I hate when you come back from vacation and have gained 5 pounds. I am usually able to avoid it (except for my trips to Italy where it tended to be more like 10), but with this recent trip to Oregon, it was practically unavoidable.
I’d be remiss to describe the state without talking about its people’s passion for quality food. It’s noticeable on every menu where the ingredients are listed in such detail as to if they are organic and even what local farm they come from. I even had a Portlandia moment when ordering breakfast at one place when the waitress voluntarily gave me more than enough information about my maple syrup. As a believer in eating real food, I appreciate their commitment to serving the best and all the food I tasted reflected that commitment it its flavor.
However, the food wasn’t the problem when it came to the weight gain. It usually isn’t when you’re eating high quality vegetarian meals. It was the beer. Beer, oh, beer! I swear I don’t drink as much beer in a normal year as I did on that 10-day trip.
See, we were visiting the Beaver State for a family wedding, and the bride and groom, as known as Diana and Andy, happened to be beer connoisseurs to the max, owning and operating a bottle shop, bar, and restaurant in Bend named Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Café (a must visit if you’re in Bend!). The day’s leading up to the wedding were spent touring different microbreweries around the city, floating doing the Deschutes River, and bowling, all with a beer in hand. Nights were spent at their place chatting and opening up some really special bottles, of which they have amassed an amazing collection, or at the local The Little Woody Festival tasting some barrel aged varieties. And, I don’t want to forget about their 3-day music festival wedding extravaganza, which featured a beer trailer with over 8 different kegs that were constantly being changed out. Looking back, I felt like I went on a beer world tour, and I’d so be up for going again!
I myself have never been much of a beer fan. We are just starting to develop a beer culture here in Atlanta, and until recently, we’ve only had some of the larger breweries selections available in the city. Drinking those I found out I didn’t really enjoy the taste and they left me feeling too full to finish a pint. This trip opened my eyes to the world of beers and there is no going back!
Some of the notable drinks I tried were:
Duchesse de Bourgogne
This is a Belgian beer that was on tap at Andy and Diana’s bottle shop. The beer is aged in oak barrels, and the final combination for the red ale features a half-and-half blend of an 18-month aged barrel with an 8-month aged barrel. It has a rich taste that is a bit sour and fruity with a cherry flavor.
Atlas Cider Co. Hard Apple Cider
I’ve always been a cider fan since it’s light on my stomach. Here in Atlanta, I’m considered uncultured and lame, but in Bend, ciders are in vogue. This cider, made from a local Bend brewery, is sweet, yet tart from the addition of granny smith apples.
10 Barrel Brewing Co. Swill
Another beer that is super light on my stomach and I was actually able to swing back a 6-pack of was 10 Barrel Brewing Co.’s Swill. I’m told the brewery is woman run, and this beer takes a jab a “beer guys who take themselves to seriously.” It’s a berliner weiss with multiple layers of grapefruit, making it easy to drink! I managed to bring 4 bottles home with me that I’m safeguarding for special occasions.
Russian River Brewing Company Pliny the Elder
Apparently this is the cult beer of cult beers. I was told if I ever were to meet a beer snob, I could tell him I’ve drunk the Pliny and he would immediately be jealous. Made in a limited supply, it was an amazing feat that Andy and Diana were able to secure a keg for their wedding (shows you just how awesome they are, right?). The beer, which is a double IPA, has a bitter taste that is rounded out with a pine and citrus flavor. It was a bit to bitter for me, but an interesting flavor nonetheless. I’m glad I tried it.
Framboise is the French word for raspberry and is used to describe beers that have been fermented with fruit. There were so many varieties that we tried while there, and I loved them all. Light and bubbly, they reminded me more of champagne than beer.
Cascade Blueberry Ale
Sour Beers are my new obsession! It’s like drinking a bubbly Sour Patch Kid, but with realistic flavors like Blueberry and Apricot. Bottled in Portland, the beer is considered an America wild ale and is aged in oak for 4-month on fresh Blueberries. It tasted fruity at first, but ends with a tart finish!
Because it seems like the signature food or Oregon is beer, I decided to make some beer bread. This recipe was reviewed online as the #1 beer bread out there; but of course, I made some adjustments to make it a bit healthier by substituting 2 cups of regular flour for whole wheat. I admit to using a Yingling to make the bread (What?! My good beer is for drinking!), and as it baked my entire house smelled like a frat house after a rager. I’m sure if you use a seasonal beer, it will impart a better flavor. The butter poured on top before baking gives a crunchy crust, which I love, and it pairs perfectly with honey butter.
On a side note, I’m sorry I didn’t take more Oregon pictures to share. The trip was wonderful, and I just took some time to unplug and connect with family and the new, amazing people I met. If you’re jonesing to see some photos of the trip, I did post a few things on Instagram as did Roark. Also, I want to send out a special thank you to Andy and Diana, as well as their roommate, Amy, for showing me the way of Bend beer. Thanks for taking the time to find drinks I would like and having me taste them. I can’t wait to come back for Round 2!
- 1 Cup of Sifted All Purpose Flour
- 2 Cups of Sifted Whole Wheat Flour
- 3 teaspoons of Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon of Salt
- ¼ Cup of Turbinado Sugar
- 1 Bottle of Beer
- ¼ Cup of Melted Butter, plus an addition and separate 4 Tablespoons of Melted Butter
- 1 Tablespoon of Honey
- ⅛ teaspoon Cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon of Nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 375F. In a small bowl, mix the Flours, Baking Powder, Salt, Sugar, and Beer together until everything is moist. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased loaf pan, letting it settle into the pan. Don't over grease the pan otherwise the bread will turn out oily!! Pour the ¼ Cup of Melted Butter on top of the dough. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, to make the Honey Butter, combine the remaining Melted Butter, Honey, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg in a small bowl by whisking. Let the mixture cool at room temperature, whisking every few minutes to keep everything combined.
- Once the Bread has finished baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes before moving it to a wire rack. Eat with the Honey Butter, which can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week. The bread can be stored in an air tight container at room temperature for 3 days. Makes one loaf.