Portland Fresh Hop Season

Posted on October 6, 2010


ON my last actual day in North America before flying out to Australia for a few years, I had to push in one more trip to Portland for a surprise birthday for a buddy. How I have such an understanding wife is one thing, but to have one last gasp of drinking Northwest Beers is another.

This post is not meant to be a review of bars I have already spoken about, nor reviewing beers that others have already but recapping some of the special moments. The Fresh Hop time is now where beers are made using the freshest hops direct from the farm. Without doubt it’s a different beer experience than what you get in a can or bottle, and it is definitely worth trying direct from the source.

Full Sail Brewing that are oddly located in a McCormick and Shmicks restaurant on the water in Porter had their fresh hop Pilsner & IPA on when I went in yesterday. Alameda Brewpub had on an amazing fresh up IPA that many on the trip thought was the best beer thus far. We had the pleasurable experience of Walking Man, Deschutes and Laurelwood.

The key for this town is hitting it when there is an event, or special beer season in place. The last trip down in April I can recall still being some Winter Beers around, but everything was moving towards the lighter summer beers. I’m not a huge fan of Hefeweisen, nor wit beers, but I can see why you have to mix it up based on the season. Winter Beer season is only a month away, so had we come down in November or Early December that is when this town comes alive with ‘Winter Warmers’.

Geoffrey from Baileys just got back Belgium and we had a brief chat about our experiences, and we got a mini tour of Deschutes for the guys in from the UK and Toronto. The only downside for me was Cascade Brewery on Belmont Street, as I know its new, but I found many of the beers very over-rated. Many on the table were left undrunk. But again this could have been the timing where sometimes we are not feeling 100% when we go to a bar, but I will try it again next time. Then at Laurelwood the beers came out in the glass almost fucking frozen. We all commented on it, but were unsure if thats their Ice Cold thing, or whether we just timed it wrong on the day.

Photos of this trip were not taken, but I think i have photo’d enough beer in the last few months, so next post will have some more shots with another recap from experiences.

The Biggest discussion came down to ‘Ratebeer’ & ‘Beer Advocate’ in how do you Rate a Beer or Bar fairly? Though we didn’t enjoy some beers on the trip, and loved others, is it fair to rate it after 1 tasting? or should there be other factors involved too. So one of our group is at the few thousand mark for tastings, and every taste he writes down.

Bars cannot be rated after your first trip, and thus I feel the same about beers. Though seasonal releases almost allow for it, as it could only be once in the season you get to try it..