Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fearless Brewing

Fearless Brewing was clearly named after what you have to be to drink, or eat there. I'm sorry, is that harsh?
I went there the other day, simply because it is about the only place in Estacada on a Sunday to grab a pint with a buddy. I was disappointed with the beer, food, menu, service, atmosphere, and, well, that about does it.
The beer.
I started with the Tomahawk Brown, which, at 5.3%, is one of Fearless's biggest beers. The problem with the Brown is that the only thing to wash down the aftertaste of cleaning solution, is another drink of this horrible, pint of hell. It is fizzy, and, god, just bad.
I followed this with a glass (I couldn't handle another pint of anything) of the IPA, which made even Full Sail IPA taste good (Full Sail sucks). I am an IPA freak, and have tasted a lot. I can honestly say this was the worst I have ever had.
Next, I had a glass of the Maibock. You know, it wasn't bad. Slighty sweet, lite, and pleasent. Or maybe I was just happy to wash down the shitty mozzarela sticks.
The food.
Bad. Frozen, boring, over priced, and the menu looks like a 5 year old playing with all the fonts in Word. But, we did get free , housemade potato chips, which was nice. The mozzarela sticks we got were obviously bought from the frozen section of Costco or Safeway. Which, you know, is ok, when I'm at home.
The atmosphere.
Or, the lack there of. They say they have the biggest TV in town, which may be true. But, my friends, a large screen, on mute, playing baseball, when you and your buddy are the only ones in the pub, does not make the beer or food taste any better.
The service.
I don't mind being ID'd, but there are ways to do it without being insulting, or rude. As we were going outside, to enjoy the outside seating, with food on order, the waitress ran after us, insisting we put a credit card down first, in case we decided to leave, and the waitress watched as we signed our recipts, comparing signatures, and watching as we put the tip on the receipt. Am I anal, or does this all add up to bad service??
Also, one last thing, they have two beer pricings. Standard beer pricing, and for an extra .25, premium beer pricing. Please, I have never been to a brewpub where they pull this crap. And , to call anything Fearless makes "premium", is like calling a steaming pile of shit, chocolate cake.
Sorry, but if your in Estacada, you'd be better off drinking from the Clackamas and taking your chances.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lucky Lab 4-09

During this cold and drizzly Monday, Erin and I decided to hop over to Lucky Lab for some lunch and a pint or two. The match was a lot of fun, and I narrowly won by 16 points. I am writing this to encourage everyone to go and try the beer that I instantly feel in love with, the Quality Rye. The Quality Rye is a light, golden ale, weighing in at a modest 4.5ABV, but it was delicious. It had a subtle Rye aftertaste, and an almost peppery flavor. And of course, being miser monday, it was a dollar off the normal pint price.
As always, the food was perfect, my tuna melt was fantastic. Erin got the bento, which, I had never had before, and was skepitcal of. I mean, the place has sandwiches, and great beer, but bento???
It was fucking dead on, spicy, and very good. Who knew?
Another fun trip to the Lab.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Double Mountain

When Double Mountain was created, I doubt they knew how much they would fulfill my void for a Nirvana in Hood River. I used to be a disciple of Full Sail, until they threw some flat screens on the wall, ripped out the outside grill, and , god dammit, took away the free oyster crackers. It only makes sense I would follow the former Full Sail brewers down the street to a little slice of heaven , called Double Mountain.
We were there this past Sunday, after a hike up to Mitchell Point. First, the beer.
Erin had the Black Irish Stout, which, she didn't like too much, but, as I noticed, drank none the less. I was blown away by my two selections. The first was "Terrible Two". Served in a goblet, it weighs in at an impressive 10% ABV. Man, I wish I had my thesaurus nearby, but all I can come up with, is, it is good. Really, good. Aged in Bourbon Barrel good.
My second beer I got as I stumbled to the bar was a Belgian ale named Inglemunster. Again, strong, goblet sized, and really good. This is apparently a sneak peak of their offering at the upcoming Belgian Beer Fest in Portland.
Ok, food. The food at Double Mountain is very good. I like to call it my inland Ft. George. We got a simple Mezze Platter, for 8.95, and it was amazing. So many places try to do a Mezze Platter, and are lazy with it. Double Mountain's really tastes like they put thought into it, spent time on it, and take pride in it.
The darts.
The dart board is in the side room area, where the tanks and barrels are. The door may be closed, so ask if it is ok to go in. The only bummer is that they don't have any kind of scoring board, so bring a paper and pen.
The Irish must have gotten to Erin, she lost both games. Oh well.
Final thoughts, GO TO DOUBLE MOUNTAIN!! The crew is awesome, the beer, man, the beer! Go.

Green Dragon

I am not one to jump on the "Rogue owns it so it must suck now " band wagon...but... They have since gotten rid of their stage (good thing) and their dart board (bad thing). This used to be a great place to get some quality brew and play some darts. But, I suppose the powers that be have decided that merchandise is more important than a dart board. Boo. According to one of the employees, the area is going to become another bar soon.
If your in the area, skip over to Lucky Lab and throw some darts.
So, as I was stewing, I enjoyed a Ft. George Raspberry Wit, which , honestly, I wasn't sure I would like, but I did. The raspberry flavor was very muted, and the beer was all I needed to temporarily forget about the missing board.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Astoria Trip...part deux

If I had a son..which I don't...I would sit him down and say to him "Son, your now 14, it's time to learn about beer." Again, I don't have children, so no reason to notify the law.
Recently, I have been re-examining the beers that got our fathers, and grandfathers drunk. Rainier, Olympia, and Heidelburg (R.I.P).
In a society that is flooded with quality micro brews, with styles ranging from farmhouse to Belgian, it is easy to forget what Northwest beer was, and, dare I say, should be.
Maybe the salt air and clear cuts have clouded my thoughts, but I think there is a reason to appreciate our beer history.
If you close your eyes, and pop open a Rainier, you can smell the saw dust off of the misery whip. Sadly, if you twist off a cap of Full Sail Brewmaster's Reserve, you may only be able to smell the wax off of a California transplant's skis.
Side note, I think Full Sail sucks.
But even the best, Organic, fresh hopped, green certified, limited release, and hand numbered brew can't invoke the feel, and true reason we all live in the Pacific NW. Or, at least why I do.
I sat around our fire this past weekend, drinking a shit load of Rainier. I stunk like campfire, could smell the salt air, and, hiding my Sierra Club membership card, kinda wanted to cut down a tree.
And, I loved it.
I still love the variety of craft beer here. And, have given a lot of financial support to prove it.
Grab a Olympia and a chainsaw...
Pop open a Rainier, and beat up a hippie....
By god, be proud to be a North westerner, and know what it means.
Hint: It doesn't mean you know where the best martini bar in the Pearl is.

Know the history, know the heritage.
Know your history, know your heritage.

And, don't drink an Oly tallboy because it's cool. Drink it, enjoy it, and realize the meaning of it. Sure, it's not made in Tumwater anymore, but, god dammit, it used to be.
Know why the brewery blocks in the Pearl are called the brewery blocks before you go to Henry's to order the newest Imperial IPA, or some assholes version of the latest cocktail.
Embrace where you live, it's ok.