I’ve just returned from
I did notice an inordinate number of bearded men, though. I guess some stereotypes are true. Many of them seemed to be carrying guitars. I guess the music scene here is either pretty big or there’s something about Portland that draws furry-faced troubadours.
It was cold and raining for the duration of my visit. The only blue sky I saw was for a few hours on my last day. But I’m the kind of guy who revels in gloom, and it really felt like the rain gave the city character. You would think they would be used to that sort of thing there, but as near as I can tell rain is still big news in
Powell’s is the single most enjoyable bookstore I have ever gotten lost in. And I don’t just mean in the metaphorical sense, the place is massive and multi-layered. It’s not just a store, it’s a whole city of books. The rooms are divided into different sections and color coded. The sections are marked out in a retro-style guide but I preferred to just drift through the store at random. There is no sales tax, so my to-be-read stack got tall again just when I was getting to the bottom of my backlog. There are worse problems to have, I suppose.
Cold weather produces hardy beer. Portland has an ass-load of small breweries and locally created beer. And it was all delicious. Few things in this life bring me more pleasure than sitting down with a tray full of beer samples. I love beer for all the sensual joys it brings. Yes, hard liquor does the job faster and more efficiently and I am a certified whiskey taster. But I love the way beer bubbles burn slightly and the foam gets in your nose just a little bit. I like the belching, too. I felt at home in Portland and tried to hit as many local brewpubs as I could before I would have trouble stumbling back to the hotel.
Rock Bottom Brewery felt like it was one of the larger places and seemed almost more like a regular bar than the smaller, more traditional brewpubs.
Bridgeport had a bad-ass ESB, and they baked their own bread. It was warm and doughy and oh-so tasty. The beer tasted good, but it came a little slowly. There was a steady influx of factory workers that seemed to come into the pub and while I didn’t see any of them leave it didn’t seem to get too crowded. The people seemed to be drinking despite the fact that it was only around lunch time, and I heartily approved.
McMenamin’s is actually more than just a brewery. I spent a few days at the Edgefield house they operate just outside the city in Troutdale. It’s a little pleasure compound where they brew their own beer, distill their own whiskey, and do whatever you do to make wine. The main hotel used to be some sort of rest home or something and it’s decked out with weird-but-not-in-a-disturbing-way art work. There are like five different bars on the premises, and you just wander from location to location with a mason jar that they keep refilling for you. It was glorious. The IPA was nice and hoppy and I kept going back to it despite the many other styles. One of the pubs looked like it was built by and for hobbits.
This one actually had its own movie theatre. There are also a few restaurants on the grounds, and the serve a mean salmon hash for breakfast.
After coming back to