Category Archives: Pacific Northwest

One THOUSAND! The Video

We’re back on video! We created this shortish clip as a companion piece to the travelogue I wrote about our 1,000th brewery Urban Beer Hike.

Going in, Merideth and I realized that we would be too distracted enjoying the moment to shoot enough footage for a full beergeek.TV One Pint at a Time episode. Instead, we decided to film short snippets at each brewery stop to capture the spirit of our milestone day.

Enjoy this snapshot of our 1,000th brewery day…

One THOUSAND!

One THOUSAND breweries. A journey that began in the late 1980s culminated earlier this month in Seattle, WA with Merideth and I visiting our 1,000th brewery.

This was never really the plan. There was no plan when I started keeping track of the breweries we visited. But “the List” began to take on a life of its own becoming the focus of our travels.

We really didn’t think about 1,000 until we reached the 750 range. Then it was just a feeling “I want to reach 1,000 before I turn 50.” Only at #900, did Merideth and I start discussing the possible the milestone brewery. Ideas ranged from some exotic locale to that brewery we always wanted to visit, Budweiser in St. Louis.

When we reached #950, I realized I needed to start planning in earnest. Reaching out to a fellow beer traveling friend, he said something that stuck in my head. Whatever we did, it needed to be special. After some thought, special to us was an Urban Beer Hike in Seattle with a group of friends.

Fast forward to Merideth and I sitting at #994. On a rainy Saturday morning, we met up with that group of friends at Brouwers Cafe, the starting point for our hike. Over a few beers and some much needed food, Merideth and I caught up with our fellow beer hikers, most we hadn’t seen in a few years. At the scheduled time, 12:30pm, our group started our trek to the first brewery in a light drizzle. Our looping journey would start in the Fremont district and end in Interbay. In between, we would hit the brewery dense Ballard and Magnolia districts.

Let’s get hiking!

Despite the rain, it was a pleasant walk as we set out along the tree-lined path decorated in fall colors. The only hazard were the puddles. There would be plenty of time for wet feet without the added soaking of stepping into one of the small lakes along our route.

First stop

Covering territory we had walked on previous beer hikes in Seattle, we passed Hales, one of the first 50 breweries visited and the new Fremont Brewing facility. Before long and still relatively dry, we were at Lucky Envelope Brewing, #995 on “The List.”

Usually, Merideth and I would order a taster set. But today wasn’t about the beer, it was about enjoying the moment, enjoying time with friends. Quickly scanning the choices, Merideth ordered a Blonde Ale. I went with ENIAC 2.0 a 6.9% ABV Mosaic-based IPA. With pints in hand, we rejoined the group at a large table and continued the banter that began at Brouwers.

With a schedule to keep, Lucky Envelope was a one and done. Thankfully, more beer wasn’t long in coming as our second stop, Stoup Brewing, was literally around corner. With the weather, their rather large outdoor seating area was empty. We squeezed into the smallish, busy tasting room and joined the queue for beer.

All smiles at our second stop

Merideth and I played true to form with our beer choices; she with their award-winning Hefeweizen, me with the Citra IPA. Beers in hand, our group scattered about the tasting room looking to squeeze into a corner or along the wall.

Despite being a non-taster flight day, traveling with our little gang afforded us the opportunity to try a number of beers that our compatriots ordered. Getting a sip of the wonderful and also award-winning Stoup Porter I decided going forward  I would temper my hophead tendencies and branch out with my beer choices.

The special moment of the day happened when Chris D. pointed out a Fraggle sticker on the wall at Stoup. Merideth and I thought it very fitting that Fraggle unexpectedly became part of our big day.

Beers at Reuben’s

In the Ballard district, ticking off breweries was like shooting fish in a barrel. After contemplating a second beer at Stoup, we again decided our schedule dictated we press on. Reuben’s Brews, our third stop, was another short walk.

A dizzying array of beer choices confronted us, 24 in all. While Merideth started with 5.7% ABV Belgian Pale I jumped off the IPA train and ordered the 6.2% ABV Robust Porter. After quick sips at the bar, #997 was officially added.

Lucky for our sizable group, a large table opened up in the crowded tasting room while we were lined up for beers. Sitting at the beer glass filled table with our friends chatting about this and that, I realized that we had made the right choice for our 1,000th brewery trip.

