I just got back from a long, wonderful trip to northern Washington, and Vancouver Island. Three cideries, and four breweries later, I am back in town, and ready to report. Up first, Anacortes Brewery, in Anacortes, WA. Anacortes Brewery is located right on the little, cutesy main street area in Anacortes. Surrounded by antique and curio stores, it is a nice little place to spend some time waiting for the next ferry to the San Juan Islands. It is not, however, a destination place to swirve off of I-5 and go to. I had two beers, and their version of fish and chips. I first ordered the Beligian. After ordering it, the waitress asked if I wanted a sample, I told her no, that was ok, she then nearly insisted I tried it first, saying it is pretty sweet. Sweet? So I tried a little sample, thank the beer gods I did. It was very sweet, flat, and unlike any other Belgian I have ever had. I was dissapointed, and then ordered their Vienna beer. It was quite good. It was a dark amber, well balanced, a little bit of a spicy aftertaste, slightly smokey, and even had hints of orange. Good, and nicely cleansed my pallete of the lack-luster fish and chips. When at a stones throw from salt water, I expect fish and chips to be better than the average Portland bar. Sorry. The bar itself is bright yellow inside, covered with blues and jazz posters, with the middle defined by tons of hanging merchandise, a pet peeve of mine. If you want to pimp out your logo covered wares, make it subtle, not a dominate design factor in your space. So, long story short, go if you just missed your ferry, and are waiting for the next one, check it out, some of the beer is pretty good. When not to go? If you have a short wait, are speeding down I-5, or are seeking killer seafood. Next up in my Washington series..Skagit Brewing in Mt. Vernon.
So, for about a week, I am going up north to attend a cider making class in Mt. Vernon, WA. So, of course, I won't be able to blog, as I don't have a laptop. But, I will come back with pictures, and stories from what I learn, and find out. I will go to the most excellent Skagit Brewing, which I have enjoyed before, and may make it over to Anacortes to the Rock Fish Grill. Hopefully, a bar or two will have a dart board, and I can get a game in. But, I will be in class everyday, plus fitting in a day trip to Vancouver Island, BC. Wish me luck, and throw a bull for me.
After a enjoyable game of disc golf up at Pier Park in North Portland, we decided to give Belmont Station's distant cousin, Saraveza, a try. I have been wanting to have a go at it for awhile now, but, damned if I could come up with a proper reason to head up that far north, and leave my beloved SE behind. I liked Saraveza, except for a few gripes. They did have a nice selection of bottles, but, of course, no where near the selection of Belmont Station. Although, I will say, the snacks were considiberly better, more creative, and more pickled-tastic (a new word I made up after this visit). While we didn't have any of the pasties, we saw a few go out, and they looked amazing. The taps availiable is small, but the selctions were interesting. I had a Great Divide Belgian IPA, which, tasted exactly like the name implies. Erin had a pint of Black Ale from 10 Barrels Brewing in Bend. Erin liked it a lot, and the beertender described it as a easier to drink Stout for the summer time, and it was. So, I do have to point out a few things that I was annoyed, ever so slightly, by. They do, obviously sell bottles. But, the bottles have no price anywhere near, or on them. For the price, you have to pick up a seperate, price menu and walk around with it. That is one less hand I could be carrying bottles with. Also, I am a big fan of the honest pint project, although, Saraveza must not be. I guess I am spoiled by Horse brass and Belmont Station, but now, I am dissapointed in a establishment, especially a bottle shop, that does not serve a proper pint. The low down, if you are in North Portland, this is a nice little shop, with tasty food, that is worth a visit. If you are anywhere south of 84, head to Belmont Station for your rare, beer nerd tastes.
After a successful beer buying trip from Belmont Station, a trip down the street to Horse Brass to play some darts was in order. Of late, I have been changing my drinking preferences. I used to be a die hard, hard drinking, IPA devotee. Well, now, for some unknown reason, I have switched to Belgian style ales. The flavors, and complexity I have found, has really been amazing. I can close my eyes, and taste the centuries of honing this style in every bottle. So, if you , too, are a IPA fan, try a Belgian, then try two, you will discover a whole new range of taste. Of course, I rant this long to delay the news, I barely won our first game, and got slaughtered on our second. I had a Helles Lager from Caldera that softened the blow, followed by a Duvel. Erin was on fire, and I was throwing like a blind man. So, I have an open question, dart board etiquette, I am claiming ignorance. Is it proper to play one game, then sit down, or can you play as long as you see fit, until interrupted? Or, if you want the board, what is a polite way of getting it if others are playing? While in the middle of our second game, someone came up, and asked if he could have the board after us, which, was fine, though I was hoping for a 2 out of 3 kind of situation. Is there any rule, as in pool, you put quarters down, or, your darts down? Can you offer to play for control? If anyone has any insight, let me know.