Drinking the Oregon Trail…PART 1

Crater Lake. Mount Hood. Bumblebee Tuna. To my beautiful and inventive neighbors to the north, who I have never visited, I raise my glass. Full of incredible breweries, wineries, and restaurants, Oregon is a mecca for beer and wine lovers alike. I cannot wait to haul my happy heels up there. Methinks a Spring trip is in order…..


Delicious opposites. And yes, a New Glarus review is coming!
This baby was bubbling with joy for minutes.


Hair of the Dog Adam, 10% ABV: I like this small brewery, so I am excited to try this. Big, fluffy, frothy cappuccino head. Bubbling out of the bottle when opened. Yes! It’s smokey, and you know how this girl loves some smoke in her food and beer…Dried tobacco,roasted and smoked meat, charred wood, dried fig, molasses. On the palate, intense heat and smokiness. As it warms, everything melds. While the heat remains, this beer becomes my favorite of the night. For its distinct originality.

(This beer was produced in tribute to a bygone German beer style, Adambier. CLICK HERE to read the story!)

Founded in 1993, Hair of the Dog is a fantastic little Portland, Oregon brewery, making deliciously unique and noteworthy brews. Every time I have a Hair of the Dog, I pause, smell, think, and drink. Currently, their production is 4 beers, including Adam, Fred, Ruth, and Doggie Claws. And I am dying to meet founder Pat Sprints. He looks someone I would have known on Grateful Dead tour. And that’s a good thing.

Speaking of interesting and unusual ales….


Full Sail Bourbon Barrel Wassail Ale: Located right beside the AMAZING cheese booth at GABF, the Oregon Brewers Guild had this baby on tap. It was my great pleasure to speak with John Harris, Brewmaster, about the production of this specialty beer, and munch on a few incredible cheeses.

Aged for 8 months, this beer has rich, warming notes of cherry, oak, spice, brown sugar, and bourbon on the nose and palate. Delicious, smooth, and rounded, this beer would be perfect for late holiday evenings around the fire. Share with family and friends and sigh….Just be careful if you go wassailing around your neighborhood with this one. I imagine it packs a high ABV punch.

I have great admiration for Full Sail Brewery. Completely employee-owned and committed to the environment, Full Sail does Oregon proud. Located in Hood River and founded in 1987, the brewery sources its water from Mount Hood, and its hops and barley from local farms. Add to that a dedication to 300 events and charities each year, and Full Sail is a brewery I want to get behind. I am definitely wanting to try their Slipknot, Bourbon Imperial Porter, and Wreck the Halls.

While we are on the trail, why not jump over to the higway….


My awesomely metal co-workers and the Highway to Ale!


Beer Valley Highway to Ale, 10.5% ABV: Great name. Can’t help but sing AC/DC in my head. I literally want to pump my fist and shake my head, but I’m in public, so I quell the rather strong inclination.

Scents of candy laced with that telltale barleywine aroma, anise, and sugared orange peel. Despite it’s ABV, this beer stays on the lighter side of the palate. No dark caramel or brown sugar here, as is evident in so many barleywines. More of a raw sugar thing. There is thankfully some bitterness on the finish that prevents cloying. This is a pretty easy drinker, with very little heat, and no throat searing alcohol. A good intro Barleywine, if you will.

Located in Ontario, Oregon, Beer Valley started in 2005 by brewer Pete Ricks. Beginning production in 2007, the small brewery is best known for their Pigskin Pale and Leafer Madness IPA. Now distributed in 7 states, Beer Valley is making its way around the West Coast and across to the East. Look for other Beer Valley reviews in the future…

Until next time,

Whether it’s in Oregon, or your own home town, walk whatever trail it takes to lead you to delicious Craft beers…



One Comment Add yours

  1. Tiki Todd says:

    FULL SAIL is wonderful. I drink their IPA every week. My sister lives in Portland, and we visited FULL SAIL Brewery last year and greatly enjoyed lunch and beer tastings.

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