Tuesday was no reservation day. We picked three distilleries and walked in to see what they had to offer. First up was Heaven Hill and their stable of brands. I picked….
…the Heaven Hill Family Flight with the Evan Williams coming out the winner. The bar was cool as was the history exhibit of the five brothers that have run the distillery.
Stops two and three were Preservation and Makers Mark. Both had great grounds but S IV was more my style. Even on a Tuesday, it was a real cool spot down in a hollow with a creek running through it and bourbon slushies. And black and red coordinated buildings.
Back in the town, we made several visits to the oldest bourbon bar at the Old Talbott Tavern which is where we were staying. It doesn’t really play up the historical aspect as much as I expected and the drinks were fine but I had classier presented drinks. I had more beers there than bourbon.
Travel Day Sunday went smoothly from LAX to Muhammad Ali Airport. Once settling in near the Ohio River, it was time to find some bourbon. And find a flight of rye we did at Doc Crow’s on Main Street with Michters coming out on top of the four.
With the New Riff, second. The middle pair were too hot on the palate for me. Then to finish off the night, my first ever Mint Julep…
Monday brought rain and the Frazier Museum to get some Bourbon history. There was a really well done interactive portion as well including a put the barrel back together section. Plus the gift store has a great selection of Kentucky gifts.
After a horsey detour to the famous Churchill Downs, we headed down to the bourbon capital, Bardstown. Where we are staying at the oldest hotel in the area plus it has the oldest bourbon bar. More on that later. The first distillery stop and only one open in our Monday time frame was Boundary Oak near Fort Knox.
I would avoid the lavender and cinnamon versions and stick to the classic named My Old Kentucky Home which had a nice kick and a really nice corn taste to it. The cask strength Lincoln was nice too.
L.A. craft beer at the airport. Why isn’t there more there? I was set to thinking about this when I read (somewhere) that an America whiskey maker was setting up shop in a Paris airport.
Couldn’t there be a cart or a pop-up Welcome to L.A. Craft beer spot at LAX? It could be to-go only or a little biergarten area where either weary travelers could disembark from the plane and have a drink or a place where you could get a last minute gift before heading home.
It could rotate between Torrance breweries for a month, then DTLA, then Long Beach to keep things fresh and new. Merch could be up for sale as well. Teaming up with a winery or local spirits makers would work too.
Since I spent three whole days in Portland, I figured that I should do three whole posts, so here are a few more photos and beer talk.
Level Beer on Sandy was the main target after guisados at La Fondita. It was a wide range of beers from a super low ABV Table Saison at 2.8% to a barrel-aged imperial stout at 11.5%.
Of the six tasters the English bitter named in honor of a Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bitter Ginsbeer. The space with changing color lights and pinball machines next to a VooDoo Donuts is nice and the beertender was super friendly.
As I always do, I bought too many to-go beers but I found a real gem in a French Pilsner, Houblon from Rosenstadt that was spectacular.
Day two was split into Hood River and Southeast Portland, Older and brand newer.
Starting at Double Mountain on 4th in hilly Hood River with a single hop beer using the Zappa Hop, Blessed Relief which was different in a good way. That was a taster, followed by a short pour of the collaboration with Solera with Citra and Strata and it was super different in a not good way to me.
Next up was lunch in the river at pFriem with the family (a quorum of the fam, at least) and a sparkling IPA which was fine but I probably should have gone a sampler route or a kriek with the berries in the salad.
Back to Portland with the traffic and a stop at the former Commons, Modern Times location at the corner of Belmont that is now…
…where I had short pours of a Cerne Pivo dark lager that was excellent. Malty with depth but not weighed down. The space, if memory serves, is in the same layout with the bar at a diagonal and the seating at slices of lumber in an L shape around the windows. Plus lots of green punctuated by a cool white menu board…
…with the taps arrayed like a flock of organized birds. I also tried the Great Notion DIPA collaboration and boy was that an orange bomb. One of the most orange beers in both aroma and taste that I have had.. Maybe it was the hop hash or the Phantasm powder.
Last of the day was Chelsea pre-season on the TV at Away Days for a Post Match Italian Pilsner which was not as sprightly as I hoped but still good and the Home and Away IPA, I also have a cream ale of theirs to try. I just adore the footy names of the beers like Der Klassiker.
I have not touched the ground in Portland since 2020. How would the city feel after a long time away? Would it be different post-covid or pre-post covid for the more cautious among us.
Well, I landed hard with popular Portland breweries.
Ruse Brewing at the Crust Collective across the Columbia in Vancouver on the Waterfront walk.
I had two IPAs with Star Senders a mix of Citra and Strata being the winner.
Before that a late night beer at Migration Brewing where I had a Fuji to Hood Cold IPA which was so-so to me. The pilsner my Mom had was good and they must be doing something right because they are up to four locations now.
After Ruse, was the Portland outpost of Chuckanut the excellently named P-Nut where I had the first of three, yes three, Grodziskie lagers. Lightly smoked and rarely brewed but I found two on draft and one canned version.
The P-Nut was a lovely little space near Division and a few other beer spots in the area including Baerlic Brewing. I had the Threshold “Grod” which was noticeably different from Chuckanut. Way lighter in color and smoke but interesting.
Next was Amelia from Steeplejack. The church location is really great but their Grod was way less smoky and more lemony.
I also got a Canadian lager which was a little weird whereas the Osler a DDH IPA which had a wonderful lemon chiffon flavor to it.
If the aiport gods smile down upon me, I will be back in my hometown of Milwaukie, (OR) in a few days. While Milwaukie doesn’t have a scene minus Breakside, there is plenty of brewing going on in the larger city to the north, AKA Portland.
Thankfully, the Beervana blog posted travel centered posts in late June for me to plan where I needed to stop. Read the orientation post HERE.
Wherever you summer travel this year, I strongly suggest finding the local beer writer and even if they do not have a travel to piece, all you really need to do is read a few posts to catch the current mood or find a new brewery.
…not only that despite the goofy and the forced reality of parts, this really gives an overview of Czech food, beer, art, movies but more importantly a sense of place.
The best travel shows make you want to travel much like the best food shows make you hungry and after four episodes, 1/2 the season, I want to go and eat nothing but pastry and drink beer at all the restaurants and Pivovar’s that this duo have visited.