Happy Monday! It's a rough one over here in Portland, as thousands of teachers and groggy kids go back to school and tired, weary parents chug extra coffee to recover from Spring Break. Time to kick up the energy a little so I'm starting the week with Mixology Monday! Today we're talking craft beverages.
We're spoiled rotten when it comes to local artisan food and beverages here in Portland, Oregon. Recently, I had the pleasure of attending an Oregon Craft Beverage media event, highlighting six craft beverage companies and food from local catering company 1910 Main.
The event was held at SakéOne in Forest Grove, Oregon. Originally started as a sake importer, SakéOne is now one of only six saké brewing facilities in the United States. The owner felt that Oregon had some of the best quality water to make saké, and water is an important ingredient.
I have to say: smart move, sir. Oregon does, indeed, have some of the best quality water. And I do applaud those who can turn our fabulous water into amazing saké!
I am not usually a fan of saké, nor do I know much about saké, so it was wonderful to be able to talk with SakéOne about the different brewing methods and tastes. I knew that not all sakés were made equally, but I had no idea how the subtle differences in brewing method could create such big differences in taste. For more on that, be sure to visit the SakéOne website.
The g Fifty was my favorite, containing subtle fruity notes and a smooth finish. We also tasted the Momokawa organic saké, and one of the imported brands, SakéMoto Premium Junmai Saké.
SakéOne has a nice tasting room at 820 Elm Street in Forest Grove, Oregon, where you can visit 11am - 5pm seven days a week. The staff is warm and welcoming, and knowledgeable. They are fantastic at answering novice questions (I asked quite a few!) and helping you find the saké that suits your palette.
Big Bottom Whiskey
Note to the hubby: I've added Big Bottom Whiskey to my Mother's Day wish list.
Ladies (and gents), if you haven't tried Big Bottom Whiskey's American Straight Bourbon Whiskey, please do. Go out and buy some now.
Go ahead. It's okay, I'll wait.
Did you go out and buy some? Good. Now let's talk whiskey.
I'm a bourbon whiskey gal. Forget the cosmos, my favorite cocktails involve bourbon or bourbon whiskey. Give me a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned any day. The Bourbon Renewal at Clyde Commons is one of my favorite local bourbon drinks. But, I digress.
I'm no bourbon or whiskey expert. I simply know that I love how it tastes, and I can usually tell bad from good.
Big Bottom Whiskey makes excellent bourbon whiskey. The American Straight Bourbon Whiskey is incredibly smooth (like buttah), with just enough spice and sweetness for a nice balance. Delicious.
You can find Big Bottom Whiskey in various liquor stores throughout Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Georgia, South Carolina, and Washington DC. You can also visit their tasting room 21420 NW Nicholas Ct Suite D-9 in Hillsboro, Oregon. It's open Saturdays from noon - 4pm or by appointment.
Reverend Nat's Hard Cider
One of my favorite new finds from the Oregon Craft Beverage event was Reverend Nat's Hard Cider. My husband and I are not necessarily huge cider fans, but Reverend Nat's Hard Cider is pure (no concentrate is used at all), smooth, not too sweet, and absolutely the perfect beverage to have on hand for summer entertaining. Or, any day. Is it gloomy outside? Pop open a Newton Pippin. It'll cheer you right up.
Nat's an easy guy to chat with. Turns out, he and I are both esteemed Reverends of the Universal Life Church, as I am sure many of you are who became ordained to be able to perform wedding ceremonies of friends and family. So this guy makes a mean cider AND he can perform your wedding ceremony.
You can find Reverend Nat's Hard Cider on draft at pubs and restaurants throughout the Portland metro area, as well as in stores throughout the west coast. There is also Reverend Nat’s Cidery and Public Taproom at 1813 NE 2nd Ave in Portland near the Rose Quarter.
Vertigo Brewing has been around for about five years and offers a nice selection of beers. From cream ales to lagers to porters, you'll likely find at least one Vertigo Brew that suits your taste and occasion. I am really into the Razz Wheat, which is a nice light raspberry wheat beer. They also have a special Closer Pale Ale, a hoppy brew in honor of the local baseball team, the Hillsboro Hops.
Very much a local brew, you can find Vertigo Brewing beers throughout the Portland metro area, and you can visit their Taproom at 21420 NW Nicholas Ct., Suite D-6 & D-7 in Hillsboro, Oregon. Taproom Spring Hours: Wed – Saturday: 4 pm – 9 pm, Sunday - Tues: CLOSED.
Oregon Craft Beverages
Because we were short on time (and probably spent too much time chatting away as I'm known to do), we didn't get to visit all of the vendors, including David Hill Winery and Kookoolan World Meadery. It was a great event, and I hope that they do more events like this featuring small batch, local craft beverage companies.