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Beers in the Hood: Phinney Ridge

August 24, 2010 2 comments

Phinney Ridge, a Seattle Neighborhood- check it.

Over the past three years, I have done my share of research on beer spots in Seattle. Every neighborhood has a beer bar, a bar with a decent tap list or a bottle shop to offer those that search the land for all that is fermented yeast. One of the things I love most about Seattle is the variety of neighborhoods (reminiscent of Manhattan) where you step out of one and into the next…almost immediately it becomes obvious that you’re in a whole new world.

Each hood offers distinct characteristics and charm. So in order to give each neighborhood their 15 minutes of fame, I will focus on one at a time.

Tonight: Phinney Ridge.

I’ll start with a nice wiki excerpt:

Phinney Ridge is a neighborhood in north central Seattle, Washington, USA. It is named after the ridge which runs north and south, separating Ballard from Green Lake, from approximately N. 45th to N. 85th Street.

I know for those of you who are not from Seattle or do not live in Seattle, the above quote means little to nothing. Phinney is a quaint neighborhood, very residential with your random spurts of bars, restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques. Ballard’s subtly hip vibe seeps into Phinney, yet Phinney remains the more reserved, less frequented of the two. Here you will find beer.

The Dray

If you read Beer Blotter, then you have heard of The Dray, located on NW 65th right off of 8th and across the street from a massive Goodwill. This bar has so much to offer on any given day. First off, their “brand” is a squirrel, so expect to see some taxidermy on the shelves next to epic and rare Hair of the Dog and Dogfish head bottles.

Photo creds to phinneywood.com. Nice pic!

This tiny space is decked out in wood with slabs of polished tree trunks acting as your bar and table tops. On a cold winter’s night, you couldn’t be cozier. On a warm, sunny summer’s day you are guaranteed a breeze through the open garage doors/windows. The Dray molds to the weather outside; its like some kind of vortex.

Food options include some paninis, landjagers and pretzels with amazing stone ground mustard. I still haven’t figured out if you get charged for the pretzels, but I really doubt it.

But we also go here for beer- 12 taps at any given time. Yes, there are times I have stopped by here and been slightly disenchanted by their beer list, but 9 times out of 10, they will have something unique, something seasonal and something that your heart desires.

Off hand, Ommegang Zuur, New Belgium Love, Dogfish head Immortal Ale and Cascade Apricot come to mind as beers I enjoyed in the past. For that one time out of ten, The Dray has an impressive (and reasonably priced) bottle list, so be sure to check it out!

A gem of a bar, a comfort zone and a beer lovers day well spent.

Sully’s Snowgoose Saloon

Every time I  walk up to Sully‘s it reminds me of a lodge at a mountain resort in the Alps. With a pitched roof and a Bavarian facade, it couldn’t be more welcoming. Inside, it is a dimly lit, eclectic place with quirky decorations, as well as your quintessential Irish pub signs regarding how drunk, humorous, silly and stupid people get. This is another venue where I can spend an entire afternoon shooting the shit over a few pints of beer.

Props to seattleweekly.com for visual insight into Sully's

Like The Dray, Sully’s offers limited menu options. The items they do have include grilled cheese sandwiches, random snacks and some damn good chili. Other than that, throw a buck in the box and grab a bowl of peanuts.

You can always count on Boundary Bay IPA to be served on cask here, as well as several Deschutes taps and a decent IPA selection. I wouldn’t go here if your looking for a unique or rare beer, but quality brews such as Victory Hop Devil and New Belgium Ranger IPA have graced the stage here at Sully’s.

I remember sitting at Sully’s, drinking Boundary Bay IPA with the other 2/3 of Beer Blotter – we were sitting in a booth by the window and it started to hail, hail the size of golf balls. Just a sign from the gods that it was time to order another pint.

The Park Pub

Directly across the street from Sully’s, The Park Pub took much longer to get on our beer radar then the previously mentioned joints. This bar serves as a place to listen to live bands, play pool and grab some dinner.

Overall the ambiance is less comfortable and intimate but one glance at the tap list and all is well in the world. Arranged in a half circle, the taps glisten behind the bar.

Two times to phinneywood.com for having the neighborhood covered and taking great pics!

