Monday, February 7, 2011

Settling In

For anyone who has been checking in on the blog lately will notice the lack of posts. I apologize. It’s not that I’m not drinking plenty of good beer, but there just hasn’t been anything that I’ve felt has been interesting enough to write about. I think I finally am finally able to pinpoint why.

We’ve been in Portland about seven and a half months now and although there are places on the list yet to visit and the local/regional breweries are turning out new or seasonal beers we’ve never had before at a greater rate than we can keep up with, we are getting settled in. Settled into our favorite places to drink, our favorite places to eat, and settled in to a set of go-to beers. Don’t get me wrong, getting settled in feels good but it also means that there’s a good chance the majority of beers I’m drinking are ones I’ve had before. I may have told you about them when I found them, or maybe they are ones, like Rogue Dead Guy, that I’ve had access to for years, that like Summit EPA, are just good, solid beers. Yet they are neither earth shatteringly great or so incredibly bad that I feel compelled to tell you about them.

This weekend I had beers from two local breweries that I’ve put into the go-to brewery category and in doing so, have discounted a bit. It was wrong of me to do so and drinking these beers has reminded me not to gloss over offerings from these places just because you can find their beers at most places in Portland. So who has been getting the short stick in my mind? Laurelwood and Deschutes.

About a week ago I picked up a bomber of Laurelwood Organic Portland Roast Espresso Stout. You know how much I love coffee and how much I love finding a coffee beer that does justice to both the coffee side and the beer side of the equation. I had seen this beer around and finally decided I’d better try it before I realized I was no longer seeing it around. Good thing, because this coffee beer goes on my short list of the best coffee beers out there, right next to Surly Coffee Bender. This is the kind of coffee beer that you’d drink with your breakfast (if drinking before/at work wasn’t frowned upon).

Next up was Deschutes Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale. The first problem for me was the name. Red Chair immediately, although incorrectly, makes me think that it is a red. Being a hophead, I don’t generally think much of reds. They are middle of the road beers that are fine but aren’t good enough to register for me unless they are not true to style (like Coalition Kitty Kat Red – Meow!), usually with a stronger hop profile. The second problem was that it is billed as a pale ale, albeit a Northwest pale ale. Similar to my issue with a red, rightly or wrongly, I’ll take an IPA over a pale any day of the week. In this case I was wrong, just plain wrong. This is an outstanding beer and I understand why there has been so much buzz about it.

To rectify the error of my ways, I’ll be making a trip to one of my favorite bottle shops in the very near future to pick up more of both of these great beers. If you happen to be able to get either beer in your neck of the woods, DO IT!


  1. I've not been in a writing mood either and for similar reasons. I know it's been over 2 years in MN but we're still adjusting. Both the Laurelwood and Deschutes sound tasty to me. I'll keep my eye out for them. Happy Thursday!

  2. Is it blasphemous if I say I like Summit EPA way better than Dead Guy? As a fellow coffee beer lover, stay tuned as I'm doing some "research" on the matter. Any great, unhyped finds for someone who's about 5 months behind you guys?

  3. @Annie - you likely can't get the Laurelwood, but I do believe you should be able to get the Deschutes.
    @Brian - That's not blasphemous at all. I've said before that if I could only drink 1 beer for the rest of my life, Summit EPA might well be my choice. I don't know about unhyped finds but some of our favorite places are Coalition, Saraveza and The Beermongers. And you can't beat $2 pints all day Tuesdays at Eastburn.