|It's good for what ails you.
After breakfast we loaded up the car and I loaded myself up with co-codamol and a triple shot latte and gradually started to feel a little more human, albeit a very spaced out and highly caffeinated human. As we left the high rise buildings and bridges of Portland behind the vast expanse of Oregon started to unfold before us. It was a beautiful day with the sun bouncing off the Cascade mountain range and the towering, snow-capped Mount Hood shone resplendently in the distance. We we soon cruising alongside the Columbia River taking in the beautiful scenes that the States of Oregon and Washington had to offer. Our first stop was at the stunning Multnomah Falls, maybe it was the revivifying spray of the falls or perhaps it was a second triple shot latte but I was starting to feel ready for a drink of the fermented variety and so we made our way towards the town of Hood River, home of Full Sail Brewing Co.
A full 24 hours had passed since I last had a beer at Bridgeport Brewing, arguably the longest amount of time I've gone in the States without an alcoholic drink but this was soon to be rectified. Full Sail are well known in the USA for their Session Lager and eyeing the menu I see that alongside regular brewery sights such as an Amber and an IPA there were German inspired Weizen and Bock beers which hinted at some of the influences in Full Sail's brewing. Despite being ready for a beer I definitely couldn't stomach a full pint so opted for a tasting flight, the Session Lager was first up and it was a solid brew, certainly more full bodied and flavourful than Budweiser or Pabst Blue Ribbon but not really my kind of beer. Next up was the Session Black Lager which was much the same as its pale cousin only with a little more body and a slightly unpleasant burnt bitterness at the finish so not something I'd drink again.
'Vendell's Veizen' Weizen Bock was next up and it's pleasant banana, clove and bubblegum notes washed away the burnt toast notes from the Black Lager, there was also a little alcohol on the palate which gave away this beers big 7.2% ABV but despite this it was a solid brew. The Amber was equally as pleasant but I still wasn't being bowled over by any of these beers, they were solid, dependable beers for people who were finished with American adjunct lagers and ready to take the next step into the beer universe but they weren't for ardent hop junkies such as myself. I finished with the IPA which, much like the one from Bridgeport was decent enough but mute compared to some of the heavyweights I'd sampled so far on this trip. Despite this the Full Sail brews were highly accomplished, clean and well made plus my palate was potentially being restricted by the flu.
|The Prodigal Son Brewery & Pub
The tasting flight here consisted of eight different beers so my Dad and I got one to share between the two of us. I found the brews at Prodigal Son to be a little hit and miss, where the 'Beer Named Sue' was thin and tasted a lot like sweetcorn, Ella IPA was decent with an incredibly robust malt profile (arguably a little too robust for my tastes) but was loaded with delicious pink grapefruit, mango and pine resin flavours. The Max Power double IPA had far too much malt going on for my tastes with caramel and toffee popcorn notes vastly outweighing the bitterness but the Fatted Calf Sacrificial Stout was rich, full of coffee and burnt sugar nuances but a really dry finish belied the 7.9% alcohol content. The real highlight here though was the Bruce/Lee Porter which hid it's 8.1% ABV behind cleverly woven layers of coffee, chocolate and molasses, it was a treat to the taste buds.
We were running behind schedule and soon had to leave the Prodigal Son tasting room behind, I'd love to come to this place on a busy Friday or Saturday night as it's a really great use of space with big open tables and tidy little alcoves if you want a little more privacy plus the food looked great. We had one more stop to make before we hopped over the border to Washington, we were headed to the tiny town of Milton Freewater to pay a visit to what is possibly the smallest commercial brewery in existence.
Continue on to Dragon's Gate Brewery...