Last night was the very generous media party at Upright. The occasion was created to release Upright’s newest seasonal, Four Play. I am sure you can read many reviews of it on any PDX blog. It was super tasty, and another feather in Alex’s cap. But, the beer I want to talk about is one that is going to be rare and gone fast, their Anniversary Apricot Ale. As a general rule I do not like fruit beers. Most I have had have the complexity of a fart and the flavor to match. Pyramid’s Apricot Ale, to me , is an ale made solely to encourage one to stop drinking or possibly commit suicide. That being said, Upright’s Apricot Ale is something that is hard to put into words. As I was taking notes last night, the word I came up with was “sincere.” The taste was..sincere. Fruity, not artificial, bold but not pretentious. Sincere. Upright’s Apricot Ale was aged in Gin Barrels. Barrel aged beer can go horribly wrong, or even worse, horribly boring. This went neither. [note: what we had was not aged in Gin barrels, but a future release of this brew will be, the Four Play however was aged in Pinot barrels] This 6% beer was intensely cloudy and had an amazing nose of natural apricot. I tasted not apricot flavor, but apricot. Of course, this was all balanced out with the house yeast, picked to suit the taste buds of the brewer. It is one of the best beers that will never touch a bottle, and one that you would be remiss not to scurry off to try. It is so good, in fact, it makes me forgive Upright for the truly..umm... unique Eucalyptus beer. After an exciting year in operation, Upright continues to produce beer that is made with skill, passion, and honesty. We should all count ourselves lucky to be able to watch with thirsty eyes Upright’s next experiment gone...perfect. For more pics, please visit my Flickr page. Also, do not forget, April 9th is Upright's one year anniversary party. Yes, there will be a lot of people there, but join the crowd.
It was time to explore an area outside of my usual two block radius last night. I was hoping to play some darts at a few new spots, The Trap and Slingshot Lounge. The Trap is a funny looking building at 52nd and Foster. While the front part advertises family friendly dining, the back holds what is the epitome of a neighborhood bar. At about 4:30, the place was nearly packed with customers that may very well have been there long enough to enjoy the advertised breakfast special. We had everyone beat by at least a decade or so, but they couldn't have been friendlier. If you don't mind a modest tap selection (PBR, Bud, Coors Light) and a bar maid that serves you only between smoke breaks, it's not a bad spot to catch funny car racing or waste an afternoon playing video lottery. The Trap is also known as a major dart playing location. The walls are completely covered with plaques and trophies from decades of play. The problem? They only have soft tip, pay machines. They do have an ATM for the currency disabled, like myself, but it was at the opposite end of the bar, and after two stiff gin and tonics, I wasn't making the trip. Down the road on 55th is the Slingshot Lounge. Overlooked and easy to drive by, it deserves a stop. Now, I went to play darts since their My Space page listed it as a game. Alas, no darts. The board was taken out, but may be returning according to the bartender. We instead entertained ourselves with pool and air hockey. If you have never treated yourself to drunken Air Hockey, your missing out on one of the true joys in life. The walls are lined with really cool artwork, and the lack of TV is a welcome change from other bars. The tap list was pretty good, we each had Ninkasi Spring Reign. The also have Lindeman's on tap, and Oly. Slingshot has been open for three years, but only had a proper kitchen for six months. It may be a young kitchen, but the food coming out is really amazing. We tried the deep fried cauliflower, calamari, and Fava Bean hummus. It was all good, and it is all made in house. It was all but empty when we were there, which is a shame. I hope they do well enough to stay open, it's a pretty cool spot, even if it is on Foster.
So, I did not go to any of the SE pub crawl events last night. Truth be told, I drove home past Bar Avignon and the crowd outside scared me. I decided to go to the much more low key Clinton St. Pub. I am glad that it was obviously a success, but large groups of people are not my thing. I do not really have much to write about, but I did see something on a walk downtown today that caught my eye. In a for lease building on Hawthorne, was what seemed to be a full pallet of Sterling beer. Every heard of Sterling? I sure as hell haven't. It was a brewery that started in the 1800's in Louisville, KY. I could retype the whole history for you, or I could just suggest you check this out. Or this. How this building on Hawthorne has a pallet of this beer is beyond me. Anyone out there have any input on this?
Does anyone really give a shit? In the town I grew up in, there was no micro brews, and every bar was a liquor license away from being the quality of a buddy's basement. Twice a year, the... umm, ok I'll call it a town, had two reasons to gather and drink. One was an unbelievably lame Oktoberfest, complete with Coors Light and Warsteiner for choices. The other was St. Patrick's Day. In hog country Illinois that meant the yearly tradition of green beer, and corned beef and cabbage. Let me tell you, green food coloring added to Keystone Light is something that only the most cross eyed of rednecks looks forward to year after year. Now, here in Beervana, do we really need a holiday, that 90% of people have no idea what it means, in order to drink. It's fun to turn focus to Irish beer, sure. But does wearing green and acting like an asshole go hand in hand? Apparently yes. I hate holidays that are celebrated by the masses for the wrong reason, and celebrated by people that have no clue why we are celebrating it. In Illinois, we got off every year for Casimir Pulaski day. Think any of us kids gave a shit why? No, that was an extra day to sneak into our parents barn and smoke swisher sweets and drink the stolen can of Old Milwaukee from the old man. I guess the point of my rant is, do we really need an excuse to drink? No, we don't. I drink for the taste, local offerings, and also in hopes that I will get so bombed that I will forget that I work for Shit Inc. with Satan as CEO. So, if you must get extra drunk tonight, take a moment to think about good ol' St. Patrick. I myself will get normal drunk, because that's how Patrick would have liked it, right?
About a week or so ago, we headed up to Seattle to catch a live show from the Trailer Park Boys. Before that though, we had a great time checking out a few watering holes, and playing some darts. The Owl and Thistle was our first stop. I found this place thanks to the Emerald City Dart Association’s website. They have three dart boards in the back room, which we were lucky enough to have entirely to ourselves. The beer selection is limited to what you may expect at an Irish themed bar, but the food was outstanding. Who knew you could beer batter Brie. The bar is hidden enough so that the typical crowds of tourists probably won’t find it. We did stop at Pike Brewing, but this being my second trip, I enjoyed it much less. For me, it is just too busy, both in people and in atmosphere. The take the Applebee’s route in decorating, covering every square inch in some kind of memorabilia. Located right in Pike Market, it does attract every stray thirsty tourist. I prefer to grab a 22 at my favorite bottle shop back here in P-town. Our last stop before the show was recommended to us by the most excellent bartender at Clinton St Pub, Wade. Shorty’s is not just a bar, it is an experience. Located north of the hubbub, it had a really great beer selection, full bar, and more creepy pics of clown’s than really should be allowed by law. It felt like Portland in Seattle. It is the location of several pinball tournaments, and rightly so. The entire back room is all dark, save the warming glow of the pinball lights. The front room has several classic games, including half pinball, half video Baby Pac Man. Knowing what I know now, I would have skipped the first two places, and spent a lot more time at Shorty’s. Trailer Park Boys were funny as hell, and I encourage everyone to see their new movie, Countdown to Liquor Day. Also, a trip every now and then to Seattle is worth while, though, I must say, I think we here won the best city to drink in award in my eyes.