Note worthy beers currently on tap here: Boundary Bay IPA, Avery ‘Maharaja’ Imperial IPA, Stone Smoked Porter, Lagunitas ‘Lil Sumpin Sumpin’, Laurelwood ‘Hop Monkey’ IPA, Deschutes Organic Amber, Double Mountain Kolsch, Big Time Black IPA
and Rodenbach Grand Cru.

I would recommend this place for a Friday or Saturday night hang out session with a group. Good beers, music, activities and once in awhile, the neighborhood magician will amaze you and stick a card to the ceiling. Take a look next time you are there.

So that’s Phinney Ridge’s beer scene in a nutshell. I have many fond memories and have drank damn good beer at all three of these places. If you have a place that you love in this neighborhood, leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com.

Next up: Ballard.

24 Hours of Beer in Portland

July 15, 2010 1 comment

Photo courtesy of http://www.infohostels.com. With all this beer, you need more than 24 hours, but that is all we have!

You know how we roll at Beer Blotter- in and out of cities, embracing and experiencing as much beer as possible. We have day jobs, its just the way it is.

So in light of our upcoming weekend, where we plan on spending 24 hours in the Southern city of Portland, these are our recommendations. For argument sake, I am staring from the morning and ending at your bedtime…and its a Saturday.

Rise and Shine, its VooDoo Time

22 SW 3rd Ave.

9:00AM

This isn’t your ordinary doughnut joint, with a range of doughnuts topped with your favorite childhood cereal, a maple frosted doughnut with fresh strips of bacon and my personal favorite the chocolate doughnut with chocolate frosting, crushed Oreos and peanut butter drizzle. OH MY GOD! Its always a good idea to get some thing in your stomach to soak up the booze. See that is me being a responsible drinker, live and learn.

http://voodoodoughnut.com/

A Walk Through the Market

10:00AM

It might still be a little early to hit your local watering hole for some beers, so stop by the Saturday Market. Positioned along the  Columbia River and centered in Portland’s historic district, this market is full of local artists, cuisine and flair.

http://www.portlandsaturdaymarket.com/

Its 12:00 Somewhere: Horse Brass

4534 SE Belmont St.

11:30AM

Horse Brass is the perfect place to start your beer consumption. For one, they ALWAYS have Hair of the Dog Blue Dot IPA and Fred on tap. Their tap list is amazing. An English style pub, share a few Scotch Eggs with the group.

http://www.horsebrass.com/

You are in Portland, bring something back to your friends: Belmont Station

4500 SE Stark St.

12:15PM

Just down the block from Horse Brass, this bottle shop is so much more than just that. Split into two rooms, one glorious room is full of bottles. Although their selection is eclectic, inspiring and worth the visit, it is on the pricey side. What makes Belmont a must visit is their tap room. While you shop, sip on a beer and surround yourself with locals who love beer as much as you do.

Go Rogue: Green Dragon

928 SE 9th Ave.

1:30PM

“Yes” Rogue is a large microbrewery and “yes” they buy out small microbreweries and small beer bars, BUT they do make an effort and succeed in maintaining the integrity of these places. At Green Dragon, a Rogue owned establishment, during our last visit, there wasn’t even a Rogue beer on tap. You know what was on tap, a ton of amazing beers, many from Oregon. The bartender and waitstaff here are ridiculously informative and friendly. A wide open space with a funky, slightly psychedelic aura, a visit here will get your buzz going for sure. Did I mention, a cab from Broadway Cab service or a DD would be a good option for this day???

http://www.pdxgreendragon.com/

Its time for your first Brewery of the Day, but not your last: HUB

2944 SE Powell St.

2:30PM

Just a quick mention to Hair of the Dog Brewery, as they are not open on Saturdays. In a few weeks their tasting room will be open on the weekends. But back to things within our grasp and one of the best up and coming breweries in Portland, Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB). With bike frames hanging from the bar, this sustainable brewery is Portland at its best. Grab one of their amazing organic brews and a bite to eat. If your interested, inquire about the brewery. Its just down stairs and worth a peek!

http://www.hopworksbeer.com/

A Trip to Portland Wouldn’t be complete without it: Beer Mongers

1125 SE Division St.

A beautiful site at Portland bottleshop, Beermongers.

