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That one time I went to Portland for a beer and missed my flight

Reading Time: 3 minutes read

This entire episode was shot on Expired 35mm Fuji 200, in a Canon AE1 Program. No photo edits have been made, and no negatives were harmed in the making of this article.
Article and photos by Benjamin Wilson
The day after a funeral, I head up to Portland, safe in the knowledge that my flight departs tomorrow at midnight, so I have 1.25 days to hang. Minus some hours for sleeping, and I should still be able to get 2-3 meals in the area, enjoy a few beers, and re-travel my old stomping grounds. So I head out on the MAX towards Chinatown, with every intention of grabbing some coffee and graduating into some pints as the day goes on.
A sign that says Portland, Oregon, Old town
The Historic White Stag sign in Portland, Oregon.
I walk about 8 miles in a meandering series of caffeinated circles, just kicking it on the west side of the Willamette, between Steel Bridge and Hawthorne, mostly between Hawthorne and Burnside. Barista, in the Pine street market, has some great cold brew on nitro.
Next, I wander around, looking for decent photos, catch a few. I’ve never been an urbanite, but Portland provides an interesting tableau of stuffs to see. I make it to Stumptown, but at this point, everyone in the world has had Stumptown. Hell, they probably distribute to McMurdo Base these days. Go to your Whole Foods and get some – it’s probably there in between the celery-and-wheatgrass Kombucha and the small-batch artisanal meat substitute.
An empty row of stools at the sushi bar at Afuri Ramen in Portland, Oregon.
An empty row of stools at the sushi bar at Afuri Ramen in Portland, Oregon.

Eventually, lunchtime rolls around. Off to Rogue’s East Side brew pub, by way of AFURI Ramen + Izakaya, where they have a legit Yuzu Pale Ale courtesy of the brewery next door. Tart, crisp, clean, hint of hops. Thirst quenching.

The East Side brew pub has some great beers on tap. I drink too much, but who can blame me?  It’s awesome. The tasting list is ridonkulous. Read further down for what I can recollect.
After this, the only sensible place to go is to Cascade Brewing Barrel House, because their beers are amazazing. If you like sours, you should go there, and if you don’t, you should go there so they can fuck you up with some knowledge.
I had 2012-2014 vertical of figaro, some random samples, and my absolute favorite, ginger lime. The beers were epic. I briefly met some people, also drinking beer. So things get a little fuzzy at this point;
  • Pint of cold brew at Barista
  • Pint of cold brew at Barista (not a typo, had 2)
  • Pint of cold brew at Stumptown
  • Free large drip from the barista at Stumptown who wanted to talk about my tattoos
    –Always mix your uppers and your downers. Best idea ever.
  • Pint of Yuzu Pale Ale
  • 10oz something something raspberry – East Side

    Barrel heads on the wall at Cascade Brewing Barrel house.
    Barrel heads on the wall at Cascade Brewing Barrel house. The sign now lives in my house.
  • Pint of 6 hop IPA – East Side
  • 4oz of 8 hop IPA – East Side
  • Pint of Pliny the Elder – East Side
  • Glass of water. !important, inline
  • 4oz of Blueberry something amazing (not actual name) at Cascade
  • 4oz of Ginger Lime nectar of the gods (really should be the actual name) at Cascade
  • 4oz of Cranberry goodness and joy (probably not the actual name, but since my brain is empty, we’ll go with my idea) at Cascade
  • 4oz of 2012 Figaro at Cascade
  • 4oz of 2013 Figaro at cascade
  • 4oz of 2014 Figaro at Cascade
  • A 4-year vertical of Figaro, for drinking later
So, I finished up the day with a sampler or two at the brewery back by Afuri – which I could have sworn was The Commons, but Google Maps says is Modern Times – I thought Modern Times was in socal, so wtf?-, and then stumbled around 7 miles to where I remembered the closest MAX station being, which was absolutely not the closest MAX station.
Oh. I also missed the plane, but not because I was drunk; just because it was a 00:10 flight, and I got the wrong day. It’s cool – the PDX people hooked me up with a standby ticket, and I got back home, after all was said and done.
A man staring at a window in the commons brewery
A guy in a brewery, that I could have sworn was The Commons. I think it is, or was. I feel like Google is lying, just this once. Or not telling the whole story.
Is Portland the perfect town for beer? Maybe, maybe not. There’s sure a lot of good beer, and unlike Dallas, where I currently reside, the water is ideally suited for a lot of different beers – but I’m sure Portland can improve. And it will – Oregonians are an innovative group, after all, and we got them killer hops.
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Ben is a writographer that likes to travel and do things. He's been shot, pepper sprayed and even had to dress like a clown once. In addition, he has a really hard time talking to pretty girls sometimes.

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