Maybe starting to get into a groove, Reuben’s was the first multi-beer stop. Despite my vow to broaden my horizons, I went back to the hops, ordering the Amarillo Fresh Hop Pale Ale.

Hilliard’s

Even on our 1,000th brewery day, we stuck to the code we developed all those years ago. Walking into a tasting room that the locals in our group weren’t sure met the brewed on premise rule, we verified with the bartender that in fact the beer was brewed elsewhere. I felt bad as our group of eight, who had just entered, all left.

Our backup choice and last Ballard brewery of the day was Hilliard’s Beer. It truly felt like the quiet before the storm as Merideth and I sipped on Chrome Satan, their delicious version of a California Common. Props for the name, an anagram for the well-known version from San Francisco.

With a number of beers under our belts, our hike leader, Dave,  recommended a quick stop for some food. After a few slices and pints at Ballard Pizza Company, it was time for the first of two long legs of the hike.

Darkness had started to settle in during our pizza and beer break. Bundled up, we set off through “downtown” Ballard heading towards the Magnolia district. Walking past hip shops, bars and restaurants, I felt oddly dressed in my shorts and rain gear. Thankfully, I wasn’t wearing a bright yellow rain poncho or I would have really felt out of place.

The locks at night

Through a park we came upon the Ballard locks. Officially called the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, I had no idea they even existed in Seattle. The series of locks connect Lakes Washington and Union to the Puget Sound and looked beautiful at night lit up in the rain.

The last of the triple digit breweries

Arriving at Urban Family Brewing, there was not just one but two kids birthday parties happening. Seeing no cake, I moved on to the important matter of getting a beer. Easily the most eclectic selection of beers on the day, Urban Family specializes in French and Belgian-style Farmhouse ales.

For the last of the triple digit breweries, Merideth and I both ordered the Saison, The Flowers Are Always Asleep. Other beers ordered by our crew were Limesicle, an IPA with lime zest and the deep purple colored Herr Kinski’s Blackberry Thought-Forms.

Over these beers, we squeezed in a few games of Asteroids and Missile Command on vintage consoles.

The last portion of the hike to West Seattle was another long one. In a beer hike first for us, we passed a bustling rail yard full of locomotives and boxcars. Something that I would expect to be behind a security fence, we walked past as if we were walking through a mall parking lot. If I had dreams of dropping out of society to ride the rails as a hobo, this seemed my big moment to leap on a locomotive or car and really travel. Even after a bunch of beers, I think I made the right choice to continue walking.

1000th brewery kiss

Holy Mountain Brewing was aptly named for our thousandth brewery. For me, the day’s hike to reach Holy Mountain was the end of a long beer pilgrimage that started in 1987 at Triple Rock Brewery in Berkeley.

For the milestone beer at the milestone brewery Merideth ordered the 4.8% ABV The White Lodge Wit. My beer to mark the moment was Three Fates, a 4.8% ABV Pilsner-style beer.

Nowhere else to be, we celebrated over many beers at Holy Mountain. Eight miles walked. Six breweries visited. Milestone achieved. We can’t thank our friends enough for joining us on our special day: Chris D, Dave, Mandy, Link, Allie, Melissa, Renee, Mike, Russ, Phillippe. Special thanks go out to Dave for not only planning the hike but also keeping us on schedule during  and Chris D for letting us invade his work for our thousandth.

It truly feels like an end of an era for us. When we started beer traveling, there was a sense of adventure, such as finding the brewery in Italy with our only directions being that it was in the village’s main piazza. Today, with the sheer number of breweries and technology, beer travel has morphed into more a matter of logistics; how many breweries can we fit in a certain amount of time. We’re not sure what thebeergeek.com will look like moving forward but it will most likely more closely resemble our Zoigl experience rather than what we have done in the past. We hope you continue to follow along as we look for new beer adventures.

Here is a little video shot to commemorate the moment.

View all the images from our Seattle trip

My Day at Rogue Farms

Chris and I rarely beer travel separately. We enjoy traveling together and it feels weird to do otherwise. However, when I was presented with an opportunity to spend the day out at Rogue Farms celebrating women, beer and agriculture, I had to do it. And, leave Chris behind.

Rogue farms in Independence, OR

Beer Goddess Lisa Morrison and I started the morning out with an hour and a half drive from Portland down to Independence, a small pastoral town with lots of character. After a few missed turns due to chatting, we arrived at Rogue Farms. I was first struck with the size of the farm. I expected the hop yard (which was as impressive as any I’ve seen in Germany), but I didn’t realize all the other wonderful things going on there.

