Sunday, September 25, 2005

Mostly an Adventure, but Almost a Fiasco

So last month I gave Paul a bus ticket for his birthday. (No, I didn't send him packing...quick thinking though.) Since it was homemade, it didn't count, but I also reserved 2 spots on the Brew Bus Portland Brewery tour for Septembeer 24th. Finally we could check off a few more breweries from our enormous list!
Yesterday was the big day, so we went downtown to the Lloyd Center Mall Doubletree Hotel & waited for the acclaimed tour guy & local historian, Jim Long. That morning on the phone he told us the tour was going to be a little bit different than normal, but that he though we would really like it. Boy were we in for a surprise - the little difference was that the Brew Bus tour wasn't going to involve a BUS! Instead, his plan was to use public transportation (but not the busses). It was kind of neat, and even a little bit exciting when he neglected to buy us tickets for our Max ride, which faces a $200 fine.
We double-Max'ed over to our first spot, the biggest brewery in the state, Widmer Brothers. We were a little bit disappointed to hear that it's partially owned by Anheuser Busch, but since Widmer was never our fave... It was a really neat modern brewery though. We saw where they fill & label the bottles, make the beer, store the hops, and serve their beer. We both agreed that our tasting samples were just okay.
After that we went to one of the many McMenamin Brothers pubs, the White Eagle. Their beer was pretty good. Jim, the tour guide bought a few pints and split them 5 ways for us to taste, enough to add up to a full pint by the time we left by Taxi for the next place, Amnesia Brewery in the Mississippi District. There we did more of the same, tasting each beer from the lightest to the darkest. It was pretty good too, but I was starting to feel a bit tipsy. Thankfully, as appetizers were promised as part of the tour package, Jim purchased an italian sausage from the grill for us to split 6 ways. Mmmmm, was I full!
Then we took off to the last spot, Tuck's Brewery. We grabbed another cab to the west side & landed in the coolest spot we'd seen all day. Max, the brewmaster, had created a super-giant homebrew set-up (Paul's homebrew gear on steroids). Max only taps his 7-10 brews on Saturdays, and mans the bar himself. We learned a lot from him and he also gave us a spare tapper for free! Tuck's offered some amazing (some would say over-the-top) beers. One tasted like liquid smoke, and another tasted like creamy vanilla-raspberries, which this chick liked a lot (of course). I wish we had started the tour there, because I literally couldn't drink any more beer (ahem, maybe a couple more appetizers would have helped). Anyway, after that stop, our A.R. tour guide hailed another cab back to the starting line. What did we do then? Paul & I took off toward the Pearl district for some food. I wanted to try the most likely of places, Henry's Tavern, known for serving over 100 different beers on tap. Needless to say, I went there for the onion rings.

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