3:30PM

Beermongers is a bottle shop that has a wide variety of beers at a very reasonable price. The owners of this bottle shop take great pride in educating the public on brews. Weekly event are held here featuring various breweries. Like Belmont, its a great place to sip on a beer and peruse the collection.

http://www.thebeermongers.com/

 

4:15 New Old Lompoc

1616 NW 23rd St.

This area is full of breweries. Did you know that Portland has the most breweries per capita than any other city? New Old Lompoc has several locations in the city including their tasting room, Sidebar which serves up barrell aged goodness. This location is in a beautiful neighborhood and has a very relaxing atmosphere. Grab a Centennial IPA or C-Note Imperial Pale Ale and enjoy the summer breeze on the back deck!

http://www.newoldlompoc.com/lompoc_home.html

5:00 Laurelwood

2327 NW Kearney St.

Laurelwood Public House- I like that. It sounds straight out of the Wild West. Located in a house, you walk onto the porch and through the front door, a wooden staircase to your left and several dining areas to your right. You feel right at home. If there isnt room outside, I suggest making your way to the bar in the back. You can grab a tall table and sit by the window. The Workhorse IPA is a must try but if you are looking for something different, check out the Tree Hugger Porter.

http://www.laurelwoodbrewpub.com/

5:45 Lucky Labrador

1945 NW Quimby St.

Super Duper Dog. If its on tap, get it. Their double IPA will not dissapoint. It is bitter, but herbal and sweet. Whenever we stop here, a sampler tray seems to be the way to go.  A dog friendly establishment, their spaces are wide open warehouses and packed full of happy patrons.

http://www.luckylab.com/

6:30 Deschutes Brewing Co.

210 NW 11th Ave.

Granted we have been here at least 6 times, but for those of you who are Deschutes virigins, GO HERE! A long tap list of all their amazing beers will be there to greet you. You never know when Dissadent, Hop Henge or Abyss will show up. Their food- I had an amazing experience with Venison Chili and medicore experience with a chicken sandwhich. All in all a great place to grab dinner and continue your consumption of beers. Located in the Pearl District, Deschutes is close to several other beer establishments including Rouge and Bridgeport.

http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/

8:30 Henry’s Tavern

10 NW 12th Ave.

Now that you have statisfied your hunger, its time to head out for the remainder of your night. At this point, you are probably tired and tipsy, so Henry’s is the place to wrap it up! A young crowd is always there and their back patio is strug with white lights. Day or night, this place is great. The wait staff will walk over and hand you a GIGANTIC menu full of beers, most on tap. Its obscene in the best way possible. Their list is so extensive that I can’t help but glare at those around me sipping Mai Tais.

http://henrystavern.com/page/home

The next day, you wake up, thoughts of beer still overcome your ability to move. If you are staying in the downtown area, make your way to Whole Foods for an amazing bottle selection and some nutritent packed food. There are still so many places to visit in Portland, the city of beer. If you have your own beerxperience in Portland, leave us a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com!

52 Weeks: Noble Fir, Seattle, WA

Photo Creds to myballard.com. The Noble Fir now open on Ballard Ave.

Week 21 of 52

 

The Noble Fir

5316 Ballard Ave

Seattle, WA 98119

 

Rank: 4/5

Type of Establishment: Beer Bar with an added sophistication

Visit: Wednesday, June 23, 2010. A visit with friends for a few cocktails. Sole purpose was to catch up with friends and have a chat.

BEERS ON TAP  —>Served in 20oz Imperial Pints unless otherwise noted

Double Mountain Molten Lava (17.5 oz) Double Mountain Brewery
Agate Pass Amber Hood Canal Brewery
Evo IPA Two Beers Brewing Co.
Boddington’s Pub Ale (Nitro) Anheuser-Busch
Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale (17.5oz) Dogfish Head Brewery
Diamond Knot Brown Ale Diamond Knot Brewery
Red Barn Saison Ale The Lost Abbey – Port Brewing Co.
Fox Barrel Black Currant Cider (17.5 oz) Fox Barrel Cider Co.
Victory Prima Pilsner Victory Brewing Co.
Guinness Stout (Nitro) St. James Gate Brewery
Double Mountain India Red Ale Double Mountain Brewery
Laurelwood Organic Red Laurelwood Brewing Co.
Magners Irish Cider Magners
Mirror Pond Pale Ale Deschutes Brewery
Eel River Organic IPA Eel River Brewing Co.
Spire Mountain Dark & Dry Cider Fish Brewing Co.
Terminal Gravity IPA Terminal Gravity Brewing

There are also plenty of wines by the bottle and the glass.

