Portland has a lot of fine drinking opportunities, with great bars and wineries in addition to about 30 local breweries. Even the gas stations have a pretty sweet beer fridge.
If you like beer, then Rogue Ales is certainly a familiar name. Its Dead Guy Ale has made it a big name in craft brewing. If you’re ever in Portland, Oregon, pay a visit to its distillery and public house. In addition to a big beer list and surprisingly advanced food menu, you can take the distillery tour any day Mon-Fri at 2 pm.
They have beer samplers that let you taste their many (many) brews. My two favorites:
Hazelnut Brown Nectar: A brown ale with a slightly sweet hazelnut flavor that hits you in the middle of your taste followed by a malty finish. Vanilla and hazelnut on the nose make for a unique experience all around.
Brutal Bitter: This is a well-rounded beer with a smooth mouthfeel that transitions to a bitter hops finish. If you like bitters, this one will make you smile.
This place will definitely give you a case of “too many beers, not enough time.” If you’re going for a sampler, I’d skip the St. Rogue Red Ale and make sure to try the Juniper Pale Ale, Shakespeare Stout or Mocha Porter.
Rogue also makes rum and gin. After being so impressed with the hazelnut beer, I tried the hazelnut rum. I was expecting to be blown away, but that didn’t happen. What I got was a pretty average rum with a little too much heat and not much hazelnut to discern.
I was starving when I got there, so the Kobe beef sliders and generous side salad (topped with cranberries, hazelnut and blue cheese) made my day. I heard from a friend that the Blue Balls, which are meatballs stuffed with blue cheese, were outrageous.
Rogue actually has quite a few locations (many in Oregon, one in Washington and another in San Francisco). If you want to add a tour on to your drinking experience, there’s the Portland distillery tour and the Independence, Oregon hop yard tour.
If you see Rogue ales in your local store, grab ‘em. And if you’re ever out west, these friendly folks will pour you a tasty craft beer.