Thursday, May 28, 2015

Day Trippin': Estacada & Sandy

We've never been the kind of folks that make big plans for Memorial Day weekend so the fact that we actually went out day trippin' was a big deal for us. Inspired in part by a recent Thrillist article on Portland road trips and in part by a conversation I had recently we combined the two into an easy day trip visiting Estacada and Sandy.

From our place Estacada is an easy 50 minute drive and like many of our beercation days we decided to start with the non-beer entertainment (also none of our beer stops were open yet). Thrillist had mentioned Milo McIver State Park for camping but what drew us there was a 27-hole disc golf course. The overall course is split into an 18-hole east course and a 9-hole west course. Maps are conveniently available at the beginning of the course that thoughtfully provides a scoring grid on the reverse. We were playing for fun and eschewed scoring, even skipping a hole or two along the way to leap frog over slower players, along the 18-hole course. This is one of the better maintained and laid out courses I've played and highly recommend it as a start to or break during a day of beering.

After getting our fill of "sports" it was time to fill our bellies with lunch and beer at Fearless Brewing in quaint downtown Estacada. We'd had some Fearless beers in the past and most we tried on this visit followed suit - nothing spectacular and nothing bad. The exception was their porter, an easy drinking 5% beer with a mouthfeel that is generally associated with something served on nitro. Kudos to Ken for whatever magic he employed to do it without a nitro tap.

Bellies sated and wits still intact we headed towards Sandy. I had been to Bunsenbrewer previously when doing a story for the Oregon Beer Growler but that was a year ago and Mag had never been. The interior was still basically the same with a small bar, plenty of table seating, a stage for live music and a couch area complete with an old school gaming system. The biggest difference was the chalkboard beer menu and the significant increase in the number of house brewed beers available.

I was thrilled with the Semmelweis sour stout I ordered, which lived up to its name precisely, although Mag was less impressed with his Tesla stout due to some sour characteristics he detected. The brewer wasn't on hand and the beertender was focused on talking to his buddy at the bar so there wasn't an opportunity to find out if Tesla was intended to be a bit sour or if perhaps there was some residue from the Semmelweis or another beer creating it. If we had decided to stay for another I definitely would have ordered the Dothraki CDA, a beer by the Oregon Brew Crew. Bunsenbrewer's beers don't make it far from their taproom, reason in itself to try them out at least once.

While that was the extent of our day trip, it could easily be beefed up by adding additional stops or extended with overnight camping. On our way to Milo McIver we passed Bigfoot Growlers (handy if refreshments are needed for golfing) and then just before arriving at the park was Viewpoint Restaurant and Grocery that apparently also has a beer garden and, in case you forgot yours, disc golf supplies. Not far from Bunsenbrewer in Sandy is The Beer Den, a beer bar that I've heard good things about from multiple people. And finally, if you should day trip this route on one of the few days a month Boring Brewing is open, they're just north from Sandy on Hwy 26, which you may be taking back into Portland.

5/30 Update: We visited The Beer Den yesterday and the rumors were true - great little place with a tap list that had lots of beers I've enjoyed before along with a few new to me beers including ones from Wingman and Thunder Island.

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