March 2021 Part II

KrisDi’s tulips and crocuses (croci?) continued to grow and bloom, as has her skirmish with the local fauna. She started spreading baby powder, chili powder, some sort of spray, and has most recently started putting buckets and pots with rocks on top of them (upside down) overnight and then uncovering them in the morning. I’m personally not sure if it’s going well or not, but there are definitely some scars.

We had a neat rainbow (this might have been the day where we realized it was raining in the front but not the back). We also had a couple nice sunsets (seen through our neighboring houses).

The kids had “school photos” — which entailed setting an appointment and driving the kids there for a short session with the photographer. KrisDi took care of that. This is how they dressed.

I have no idea why, but this is how Chilkoot attended school one day.

Edit: KrisDi told me that this was actually a rehearsal for Kettleworks, and the director was wondering why Chilkoot wasn’t paying attention and kept disappearing. “No, he was just looking down to write stuff in his notebook, and you couldn’t see him.”

KrisDi and I planned on going to Bend, OR for a long birthday weekend without the kids. Consequently, she made me a small cake beforehand and we did the song + candles + presents on the 11th. KrisDi and/or the kids got me three exciting whiskies: Aberlour 10 and Aberlour 16 Single Cask Distillery Reserve (which you can’t buy in the US) and Benriach 2005 Cask Bottling (of which there are only 154 bottles). I also got a pair of running pants (for me, pajama pants).

For my birthday, KrisDi planned a three night trip to Bend, Oregon, taking the Friday before and the Monday after off as vacation days. The main reason was beer, of course, but there was plenty of interesting food and hiking as well. We focused on the beer, naturally.

We left about 6:00 AM and got takeout breakfast at Screen Door in Portland. We ate it at a standup table on their patio. Then we drove some more. There were some beautiful sights on the side of the road as we approached Mt. Hood and got closer to Bend.

We stopped at Wild Ride for a couple flights of beer and then drove the rest of the way to our AirBnB, walked to Boneyard’s original brewery location about a minute away, and then walked to Crux. From Crux, we walked to Monkless and had a couple beers and some food. Then we stopped at Immersion on our walk back to the house, and then stopped again briefly at Market of Choice to stare at the incredible beer selection.

  • Wild Ride had OK beer. They were really good at getting the smell and flavor of pot into their IPAs.
  • Boneyard didn’t have any kind of a serving area, just a window with a lady behind it. She gave us samples and we chatted, and it was really nice.
  • Crux had really good beer. I know them for their barrel aged beers, and they delivered. Their space was really cool. I especially liked the giant letters in their fire. They had a ton of outdoor space. They also had a taco truck, where we ordered a late lunch.
  • Monkless was pretty busy (they told us there would be a 30 minute wait, so we ordered a beer and prepared to loiter, and they sent us to a table before we could taste them). I had never tried any of their beer before this visit. Their beer is Belgian style, and is pretty good. Their space is really cool, kind of trendy in terms of rough wood tables and dim but artistic incandescent lights. The food we got there was pretty good, too.
  • Immersion was cold. They lit a wood fire right next to us, but it was still cold. The beer we had there was pretty good. We also had some poutine there.

The next day, we ordered takeout from the Victorian Cafe for breakfast, which was good. Then we went for a short, mostly easy hike around Shevlin. It was cold, shadowy, and elevated enough that there were patches of crunchy snow and some icicles around. We saw two different kinds of woodpecker, but not much else aside from pretty trees and river and hills and whatnot.

Afterward, we stopped at the Newport Avenue Market to ogle their beautiful beer collection. We did actually buy some here, and then we headed back to the house, put beer in the fridge, and walked out for lunch at a food truck court. I got Thai, which was really good (and actually respectably spicy), and KrisDi got some kind of a “crunchwrap” at a Mexican truck that used Beyond Beef. Then we walked to a few breweries.

