Portland was on my to-do list for about six or seven years. It wasn’t quite the it city yet, or maybe it was and I wasn’t aware. For me it was more of a case of it being near water and mountains and on a side of the country that I tend to prefer. In that time, Portland has practically become larger than life thanks to the hipsters, and as such it was huge in my head.
My enjoyment of beer has come on more recently. I was hardly ever around it as a child; in college I was more of a liquor drinker; and after college I was often around people who drank cheap beer and for all the wrong reasons. It really wasn’t until I met the Modern Love Machine, whose motto is “if you don’t like beer you just haven’t found the right type” that I actually found myself enjoying the experience of beer. He introduced me to beer that wasn’t either Bud Light or bitterly hoppy, and I came to understand how to identify what it was I did and didn’t like about some beers. Selecting a strange beer then became less of a guessing game and more of an exploration.
Drinking beer in Portland was, therefore, an obvious addition to my Life List. And the result has been one of the more disappointing ones so far. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy my time in Portland, it’s just that it didn’t blow me away. The city strikes me as an awesome place to live, but a somewhat underwhelming place to visit. The beer wasn’t my favorite either. Portland brewers love their hops, and I do not. The thick, brown, malty, non-hoppy beer I love was in short supply. My favorite part of our Portland excursion (outside Powell’s Books) all happened outside of Portland: the drive up the Columbia River Gorge and the subsequent drinking at Full Sail Brewing Company in Hood River, Or. Now Hood River — that was my kind of place.
To be fair, there were still things we very much enjoyed about Portland. Like watching a lot of soccer at Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub …
and staying at the Ace Hotel …
just the right amount of hipster
and browsing Powell’s …
the most Portlandia aisle at Powell’s
and eating Voodoo doughnuts.
the Memphis Mafia, natch
Mayhaps we will return one day, but for now I’m content to cross this one off the list.