FOOD OPTIONS: This is the perfect place to grab a drink and snack on some delicious cured meats and cheeses. Pick and choose your delicious plate. Fill it with hot coppa, salami, procuitto and various artisan cheeses. Light and delicious sandwiches are available as well as a few dessert options.

BAR OPINION: Noble Fir is the new kid on the block with so many great restaurants, bars and boutiques on Ballard Ave. I glance up at the sign, a single evergreen tree. The Noble Fir is a western North American fir, native to the Cascade Range and Coast Range mountains of extreme northwest California and western Oregon and Washington in the United States. This bar was opened by Rick and Ellen, after 10 years at REI and 10 years working as an attorney respectivly, they decided to combine their love of the great outdoors with their love of food and drink. Noble Fir was born.

This bar brings the great outdoors in. Large windows welcome the sun light as it streams directly into the bar, coating the patrons. Slick wooden booths with a long wooden bar and a bookcase full of travel books, I am ready for an adventure. I immediately grab the beer list. My eyes light up, Port Brewing/Lost Abbey’s Red Barn and Port Brewing/Lost Abbey’s Wipe Out IPA (not listed above) are both ordered and savored over the course of an hour.

A pre-dinner drink and appetizer plate would be the perfect complement to a night out. This bar has a pretty damn good tap list with a range of styles and a lot of love to West coast brewers. We only had an hour of so that night, but this bar is worth a trip back and several after that.

A quote from Rick and Ellen:

Together, we hope to bring a festive approach to your enjoyment of some of the best things the Pacific Northwest has to offer – hops, barley, fermented grapes and miles of trails…

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Washington v. Oregon: Let the Games Begin

SBW continues today with Firkin Firkin- yes this is a picture of a firkin.

We are neighboring states, we enjoy beer together and make good beer together, but tonight at Elysian Brewing Co.’s Capital Hill location, Washington beers will be up against Oregon beers at Seattle Beer Week event, Firkin Firkin. All beers will be in cask conditioned firkins.

Drum Roll Please: the Firkin Firkin match ups are…..

Pale: WA-Ram 71 Pale Ale OR-Hopworks Crosstown Pale

IPA: WA-Elysian Prometheus OR-Double Mountain Hop Lava

2x IPA: WA-Naked City IIPA OR-Ninkasi Tricerahops

ESB: WA-Silver City Ridgetop Red OR-Laurelwood Organic Deranger Red

Porter: WA-Black Raven Brown OR-Bend Cherry Baltic Porter

Hybrid: WA-Big Time Trombipulator w/Agave OR-Beer Valley Black Madness

Seaaion: WA-Pike Dry Wit OR-Pelican Kiwana Cream Ale

Strong: WA-Fremont Bourbon Abominable OR-Rogue Imperial Younger’s Special Bitter

Look out for the top competitors from both states (Pelican Brewing Co.- go there someday; Black Raven Brewin Co- WA Rookie of the Year; Double Mountain- quality brews and Fremont Brewing Co.- the Center of the Universe)and no matter where you are from, remain unbias- good beer is good beer!

May the best city win!!!

Tonight Beer Blotter hangs with some of the best brewers in the USA at East meets West- more on our encounter with beer royalty later!!

The Beer Blotter Guide to Beveridge Place Pub’s Bacchanal 2010

February 24, 2010 1 comment

The facade of Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle - the site of the Annual Bacchanal of Barleywines

Beveridge Place Pub’s 7th Annual Barleywine Bacchanal kicks off this Friday, February 26th, with over 40 barleywines pouring for a week straight from 24 taps.  That’s a lot of big bold brews to choose from.  Since there is clearly more beers than taps, there will be a constant rotation of kegs a flowin’.  As one blows, another will replace it, and so on.

