Monday, February 22, 2010

stout month, astoria, and pacific city

(Astoria brewing could use a better graphic designer, but as a dad to a bulldog, I felt a photo was warranted. Sadly, this was the last photo I took before my phone battery drained too much for the camera function!)

This past week I stopped over at green dragon on my way home from work to grab some dinner and a drink, and found that it was the Fort George meet the brewer event. I was already planning on going to Astoria for stout month for the weekend, so the event made a good preview for what was to come.

I had a coffee girl, murky pearl oyster stout, and barrel aged cavatica. The murky pearl was probably my favorite. As has been my experience with oyster stouts, the flavor of oyster was completely absent, and it tasted more like a dry export style stout than anything else. I'd be curious to try this one brewed without the oysters to see just how much the addition actually effected the final product. Regardless, it was delicious and I'd gladly have another down the road. I love stouts with coffee in them, but the coffee girl tastes more like coffee with stout in it. I first drank this one about a year ago, and thought the coffee was even more dominant this time, possibly due to it's freshness. Still, lack of depth and complexity aside, this is a tasty beer if you're in the mood for it. The barrel aged cavatica was nice, but not as heavy as I usually like from my barrel aged beers (or stouts in general).

Along with the beers, I picked up a lot of great swag. Two Fort George screen printed pint glasses, a Fort George hat, and a Stout Month 2010 t-shirt.

On friday, I swung by belmont station and grabbed my first bottles of supplication. I drank one immediately and although I thought it was very good, I wasn't expecting the bitter finish, and it was a bit of a put-off for me. I bought several more bottles, so I'll be able to to give this one a couple more chances, but right now, I put it on the bottom rank of the three readily available wild ales from russian river, with consecration and temptation battling it out for the #1 spot.

Saturday I left for Astoria with a couple of friends. When we got into town we stopped for a quick pint at rogue before getting more centrally located, and parking the car for the day. At rogue, I had a John John dead guy, which I was pretty disappointed with. The very limited amount of time this beer spends in the barrel was evident, and it was all dead guy, and no barrel.

From Rogue, we drove into town and parked by bowpicker fish n' chips, where we had some delicious albacore fish and chips. I found this place on yelp, and I'm glad that I did. This is a highly recommended stop when in Astoria. From Bowpicker, we walked over to Astoria brewing. I had their stone cold strong ale, pat had their kick ass stout, and bryan had their bitter bitch. I though my strong ale was nice, but not very memorable. While the kick ass stout fell a bit short of actually kicking ass, it was very good, and I ordered one of my own later. The bitter bitch is possible one of the most piney dipa's I've ever tasted. It was a well crafted drink, and although I usually prefer citrus and floral qualities from my hops, the mega-pine flavor really worked for me. We noticed that mirror mirror was on the guest tap, and so each ordered one. To our surprise, it was served in full pints!

After Astoria Brewing, it was time to make our way over to Fort George to catch us some stout month. First up was badda bing, which was described as a "flanders style sour cherry stout". I had really high hopes for this one, but I have to admit, I think it was a failed experiment. I'm not sure what I would have expected from a sour cherry stout, but this one tasted more like an accidental infection than a purposely crafted beer. VERY similar to the infamous infected Pike Entire stout. When I drank my entire stout this year, I expected a disaster, and thought to myself "hey, this isn't that bad!", but going into this one, I had high hopes, and was unfortunately pretty let down. After the badda ding, I moved onto another coffee girl, and then we finished the visit off by splitting a bottle of North 3.

At this point, my recollections get a little fuzzy, and there's not much else to report here about beer.

The next morning, we packed up the car and I convinced (coerced?) the guys to make the drive down the coast to Pacific City to get lunch at Pelican.

Pelican is an amazing brew pub. Situated directly on the beach, we picked the perfect (65 and sunny) late February day for our visit. The pub was a popular destination this weekend, and there was a 45 minute wait for a table, but we easily occupied the time with imperial pints, which they let you take out of the bar and out onto the sand. The first beer of the day was Riptide Red. Feeling a little "tender" from the night before, I eased into this glass; but it was just what the doctor ordered. Revived in time for lunch, I ordered a cup of tsunami stout chili, a bacon cheese burger, and a kiwanda cream ale. The chili was great. So great, that I overlooked their use of beans. Deliciously spiced and exactly what I had been craving on the entire drive down. The burger arrived (very) late. I had order medium and it was rare, the fries where cooling down, and they forgot the bacon. I could tell that this was probably a great burger when properly served, but the kitchen's inability to handle the big crowd showed, and I was left a bit disappointed on the food end. The beer was great, the atmosphere was fantastic, and the stop was the perfect ending to our beer coast adventure. On the way out, I grabbed a bottle of stormwatchers winterfest barley wine. From Pelican, we piled back into the car, and head back across the forest to Portland to wrap up our trip.

On this trip, Pelican definitely stole the show. Best beer (of the weekend), best location (possibly ever), and even though there were some hang-ups in the kitchen, I have faith that when the kitchen is properly staffed for the kind of traffic they probably never expected to see on a sunday in late February, probably the best food too.

I look forward to returning to Pacific City as soon as the opportunity arises.

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