First stop was the Alberta Street Pub. I wasn't able to get in last time I was up in May, as it was shoulder-to-shoulder and dimly lit, so I'm not even sure that they have a beer engine. Alas, it was noon, and the pub was to open at 3:00. Or was it 5:00. It didn't say on the door, and my quick little iPhone search revealed two different opening times. Same results for the Moon & Sixpence, which was to be my next stop. Change of plans.
The Horse Brass was guaranteed to be open for lunch, so I navigated my way a bit further South and East to the mid-regions of Belmont Street. It was remarkably quiet for a Friday at 12:30, so I had a nice cozy corner to work on a pint and a book. First pint was Hale's Mongoose IPA. I like this one - it is similar to my Dearth and Surfeit, but with a hoppier nose. It is dispensed sans-sparkler, as were destined to be all my pints for the day, but not with the sort of care one would expect in a southern English pub. The glass is unceremoniously placed on the drip tray, into which the liquid is pumped a vast distance from the stubby nozzle creating a thick-foamed head. Next pint, served in similar fashion, was Hop Stoopid from Lagunitas. This pint really needs to be enjoyed via keg, as the temperature and conditioning brought out some of the problems that are masked by a set of numb tastebuds.
Next, a quick walk up to Belmont Station to see if they had their beer engine installed as I had heard was to be the case. It was installed, but, guess what? Not available until 3:00. Change of plans.
One of the three Lucky Labrador establishments is in the same Portland quadrant as the Horse Brass, and I knew they had a single beer engine. It also was somewhat quiet for the middle of a Friday afternoon. The offering on cask was a guest beer. I can't remember who's it was (no jokes here please), but it was hazy and decent. I think I confused the barkeep by ordering it. He gave the pump handle and the blackboard listing the beers a puzzled look before tucking into the task at hand. Plenty of time here to knock off a couple chapters of my book and engage in some quality people-watching.
By now I had great hopes that the Moon & Sixpence would be open. Good enough, it was. 5:00 on a Friday afternoon yielded three gentlemen at the bar. I was starting to feel a bit better about slow days at the pub, although not that much better as I was also thinking about all the bills I still have to pay when I get back. The Red Seal was on, which I had the last time I was there, but also Ninkasi's Tricerahops (!!). This is an 8.8%, ridiculously hopped imperial IPA, which doesn't belong on cask. So, that means I had to have one, along with a nice Cornish Pasty. The beer was so hazy and full of particulates that you could almost spread it on a piece of toast. I was hoping the little chunks floating around were remnants of the dry hopping process. Only one pint could be enjoyed here, as Tricerahops fails miserably as a contestant for the "session beer" moniker.
One more stop before going home. My new favorite place in Portland is actually in Oregon City, viz., the Highland Stillhouse. You all should visit. Outrageously comfy atmosphere, more than 140 single malt scotches, great food, and a fine selection of beers and ales, including a couple of cask offerings. It was jumping busy, and the patio was open. It took 30 minutes for the rain to hit and force most of the patrons inside, but I managed to grab a corner of one of the canopies and took to people watching. No IPA's on the pumps, but the Red Seal was nice.
Back home, one night further along the path of life, I'm blogging and enjoying a pint of Baba O'Rye'ly, which you won't be able to find in Portland, or any great city for that matter. I get to travel back up to Portland next Saturday for an airport run, and undoubtedly will continue a bit more research in the area.