The folks over at the Washington Beer Blog were kind enough to post the complete list for all to slobber over. Below you will find the entire list.  Clearly, all are barleywines, and thus, all are going to be packed with copious quantities of both malt and hops.  All will be fairly high in alcohol, and chances are good that all will taste pretty darn good.  Your main fear should be a harsh, young vintage.  Sometimes these fellas just need some time to mature and mellow out.  Too much bitterness and not enough sweetness can make your barleywine experience akin to being strangled by a hop vine.  There is no question, if you read this site with any regularity, that Beer Blotter holds great respect for Father Time and his agile hand at improving beers of many kinds, especially barleywines.

For Beer Blotter, the older the vintage, the more excited we are to try it.  Both rare and refined, these pours should improve your evening no matter who brewed them.

So our first overarching tip to you, “age is all the rage”.

But we need more detail than that.  Let’s dig deeper.

The biggest challenge of the Bacchanal is the barrels-to-taps ratio.  The rotation system will make it difficult to have a clear game plan for your visit, whatever day you choose to attend.  You will never really know exactly what to expect, which, granted, offers its own brand of excitement.  Your best bet is to pre-create a list of b-dubs that you’re most excited to taste, and chances are that no matter what day you decide to venture out to West Seattle there will be at least a few of them available.

Perhaps a look at the Beer Blotter list could assist you in creating your own list.  Below, as promised, is the unadulterated list.  Below that, the Beer Blotter list.

Complete List:

Alaskan, Barleywine ‘06, ‘07,’08

Anacortes, Old Sebastes ‘07

Anchor, Old Foghorn ‘06, ‘07, ‘08

Anderson Valley, Horn of the Beer ‘09

Avery, Hog Heaven ‘09

Big Sky, Old Blue Hair ‘06

Boulder, Killer Penguin ‘09

Boundary Bay, Old Bounder ‘09

Deschutes, Mirror Mirror ‘09

Diamond Knot, Icebreaker ‘09

Dick’s, Barleywine ‘05, ‘09

Dogfish Head, Olde School ‘09

Elliott Bay, Old Portside ‘09

Elysian, Cyclops ‘09

Fish, 10 Squared ‘08, ‘09

Fish, Leviathan ‘06

Flying Dog, Horndog ‘09

Full Sail, Old Boardhead ‘06

Full Sail, Old Boilermaker 98 (yes, 1998)

Hale’s, Rudyard’s Rare ‘06, ‘09

Hopworks Urban Brewery, Noggin Floggin ‘09

Hood Canal, Breidablik ‘06, ‘07, ‘09

Lagunitas, Old Gnarleywine ‘04, ‘06, ‘07

Laurelwood, Old Reliable ‘09

Left Hand, Oak Aged Widdershins ‘07

Lucky Lab, Old Yeller ‘09

Mad River, Old Barleycorn ‘07

New Old Lompoc, Old Tavern Rat ‘08

North Coast, Old Stock ‘07, ‘09

Pike, Old Bawdy ‘07, ‘08

Port, Angel’s Share ‘09

Port Townsend, ‘09

Rogue, Old Crustacean ‘08

Schooner Exact, Old Sinking Ship ‘09

Scuttlebutt, Old #1 ‘06, ‘08

Sierra Nevada, Bigfoot ‘08

Skagit River, Shiver Me Liver ‘09

Speakeasy, Old Godfather ‘09

Stone, Old Guardian ‘07, ‘08, ‘09

Three Skulls, Wreckage ‘09

Victory, Old Horizontal ‘09

Walking Man, Old Stumblefoot ‘08

Beer Blotter List:

Alaskan, Barleywine ‘06, ‘07,’08

-This is a “must” if offered at the time of your visit.  A Northwest Masterpiece.  Alaskans know how to warm up with Barleywine.  This guy ranks very well in any festival that it is involved in.  In the last 5 years this brew has placed in the top 3 at Brouwer’s Hard Liver Barleywine Fest 3 times, and the ’07 vintage was number 1 last year.  A warning though…chances are high that these will only be available on Monday, March 1st or Tuesday, March 2nd when verticals are offered.  To try all three vintages side by side would truly be a treat.

