Spring Break: Portland, Day 2

Day 2 of my Portland trip featured more of the same from day #1… great food and great beer. After an amazing breakfast featuring a chorizo burrito and French toast with huckleberry jam at Tasty n Alder, and great coffee at Barista, we headed over the bridge into East Portland to see what this area had to offer. The first place we hit was Burnside Brewery.

Burnside Brewery
701 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

burnsideext

So we started off the day here and I thought it would be a great idea to get a taster tray of all their beer. Turns out, that might not have been the best idea. Their taster tray consisted of 18-4 oz taster (in case you’re keeping track at home, that’s 4.5-12 oz beers). Here’s what that looked like:

burnside taster

Right. I had some work to do. I sipped each of these very slowly, but some of my favorites were the IPA, their year-round stout, and the rotating Imperial IPA. The latter was called the Wicked Witch of NWPA and it featured a huge pine and earthy hop flavor throughout with a nice medium malt backbone. One more pic of their draft board:

burnsideboard

Ground Breaker Brewing
2030 SE 7th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

groundbreaker

After Burnside, I needed a long walk. Ground Breaker isn’t close, but it’s still walkable if you’re up to it. It’s also a 100% gluten-free brewery. That means all the beer and all the food is gluten-free. The beer was fairly what you would expect from gluten-free beer. It was drinkable but not better than anything else I have had. Still, it was very interesting to read how they brewed their beer to try to attain certain flavors only thought possible by including malted grains. For instance, many of their beers used roasted chestnuts as a base to attain a bigger, smokier character. Their fruity IPA was a cider-IPA hybrid combining apple cider aged in oak and northwest hops to create a fusion of hoppy and apple cider flavor.

groundbreaker tacos

But the real draw here is the food. Their pizza is 100% gluten-free but it was incredible. When I asked the server what their crust was made of he wasn’t sure but knew that tapioca pudding was one of the ingredients. The tacos were even better. Make no mistake: this is not a vegan or even vegetarian place but everything is gluten-free. The tortillas are yellow masa with pulled pork, cilantro, goat’s milk fromage, and house-made tomatillo salsa. The image above is clearly missing a taco, but that is only because I had already eaten it.

Hopworks Urban Brewery
2944 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, OR 97202

hopworks_exterior

Hopworks was a fairly short Uber ride away and it was worth it. This bike-themed, mostly-organic brewery was welcoming and featured great beer and good food. I got the taster tray, which (slightly unfortunately) contained the first ten beers on their list. They were all solid, just not the exact ten that I wanted. Fortunately, the bartender allowed me a regular taster pour of their black IPA for no extra charge.

hopworks_board

I asked the bartender about their organic-only mantra and he said that most of the beers are certified organic, as denoted by the organic labels on their draft board. Others are not certified organic since they are not 90% or higher as defined by the USDA. This is mostly due to the fact that the hops they need to brew some of these beers push that number below 90%, however all their beers are at least 51% organic. Either way, I think it’s great that a brewery is so conscious of this and strives to make their beers as organic as possible. Favorites from this place included the El Dorado XPA, a single-hop pale ale that was super balanced and very drinkable; and the Galactic, an imperial red ale with nice chewy bitterness and big hop bitterness. And we Uber on to…

Gigantic Brewing Company
5224 SE 26th Ave, Portland, OR 97202

gigantic sign

This tiny little brewery is tucked away in an industrial area in southeast Portland, but what a gem this is. My favorite beer here (so far) is the Ginormous IPA, all the way. This huge double IPA just bursts with giant hop bitterness but is amazingly drinkable for a 9% double IPA with 100 IBUs. I also got a full pour of their Superbad imperial stout, which was loaded with huge coffee and chocolate notes, but still was somehow smooth and creamy. And just look at this label:

Gigantic-Brewing-Superbad

Their artwork was all fantastically weird and creepy and all done by local artists, which to me makes it so much better. I was a huge fan of this place and if I lived in Portland, I would frequent this place. Oh yeah, and I happened to stumble upon these two (probably incredibly) rare bottles while I was there:

gigtantic bottles

Follow me on untappd for tasting notes on these two gems (@schiver).

Takeaways from Day 2 of my Portland trip: the area to the east of the Willamette River has a lot to offer, way more than you can see in one day, especially if you are a beer drinker. There are also some great restaurants and eateries out this way, although we didn’t really hit any. Tomorrow we are heading slightly north to see what that area has to offer. But overall, this city is just so spread out that you need a few days to see it all. Check back for Day 3 tomorrow (or the next day, or whenever I get around to posting it).

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