Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Dare * Risk * Dream
As I've mentioned before, I've been on a trend the last couple of years towards drinking wine rather than beer, but being in Portland it was hard to resist the plethora of microbrews. One of my favorite (actually, perhaps my most favorite) microbreweries is Rogue, and I just happened to be in the heart of Rogue country. I knew my trip to Portland wouldn't be complete without a few pints of tasty Rogue beer.
After spending three hours in Powell's Books, which is heaven to a bibliophilia like myself, and a little thrift-store shopping, I headed over to the Rogue Distillery and Public House in the Pearl District. It was a lovely day, and I managed to snag a table outside. As I glanced at the menu of various beers, as well as the food menu, I made the decision to ball out and get whatever I wanted regardless of the price. In fact, I didn't even look at the prices for anything. This was a theme I'd carried throughout my whole trip to Portland--my bank account suffered, but my soul and stomach were very satisfied. It was all worth it.
I began with a pint of Juniper Pale Ale. It was nice and light with uplifting and lingering flavors of Juniper. It is definitely one of my favorite Rouge ales, and to enjoy it at a real Rogue location was simply…awesome.
In addition to the Juniper Pale Ale I ordered the Spruce Gin Oyster Shooter appetizer. It was a shot of two northwestern oysters with a cocktail sauce made of Rogue Spruce Gin, tangerine, lemon, grains of paradise, horseradish, and coriander with fresh lemon. The oysters were soft, slippery, and buttery. The cocktail sauce was exquisite, and it all paired beautifully with the Juniper Pale Ale.
Next I opted for the Dry Hopped Saint Rogue Red, which I had never tried before. It was not overly hoppy but instead had just the right amount. It was a lovely light reddish-amber color. Delightful.
I wanted a burger. Bad. Wandering around Powell's on an empty stomach made me ridiculously hungry, but I knew if I got what was sure to the phenomenal half-pound Kobe burger on the menu I would be super sleepy with the itis, and it was still fairly early in the afternoon. I also wanted to leave as much room for beer as possible, so instead I went for the Kobe slider. It was so cute and tiny and was served on a teeny bun with wasabi mayonnaise.
When I bit into the slider I could literally taste the massages that the cows had received. It was tasty and certainly satisfied my burger craving. I also grabbed a plate of salty and crispy fries with ranch dipping sauce to snack on since I figured I'd be there for a while.
I sat. I wrote. I drank. I ate. I drank more. Next up was the Morimoto Soba Ale. This ale may be my absolute favorite Rogue ale, though it's just so hard to choose a fav. It was very light and refreshing and was perfect for a sunny, warm day (yes, Portland does have sunny days!).
As I sipped on my brews I heard the server at the next table over telling the customers they could become Rogue Nation Citizens. My curiosity was piqued. When my own server came over I asked her about it, and she told me I could get 10% off my pints if I became a citizen. There are other perks as well, such as a free beer and t-shirt on your birthday (Note to self: Go back to the West Coast and get to a Rogue pub on birthday). I was sold and filled out the paperwork. When she showed up with a camera I was surprised but simply grabbed my beer, posed, and smiled pretty for the camera. It's official. I actually have an ID card for Rogue. Score.
I had planned on getting one more pint, but my stomach was getting full, the sun was starting to set, and I had to get back to Southeast Portland. So naturally I grabbed a bottle of Somer Orange Honey Ale to go so I could drink it later. I also couldn't resist the Rogue Spruce Gin. I'm a gin girl. It's been my liquor of choice for a while, and the description sounded simply amazing. I hadn't known before that Rogue made spirits, but I'm so happy to have made the discovery. The fourteen ingredients in this gin included spruce, cucumber, angelica root, orange peel, coriander, lemon peel, ginger, orris root, grains of paradise, tangerine, juniper berries, champagne yeast, grain neutral spirit, and "free range" coastal water.
That night we made some of the most phenomenal gin and tonics I've ever had. Now if I can only find out where to buy Rogue Spruce Gin in northern New Jersey…
If you love good beer, do yourself a favor and check out Rogue. You can pick it up at most beer distributors, even if you're on the East Coast. The cost is a little higher than other varieties, but it's worth it…every time.
Dare * Risk * Dream!