Acres and acres of hop bine walls on my left were matched on my right with a hazelnut orchard, rye field and beehives as we drove in. Shortly after arriving, the group of mostly media folks (and mostly women) gathered in the James and Franny Coleman Conference Center. Barley’s Angels Director Christine Jump organized the day’s schedule with fun and informative activities that started out with a taco lunch made with Chicken cooked in Rogue’s Chipotle Ale. It was very tasty, but admittedly it was odd that we were only offered water and pink lemonade for beverages (no beer).

During our lunch, we were treated to an entertaining talk about “beer vacations” from the famous Teri Fahrendorf. She offered great tips for organizing a well-planned, beer-packed adventure, as well as talked about her famous Pink Boots Tour, the cross-country journey that gave rise to the Pink Boots Society.

oh beautiful hops…

The next activity was a hopyard tour led by Farm Manager Natascha Cronin. While surrounded by Independent hop bines, she admitted to being a bit nervous talking to a bunch of well-versed beer people. Natascha performed brilliantly, however, as she led us through the life of a hop on Rogue Farms—from growing and harvesting to kilning and baling.

We then gathered outside on the lawn for Lisa’s seminar on proper glassware. She led us in an extremely effective exercise with spiced gumdrops that demonstrated the importance of aroma (I don’t want to give away Lisa’s party trick, so all I’ll say is that it was amazing!) and guided us through a taste test using various glassware, including one that fully cups around your nose and mouth. Her talk also gave us the first opportunity to drink some beer! Drinking Rogue Chocolate Stout out of a pilsner glass was an interesting experience to say the least. So was sharing the outdoor area with a handful of chickens who weaved in and around our tables. One especially vocal rooster even gave Lisa several crows of approval towards the end of her talk.

The Farmstead brewery…

More beer was to come as we took a “tour” of the Farmstead Brewery. The tour consisted of hanging out in a barn with a woodworking shop on one end and a 1.5 bbl system on the other. Head Brewer Josh Cronin is a down-to-earth guy who laughed at his job title. He is, after all, the only brewer. We mingled and tried out the patio furniture made from old barrels as we sipped our samples of a not yet finished Nut Brown Ale. It needed a bit more time, but the flavor was definitely there and it was good! I also appreciated Josh’s casual approach to brewing. His perspective as a brewer is very similar to my perspective as a beer drinker: Do you like the beer? Is it good? Then it’s a keeper. If not, try something else. No need to over analyze things.

Beer and food pairing…

By this time, we were running a bit behind on our agenda, so Julia Herz took us on a whirlwind adventure in food pairing. She provided a fast-paced, authoritative presentation on how flavors contrast and complement each other. All of the beers were fantastic and our selection of food items was fun. Here’s some of our table’s findings:

Chatoe Rogue’s Good Chit Pils was a perfect match with feta. Ellie’s Brown from Avery definitely did NOT go with the feta! Breckenridge’s Oatmeal Stout went very well with the dark chocolate and blue cheese was exceptional with Rogue’s Imperial IPA. The hand’s down favorite pairing at our table was also the most surprising: Crabtree Brewing’s Berliner Weiss with dill pickles! I’ll eat pickles regardless of what I’m drinking. Doesn’t matter if the flavors conflict. But now I know at least one option I can go to when chowing down on a jar of pickles. One pairing that will come as no surprise to anyone was that the caramel corn went great with everything!

Perhaps my favorite part of the day was the soap making and foot balm demonstrations by Tammy Taggart of Farmland Soap Company. Apparently my interest in this was obvious, as Lisa later told me that I looked absolutely riveted. Among her other products, Tammy talked about her methods of using craft beer in soap (a bar of which we each got to take home) and hop oil in foot balm (we got one of those, too). It was very cool to watch and even the talk of rigorous safety precautions when using lye (an extremely caustic ingredient in soap) didn’t deter me from thinking I may have found my newest hobby.

Note: In the process of making soap, the lye is neutralized when it reacts with other ingredients. So just to be clear, Tammy’s soaps are absolutely safe.

The last part of day at the farm was time at the tap room. It was also the least structured and gave us an opportunity to socialize. Our participation in the day’s events included tastes of the beer, spirits, and rootbeer. I, however, stuck with beer. I especially enjoyed the Dirtoir Black Lager while talking beer with fellow girl beer geeks Corrie and Megan.

