off to what turned out to be the silver lining of this somewhat doomed day. (Oh, there's more doomsday news later... remember, we're working in chronological order.) A leisurely 40-minute drive delivered us to De Garde Brewing, and it couldn't have come at a better time. I had only just recently caught wind of this amazing brewery a few months earlier, first from a colleague at work and also some friends who brought a few bottles to my recent Ffej of July shindig. The brewery was situated near an open air field complete with an adjacent small airport. I felt like we were in Nebraska or some other Midwest state with straight roads as far as the eye can see. Then I noticed some mountains and realized we were still in Oregon.
Inside and out, the place was brimming with beer enthusiasts, for today De Garde was releasing its Nectarine Premiere, a wild farmhouse ale aged in oak barrels with nectarines. This beer sounded delicious! Upon checking into Untappd, I realized that I, in fact, had already tried this beer, oddly enough at last year's Ffej of July event! If you were there, you'd know that I wasn't in any shape to remember... well, pretty much anything past 5 p.m. So in essence, it was like having it for the first time. And damn was it mighty tasty! This one was certainly in contention for Top 5 beers of the trip (if I had the inclination to create such a list).
|De Garde's chalkboard. Yeaaaaah buddy!|
- Petit Citra, a tart farmhouse ale aged in oak barrels and dry-hopped with Citra
- Petit Desay, just a tart wild farmhouse ale (no wood)
- Sans, a Gose brewed with coriander and Jacobsen sea salt
|Inside De Garde's facility. Wood is good!|
|Outside Pelican's Tap Room in Tillamook.|
On the way out of town, we decided to make a pit stop and swing by the Tillamook Cheese Factory since it was only about two miles out of our way and highly recommended by some locals. Probably known more for its ice cream rather than cheese, this place was pretty huge and impressive. And you never have to twist my arm to get ice cream! Upon entering, we saw the line for ice cream cones (again... Saturday. Tourists. Etc.) we decided to seek refreshment elsewhere. We darted to the back of the store and purchased a pint of chocolate mint ice cream and a big bag of habañero cheese curds and hit the rocky road. (Did you catch that slick ice cream analogy?)
|Mmmm... cheesy convestibles! Finest in the district, sir! (Courtesy of Google)|
We realized we were in the same neighborhood as McMenamins Kennedy School, so we set the GPS to the appropriate coordinates and off we went. A few minutes later, we arrived, parked, and entered the large building. This place really is situated in an old school. I immediately proceeded to find us two imperial pints of beer. (NOTE: We visit the Kennedy School location later in the trip, so I'll save my commentary on this place for that particular blog. I will saw this place was absolutely amazing!)
Finally, after about an hour or so of travel-related stress due to not knowing if we'd have somewhere to rest our weary heads for the night, we finally were able to resolve our hotel issue. Priceline had found us a new hotel for the same three nights we had originally booked at the Extended Stay America. They graciously upgraded us to a Holiday Inn Express about 15 miles south of Portland. And not only did they charge us the same rate as our original cheaper hotel, they also comped an entire night for us! Overall, Priceline handled the situation extremely well, and honestly this was the first issue booking hotels we ever had with them (and we'd been using them for years). To make things even better, Holiday Inn Express is known for having a great free hot breakfast buffet. Score! Needless to say, Brewslut was in dire need of liquid refreshment. Beer to the rescue!
While at Kennedy School, we enjoyed a Geiger Counter IPA and Copper Moon, a Pale Ale brewed with 100% organic malted barley. The Geiger Counter IPA might have been my favorite McMenamins beer of the trip, with its aromatic hop bill consisting of three favorite varieties: Chinook, Mosaic, and Simcoe. This one really hit the spot after a long, somewhat stressful day. As if the day wasn't long enough, Brewslut was savoring her beer so I opted for a second pint. This time, it was one of McMenamins standard offerings: Hammerhead, a classic NW Pale Ale brewed exclusively with Cascade hops. A tried and true craft beer style, this one did not disappoint.
|Yup... that's Most Most Premium in a plastic hotel cup.|
Stay tuned for three more days of beer mayhem as we penetrate the city limits and invade Portland with two livers that never rest. Until next time...