  • Deschutes is on my list of big, rock solid respectable craft breweries that also have a couple really high quality offerings. That’s pretty much what we experienced with their taster flights. While there, I was reminded that I had heard of a whisky made from their famous Black Butte Porter, and when I asked about it, I got into a conversation with the employee, and he called the local distillery tasting room on his cell phone to ask if they still had it. They told me they had three bottles of the three year left, as well as some of the five year.
  • GoodLife was our next stop. I’ve tried a couple of their beers before, and they’ve been pretty good, though not great — but it was mostly a stop on the way to the next brewery where we could hang while we waited for it to open. We each had a pint and then we shared one. Then we walked around the building to the next stop.
  • Ale Apothecary was my favorite stop of the whole trip. It’s a wild / spontaneous brewery. There was a line to get in, since there wasn’t much seating. It smelled so good and was filled with the beauty of barrels and wood all over the place. The lady working the counter was the owner / brewer’s wife, and she was delightful to talk to, about beer we both like and beer they make. They only had five things on tap, but they were all at least interesting and at least one of them was fantastic. They also had some really interesting lighting.
    • Edit: At the time of posting, I had forgotten about the “special pour” they gave us, “RBG” (Raspberry Blend Gose), even though it wasn’t supposed to be ready yet. I’ll let KrisDi comment with anything she remembers, if she feels like it.

Our friends from Oregon drove up from Medford and met us at Ale Apothecary. Then they drove us (and the substantial amount of beer that we bought there) back to the house. And then I did something weird: Got a bunch of expensive beer for free from a stranger.

Before the trip, I asked a Northwest forum on BeerAdvocate for advice on beery places to visit in Bend, and offered to bring Seattle beer to one person who gave me some (excellent) advice. He said he’d stopped drinking a year ago, so I offered him a piece of my birthday cake and a bottle of hot sauce made by KrisDi. He then sent me a link to his “cellar” of 360ish beers, asking if I was interested in any of them (I am interested in all of them). I didn’t want to take advantage of him, and I just told him the one I was most interested in (which is expensive) and offered to pay for it. We met up with him at our AirBnB after Ale Apothecary and gave him cake and hot sauce, and he gave me a box of beer, which I would estimate at roughly $150-175 value. I got the better end of that deal. That dude’s pretty nice, and I plan to find some way to pay him back in the future.

And then out to Market of Choice, where I bought another substantial amount of beer. And then out to the distillery tasting room, where I bought the last bottle of 3 year and a bottle of 5 year Black Butte whisky. And then to a pizza place to get deep dish to take back to the house for dinner. We ate and chatted for a while, tasted the whisky and shared a beer, and that was the day.

Sunday, we had a little bit of a late start. We went back to Victorian Cafe for more take out breakfast. Then we walked around downtown Bend, around the river, got some coffee. We started to hit breweries for lunch.

  • Bend Brewing. They didn’t have much in the way of trendy or gimmicky styles. But they had a great porter and a great pilsner and really solid IPAs. I was pretty impressed with their beer. We ate inside. We had schnitzel. It was very well cooked, tender on the inside and crispy on the outside and quite juicy, but under-seasoned. The pretzel was really good.
  • Then we walked to Worthy, because it was nearby. Another place I’ve had a few beers from, but never been impressed. Enjoyed the stop, but nothing special.
  • A bit more of a walk to Sun River. Trendier, more gimmicky beer. Barrel aged and with stuff like pineapple or cinnamon added. They had a hefeweizen that supposedly won gold at GABF twice, but I thought it was just OK.
  • Sun River basically shared a building with Boss Rambler Beer Club (they actually shared a counter with a hipster coffee shop), which was mostly trendy and hip kind of vibe, though their hazy IPAs were pretty darn good.

From there, we headed back to the house, and our friends headed home. We ordered sandwiches (I got tri tip). I was really tired, and fell asleep on the couch, and that was the end of the evening. We cleaned up the house the next day and drove home, stopping for ramen in Portland. It had snowed overnight through the mountains, but it had been plowed before we drove it. Some parts of it were slightly worrisome, but nothing serious.

Djiboutian Phoenix sent me a bottle of bourbon as a birthday present, which arrived a day or two after I got home.

It was interesting to be away from home, and also away from the kids, and actually go out to places and do things at those places besides just pick stuff up and leave.

I’m forty now.


Posted by snaotheus

1 comment

And you’re still my baby. 😉

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