Bailey’s One Year Anniversary

Bailey’s is one of my favorite bars in Portland, and I don’t make any secrets about that. There are no televisions, the music is kept at a proper volume-loud enough to be heard if you want, soft enough to easily speak over-and the vibe is awesome. Big windows to see outside and well lit, it’s a good place to kill a few hours, and the beer selection is always interesting. The owner is a cool guy and I’m glad he’s made it a year. To celebrate he had a beerfest of his own, with fifteen barrel aged beers to try. 

More beers than any one human could sample certainly, but I had compatriots to help me; Fuz and his fella, and Lala, so between the four of us we were able to try all fifteen beers. We discussed and sniffed and swirled our way through all the beers, while Bailey’s filled to capacity and people debated the merits of beer, or the United States, depending on their inclinations.

But there were two highlights, first the Fish Old Woody, an old ale on cask. This beer was so tasty, and had the nose of malt right after it’s been poured into boiling water. A warm, carmel, smell that made me think that I needed to make another batch of beer. There was a strong alcohol warmth, but a chocolaty finish that wasn’t bitter at all to balance it out. 

The other beer we all enjoyed was Hair of the Dog’s Fred from the Wood, aged in new oak barrels.  This beer was fruity, but had a very smooth mouthfeel and a woodsy element, that may have given it a buttery finish. Of course, this was also my last beer, and after 7 samples, I was writing less and talking more. You might imagine the scene.

And high praise to the staff of Bailey’s Taproom. I thought this was a great event, a real treat, and am looking forward to next years party.

The rest of it

Saturday was my last day on the coast and after a long hike under cloudy weather, I was more than ready for a beer. I had two left, and then I’d be down to the beers I’d made myself. A chore I know but there you have it.

I started my evening off with Rock Dog’s Punk IPA, and after a long hike this was not the beer for me. I was surprised at this; the imperial is so well done, but this didn’t give me any nose nor flavors on the front end. I was left with a bitterness that coated my mouth and left me wondering what went wrong. Since their imperial IPA was so balanced, this Punk was a real jolt and I’m wondering what their next beer holds for me.

Lastly, I had a pale ale from Nogne O, and this worked out much better. It is at this point my notes fail me, however. Possibly a combination of distractions from my niece and nephew, or possibly just being tired but I wrote not a word about this beer, I just drank it. I’ve had the brand before (though not the style) and I like their beers, so I had confidence when I initially chose this beer, and it was validated. I remember that much.

As a side note, I really really like the branding for this beer. It’s simple, colorful (each style has it’s own color ‘O’) and straightforward. Maybe I’m just a sucker for colors. Worse things have been said of me.

Sunday felt like a longer drive than it probably was, just due to the effort of packing a lot of visiting in to a short time. We cruised into town almost lazily, though, determined to not cook for ourselves today. One stop at Fire On The Mountain, and the recovery from a vacation began. After the sampling of various sauces, chicken wings are ordered, and I ask for Roots’ Kolsch to wash it all down.

I enjoyed this. After a rather intense vacation leading to my need for chicken strips, this was so mild that I had a sense of relief after drinking all these very intense beers. Surrounded by cheesy paintings with hippie and chicken wing themes, this mild kolsch let me tune it all out and wait patiently for deep fried goodness. Steve Earle was on the loudspeakers and somehow that makes the painting of Muhammad Ali with drumsticks for boxing glove s less painful.