Tag Archives: Ft george

On The Rail: Sandy Hut

It’s been a few years since I’ve been to the Sandy Hut; my ambient memories are dark and tinted green but enjoyable. The Sandy Hut was one of Portland’s better known and loved dive bars so there was an understandable concern when the place was sold to new owners. What would they do? How would it change? So I’ve come to check it out now that it’s been renovated.

And wow, is it an awesome joint. It feels divey; wood paneling and lighting out of the 1970’s or at least what I seem to feel like the 1970’s was like. Plus, because it’s Portland I can get Ft George’s farmhouse ale.

It’s spicy from the yeast, with a hop bitterness followed by a citrus nip at the tongue at the end. It’s got a softness on the mouthfeel; makes me think of saisons and the clarity of the beer suggests that’s just what they did. It’s pretty good; both easy to drink and complex in the best ways. I feel like I lucked out on this pick!

There’s a man in an incredibly ugly plaid shirt and a straw hat that has loudly proclaimed that he used to live near here when he was a boy. “Same bar,” he says, “but so much better. It’s unbelievable.”

The man’s taste in shirts is questionable but is assessment of this bar isn’t. The coolers may not be installed yet (the bartender is pulling beers from buckets of ice out of view) but there’s a warmth to this place that I feel ought to keep the regular dive patrons while welcoming people who want to check it out.

I’d be happier if there was a better selection of beer on draft but there’s a Rainier draft handle that must be from the 1970’s and that earns a sliver of forgiveness.

The bartenders are still talking about the changes, too: it’s new to them as well. “There’s all these creepy manikins in the basement,” one says, “that they used to hang from the ceiling. It freaks me out whenever I have to walk in the office.”

There’s a BASEMENT here? Holy crap, I can barely imagine what might be lurking in the basement of the Sandy Hut.

One of the bartender stumbles for a moment. “Jesus Christ, we gotta get rid of that bucket,” he says. Yeah man. But I look forward to coming here again and  having a drink. It feels pretty damn fantastic in here and I hope the bar is rewarded for cleaning up.

On The Rail: Baileys (Ft George Edition)

I’m showing Bailey’s off to a friend visiting town and have recommended Trinity’s Chocolate River, based on my enjoyment of their Swingline ale a few weeks ago. She takes a sip of it and then cuddles it to her breast, looking out over the glass like a wolf ready to defend her prey.

I’m drinking the Fort George Optimist because I’ve had a few IPAs lately that have called into question what I like about IPAs. As in: do I really know what the hell they’re supposed to taste like? So I’m trying to recalibrate everything with another IPA.

In an attempt to get a scent of the Optimist I stick my nose in too far and snort IPA up my nostrils.

I do not advise this method of flavor testing.

Fresh grassy, pine notes though come through when I’ve wipe my proboscis and the bitterness on the finish reflects these flavors and not anything skunked. This sets my mind at ease: I’m not crazy, something is wrong with the beers I’ve been having!

Because I am just confident enough to feel like I have some authority about beers and styles but that’s not the same as knowing. After two other pale/IPA styles that were just not right, I started to wonder if I was just incorrect about what those beers should represent.

The Optimist helps set my palate upright again.

Notes from the OBF Brewer’s Guild Dinner

Taken on my outboard brain with photos managed as best I could. Thoughts after the fact in bold.

Ninkasi ronsom old Tom collaboration:
Unsure of style but it’s light and has a pleasantly hoppy-pine nose. Recommended


Hopworks Cronan the Barbarian
Strong ale and it’s really rich and tasty. Caramel goodness. Highly recommended.

Gilgamesh organic jasmine hefeweisen starts bitter faint honey nose and… Not sure what to make of it. Final decision is meeeh. Everyone else seemed to really enjoy this beer, so maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s just really hard to follow Cronan.

Pelican wienna wit
More Belgian like with a hint of sour bite at the end. It was OK.

Upright flora rustica
Got that sour Belgian nose dry finish but something kinda dirty there. Upright continues to not persuade me. Does give me a farmhouse feel but I am just not convinced.

Oakshire Perfect Storm double ipa
Wonderful caramel-grapefruit nose that went for the ipa part. Not balanced; stingy at end. Tasty. This beer is for the hopheads because wow does it bite.

Hop Valley Pollenation honey ale
Smooth and easy to drink. Aftertaste may be affected by ipa b/c there’s a weird bitter moment. Talking to others, that dirty aftertaste was present to them, too so maybe it’s not just me.

Ft George Hellcat Belgian
Nose slightly off-putting with a yeasty note but beer is hard to describe. A hard candy start and a pepper finish that doesn’t hit until it’s too late. This was, amongst the people I talked to, one of the most interesting and tasty beers there, and I agree with that. Try it.