Here with Brian Yaeger and Lisa Morrison. The end to a great day…

The crowning glory of our amazing day was a farm to table feast of roast pig, salmon, and shrimp ceviche made with lime and pilsner. The cornbread topped with garlic butter and the coleslaw were equally tasty. Unfortunately, after all that, I was too full to get my rootbeer float.

The sun was setting and Lisa began to feel the effects of being the most popular girl at the mosquito party, both signals that it was our time to leave. It had been a long and remarkable day of celebrating women, beer, and agriculture. And one I will definitely mark up there with some of my best beer adventures.

Thank you to everyone at Rogue Farms (go to http://www.rogue.com/almanac/chatoe.php to see what to expect from a visit to the farm) and to Christine Jump with Barley’s Angels for organizing such a wonderful day!

View all the images from my day at the hop farm…

Happy Anniversary to Us!

As part of promoting Merideth’s book, Teachings from the Tap, we are holding “Meet the Author” events in the seven American cities covered in the book. Portland’s turn came this past Sunday with an event at the Green Dragon. I couldn’t have thought of a better way spend our 23rd Wedding Anniversary.

Doubling down on the  Reggie Deluxe at Pine State Biscuits

With time to spare after our early arrival in the Rose City, Merideth and I started the day at Pine State Biscuits. We don’t normally wait in long lines for anything, but I wanted to treat Merideth on our anniversary. The half hour wait was well worth it. While Merideth went with a simple biscuit with ham, egg and cheese, I doubled down on the Reggie Deluxe. A piece of fried chicken, bacon, two eggs & cheese topped with gravy on a flaky biscuit, the moist and juicy fried chicken alone was worth the price.

The happy couple at Horse Brass

From  Pine State, we took a short walk up Belmont St. to  the world-famous Horse Brass Pub to watch the Germany v. Denmark Euro 2012 match. While we viewed the Germans triumph 2-1 and win Group C, Merideth and I enjoyed a number of Pacific Northwest brews. Merideth’s favorite was the Urban Farmhouse Ale from Commons Brewery while I absolutely fell in love with the sublime cask version of Double Mountain’s Hop Lava.

Gigantic Brewing

We only had time for one new brewery on the trip, Gigantic Brewing. A familiar Portland sight greeted us as we pulled up to the brewery in our taxi: rolled up industrial doors and a plethora of picnic tables out front.

There were four house beers. The star was Gigantic IPA, a 7.3% ABV brew with delightful citrus and pine notes. Merideth tapped The City Never Sleeps, a Saision as her favorite. The only beer we didn’t care for was Rauchweizen and the Bandit, a smoked Hefeweizen. I love both styles, they just didn’t marry well for me.

Sour goodness at Cascade Barrel House

From Gigantic, Merideth and I proceeded to the Green Dragon. We still had a few minutes to kill before Merideth’s book event so we popped across the street to my favorite beer stop in Portland, the Cascade Barrel House.

Quickly spying The Vine and Sang Noir on the menu, I ordered each of those as well as samples of the Raspberry and Apricot. The Vine, a soured, blended Ale with white wine grapes, was nicely tart. Sang Noir, aged in Pinot and Whiskey barrels then blended with Bing cherries was brilliant with a wonderful, dry, cherry flavor.

Seeing old friends at the Green Dragon

The last night of PDX Beer Week, it was a quiet evening at Green Dragon. Nonetheless, Merideth was able to spread the beer travel word and sell a few books. It was great sharing beers with old friends and new. Thanks to the helpful staff at Green Dragon for making us feel so welcome. And a HUGE thanks to Lisa Morrison for all her help and kind words.

View all the images from our day in Portland…

New beergeek.TV Episode – New Year’s in Oregon

Living the good life in Bend, OR

New Year’s in Oregon” is the latest episode of One Pint at a Time.

With a German trip derailed by high airfares, we needed to come up with plan B. The quick and easy choice was the budding beer mecca of Bend, Oregon. Closing out 2011 in Central Oregon, we each visited our 666th brewery, enjoyed a rainy, then snowy Bend Urban Beer Hike and endured a seemingly fruitless quest for tater tots.

So enjoy our latest beer adventures in Oregon…

For all the episodes of One Pint at a Time go to beergeekTV.