So after Jen and I got up the next morning we headed to an amazing breakfast at Mother's cafe and then hung around soaking up the 70 degree weather down by the river. We just hung out, relaxed, read the paper. We had happened upon a perfect day for my Birthday. Thanks Jen for setting that up too. :)
So now down to the business you all are interested in. The reason we spent all this time hanging out NOT drinking beer is because, well, no one was open yet. something about drinking beer with breakfast I guess. So we crossed the river with Three stops in Mind. Hopworks, Roots, and Amnesia Brewing.
We went to Roots first but being a Jamaican themed brewery and it being Wednesday they didn't open for lunch until 3:00...
So from there we headed to HOPWORKS. Spelled in big eastern block communist style font with a big bullseye. Beer for the people, with HOPS! Was the unwritten message here. Strange that the font was the only commie theme. I guess capitalism won out. The explicit theme written out on the menu and chalk boards was organic and hop oriented beers. We found a seat on the porch in the excellent sunshine and dug in to a sampler.
Hopworks, as the name says, is about lots of well hopped beers.They have an excellent range of hop usage from the spicy saaz in the excellent Czech pilsner to the Amarillo and centennial in the self titled ipa so indicitive of our region. All their beers are organic and they have a sustainable theme to their business. (Not very communist of them if you ask me) The sampler even includes every beer on the menu! No need to pick and choose. I was pleasantly impressed with the organic survival seven grain stout. It includes 7 of the historic civilization starting grains: wheat, barley, oats amaranth quinoa spelt and kamut. And the most important civilization component of all, espresso beans.
All their offerings are pleasant and well focused with a Signature hop flavor carefully selected for each beer. I love the thematic execution. I'm sure I will regret not filling both growlers here.
From there we moved on to Roots Brewing. It was late enough in the afternoon that we figured they would be opened. Roots was a nice counterpoint to Hopworks as they lean on the malt side of the equation. Their pub has a Jamaican theme with Reggae wafting out of the very nice speakers. It was another great fit for a sunny day.
They have Great imperials as their standard offering. The porter and stout are great examples of malty heavy beers with a nice creamy and malty taste. Their aptly named epic ale is also a great example of a nice malty beer at 12.5% it's still very drinkable, be warned. They do recognize the value of hops though. It is the pacific northwest after all. They have a red ale they call their red stout. It has the copper red color but the crystal and chocolate malt shine through nicely. The IPA and pale ale do show off that they know about hops and how to use them.
It's not as much if an ode to hops as hopworks is but they do an excellent job with the beers that are supposed to be hoppy. All in all come here. I ended up filling my second growler there with the Porter and picking up a giant bottle of the Epic ale. Thanks Roots!
We debated about trying to beat the traffic home or heading to Amnesia for one last tasting. Fear not we made the right decision!
Amnesia brewing is the embodiment of Summer. 70 degrees and sunny and rows of picnic tables lend themselves perfectly to the style of beer they favor. Citrusy hops, cloudy malts with light effetvescent bodies. Wonderful Belguim style summer brews! And all in the middle of March!! Eat your heart out east coast! The brewery was basically a corrugated garage with a big tent out front. It was packed. There was a line at the bar and a wait to get a seat at the tables. At 4:00 on a Wednesday! They had a 3 sausage menu and a cook on the barbecue grill outside. As simple as it sounds it was an awesome friendly social environment. Everyone was in an excellent mood. I suppose sun and beer will do that to you. It was a great final stop as we waited for the afternoon rush to clear and headed home.
Special thanks to my loving wife who hit another birthday out of the park. Thanks Honey!
And thanks to Portland for a great mid week weekend!