Lagunitas, Old Gnarleywine ‘04, ‘06, ‘07

-In Beer Blotter’s humble opinion, there is not many Barleywines being made in the world better than Gnarleywine.  The ’08 vintage was awarded 3rd place in this years Toronado Barley Wine Festival, and chances are, the older the better.  Do not skip this one, any vintage.  Another warning: 3 years offered…look to vertical night for these.

Speakeasy, Old Godfather ‘09

-Though this is young, the ’06 got second place last year at Brouwer’s.  Expect this one to be high in alpha…it’s the Speakeasy way.

Stone, Old Guardian ‘07, ‘08, ‘09

-If you read Timperial’s review of the ’07 vintage you would know, this beer is sickly good.  Astounding balance, even through time.

Victory, Old Horizontal ’09 & Dogfish Head, Olde School ‘09

-With the exception of a few CO representatives, these are the only 2 offerings that aren’t from the West.  Reason?  They are astounding beers made by two of America’s best breweries.

Fish, 10 Squared ‘08, ’09 & Leviathan ‘06

-Both of these beers are incredible and hard to come by, even in their home state.  10 Squared was probably my personal favorite from last years Hard Liver Fest and old vintages of Leviathan, like this ’06, are pretty much legendary.  The barrel-aged version of Leviathan is in the top 10 on ratebeer.com’s list of barleywines.

Port, Angel’s Share ‘09

-It would be silly of me to leave this one out since it is literally one of my favorite beers of all time.  Number 9 on ratebeer.com’s barley wine list.

New Old Lompoc, Old Tavern Rat ‘08

-Beer Blotter recently had this from the always-impressive taps of Uber Tavern and really enjoyed it.  Very nutty if you’re into that.

Boundary Bay, Old Bounder ‘09

-Seattle does not see enough Boundary Bay.  Maybe if we drain this keg quickly the “will of the people” will change that depressing fact.

That’s a pretty healthy list for you, and honestly, I could go on an on.  There is A LOT of really good stuff on this list, and even a few that Beer Blotter has never had and looks forward to trying (like Lucky Lab, can we please have more of their beers in Seattle?).

Anyone and everyone within striking distance of Seattle should never, EVER miss events like this.  We are so lucky to have beer bars that put so much time, effort and money into aging beers for years and organizing such exciting festivals.  Beer Blotter sends a massive hug to Gary and The Bev for making this happen year after year.

Find us in West Seattle, raise a glass, it’s barleywine season!

EastBurn Tap-Patio-Grill: 2 of 52

January 18, 2010 1 comment

Week 2: EastBurn Tap-Patio-Grill, Portland, OR

2 of 52

The EastBurn Tap-Patio-Grill

1800 East Burnside Street
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 236-2876

Rank: #1 of 2

Type of Establishment: A public house with a full menu complemented by bar and table service

BEERS ON TAP—-> 16 rotating taps! You can always check their website for a picture of their updated tap list, but to name a few on at the moment…

Picture courtesy of http://www.eastburn.com. Thanks!

Ninkasi Sleigh’R

Laurelwood IPA

Deshutes Obsidian Stout

FOOD OPTIONS: EastBurn’s owners and the head chef, Jeff believe that “Great Food Deserves Great Beer” and vice versa. This motto has led to an amazing menu full of choices beyond your average “beer bar.” Although we did not get the chance to indulge in one of the chef’s creations, here are a couple spotlight items: for dinner- Slow Braised Wild Boar Paprikash (wow), for lunch- the Über Sondvich – Char-Broiled Carlton Pork Medallion, Potato Pancake, Scallion Sour Cream, Caramelized Onions and Bourbon-Apple Chutney on Grilled Ciabatta and when its getting late and your hungry yet again- Grover’s Mackin’ Cheese- Mackin’ with Pepper Bacon and Roasted Tomato. The EastBurn has plenty of options for vegetarians, beer and wine lovers alike. 5 delicious options (including smoked trout cakes) are available for $5.00 between 3 and 6Pm and 10PM until 2AM EVERYDAY!

