Sunday 26th June 2011
Earlier this day I made a journey from Tacoma to Portland with steam locomotive 4449 on a beautiful sunny day, not all that common on this trip. Take a look at the photograph of a Bald Eagle on its nest and, across the water, distant views of the Olympic Mountains. It's quite stunning and was taken from the train.
We were soon in Portland and I was unencumbered by luggage as I had checked my biggest bag direct from Tacoma to Seattle on an earlier train. I had just under four hours to visit more of Portland's brewpubs. My first port of call was a pub I'd visited in 2009 but was going back simply because I'd liked it so much.
Walking the short distance down a tree-lined street to my destination on the bank of the Willamette River I saw a flash of blue fly into a tree above me. It was a North Western Jay (Blue Jay). It was soon back on the ground, foraging for nuts most likely. Then to my surprise, it flew to the balcony of a first floor apartment and then entered it through the open French doors. See this cheeky bird in the photo.
I was soon sitting at the bar of the swish McCormick & Schmick's Harbourside at the Marina restaurant at 307 Montgomery. This eatery also welcomes the drinker as well as the diner and has a brewery. It is the experimental brewery of Full Sail. It also brews their short run brews.
A good selection of beers were on offer, mostly from their main brewery at Hood River in the beautiful Columbia River valley.
These were: Sláinte Stout (5.4%), Elevation (7.5%), Pale Ale (5.4%), Jimvar (5.6%) (Czech style lager), Josh's Spring has Sprung, Saison á Pleine Voile (5.2%), Amber Ale (5.5%), Hop Pursuit (6.0%), Ltd 03 (German Pils style) and IPA (6.0%).
Some of these are from the Brewer's Reserve range of seasonal ales and the Ltd series are experimental beers. I had a sampler tray, then went on to what I think they do best, the cask beers.
Two of the three handpumps were in use and I had a pint of each. The first wasn't amongst the keg offerings, Andy's Ambrosia Red Ale (4.9%), a well-balanced beer. The second was, Sláinte Stout, which was brilliant. It was the second best cask stout that I have ever had. It emphasised, in my mind at least, that the cask versions of beers in the USA are always better than the keg equivalents. This pub is large with an extensive terrace by the Willamette river.
The Jays were absent when I walked back to catch the tram to connect with the MAX, which I caught to Pioneer Square, the centre of the city to visit the Rock Bottom Brewery. It was a very short walk to the next pub that is located at 206 SW Morrison Street.
Full Sail at McCormick & Schmick's Harbourside at the Marina,
0309 SW Montgomery Street, Portland OR. 97201. Tel: 503 220 1865
Open: Daily 11.30-22.00
There are a few bus routes that pass nearby but they are mostly limited service routes. Easily the best way to get here is on the Portland Streetcar (Tram) CL Line. Alight at SW Harrison Street. Walk back a short distance towards the city and you will find steps or a path down to Harbour Drive. Cross this main road and down the road directly opposite to the waterfront. You will find the pub/brewery/restaurant on the left.