STAFF OPINION: We had the pleasure of finding a bar seat next to executive chef, Jeff Pagel who has been with the restaurant since 2007. He was informative in explaining the goal of the restaurant: preparing delicious food for beer and wine lovers (can’t go wrong with that). Our passion for beer and his passion for this public house/restaurant was a match made in conversation heaven. The bartender was very attentive to our drinking needs and informative about the selection of taps.

AN AFTERNOON AT THE BAR……

We had a plan – make it to the Blazers v. Cavs game at 5:30, just before tip off. The Cleveland Cavs were in town for a sold out showdown with the suddenly injury prone Blazers. But, with the game not beginning until 6:00 PM – we had some significant time to scour the Northeast neighborhoods of Portland.

After grabbing a breakfast at Horse Brass, a long trip to Upright Brewing for a bottle release event, and a brief tour of Green Dragon Bistro for a Calapooia Simcoe IPA – we headed back down to Burnside. Heading east on Burnside, we sought out this intriguing establishment. We had read several wonderful reviews about the atmosphere, comfort and exciting tap list at this bi-level bar and bistro. It was time to make a stop.

Upon entering, you are greeted to the left by swing chairs – a novelty – but very cool addition to the front of the bistro-themed upstairs. This area screams amazing people watching. We headed to the bar to check out the tap list. After being in PDX for a couple of days, we were already in tune with many of the beers on this list. To our delight, the bartender informed us that the basement portion of the establishment had its own independent tap list, filled with 8 different brews. We B-lined.

After tracing back to the entry, we found a set of stairs to the basement which was a masterpiece. A dark yet comfortably lit space filled with ample bar seating, ski ball and a projector television made us feel right at home. On the tube, the Packers and Cardinals were winding down what would finish as one of the best playoff shootouts in recent years.

The bartender is a good man. Though he is from Boston, he actually agreed to serve my Yankee accomplice. After busting her balls (or whatever she has to bust) a bit, she was served with a Alameda Black Bear XX Stout. This is one of our faves, though we hadn’t sunk our taste buds into a batch of this year’s offering. I took way too long to order – this is a good thing, as choosing between several options was a quandary. After sifting through my palette, I settled on a Deschutes Hop Henge – its just too damn good and with a return to Seattle in the cards, I might not see too much more of it.

We settled in, tapped glasses and turned our attention to the surroundings. Fortunately, our timing was impeccable, as we had situated ourselves next to Mr. Jeff Pagel – the executive chef. Jeff was a native of Seattle and so we had much to reminisce over. We also talked about our love for New Orleans and its wonderful food culture. Much to our delight, a flavorful gumbo makes a regular appearance on the menu!

The crowd at Eastburn was incredibly welcoming, overtly happy and comfortably communicable. Besides our Boston bartender, another regular Yankee fan hopped on the Boston-bashing that my companion boozer had begun upon our arrival. It was a smile from start to end.

After watching Aaron Rogers toss away the game on overtime’s second play, we were able to really soak in Eastburn. We liked it – we liked it a lot. This is the type of place that I could see myself regularly visiting. The tap list includes brews from Cascade Brewing, Lucky Lab, Vertigo, Terminal Gravity, Fort George and other smaller circulation Oregon breweries, while also harboring Firestone Walker, Dogfish Head and other micro favorites.

We want to go back. We need to catch a “recess” – Eastburn’s version of happy hour. On Tuesdays, Eastburn has $2 beers – everything on the list!

EVENTS ON THE HORIZON

We are definitely returning for the next Beer Belly event. What is Beer Belly? Its a 5 course meal, cooked on the outdoor grill, enjoyed on the 4 seasons patio – centered all around beer! (5 brews to be exact) Each month Eastburn works with a brewery to bring a Beer Belly event, which includes copious amounts of grog from the local brewer. Next on the docket: an evening with Full Sail, and their brewer John Harris. The event begins at 6:30 on February 12, 2010. You can obtain tickets online here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Eastburn is throwing a benefit to raise funds for the people impacted by the recent disaster in Haiti. The “Weekend for Haiti” event begins this weekend, with proceeds favoring MercyCorps. The event includes brew specials, live music and a charity auction – all to raise funds for the people of Haiti. Go if you can.

To sum up – we love this place. Its warm, welcoming and overall – simply a good time.

If you have anything to say about Eastburn, leave us some notes below!!!



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