Rose City Til I Die
If you look out the windows of our apartment, you can just see the walls Jeld-Wen Field, home of the Portland Timbers. There is a game tonight which means our neighborhood is inundated with football hooligans and family vans. We can’t drive anywhere or we’ll lose our parking space.
So we are staying in tonight and playing board games. I’m drinking the Widmer Brothers’ new Green & Gold Kölsch. The beer won a Timbers Army homebrew competition. It’s a pale yellow beer with a surprising fruity character and crisp herbal finish. Good for a pre-match pint or three.
M Bar is basically my favorite place to have a few pints. They only have three taps, but they rotate regularly, daily almost. For six months out of the year they pour the best Guinness in town on the nitro tap. They spend the proper three minutes to make sure it’s all settled and ready to drink. The rotating taps all come from smaller Oregon and Washington breweries. I’ve been introduced to a few breweries like Boneyard and Walking Man via the three taps at M.
Today was another great example of an interesting, yet familiar trip to M. I started out with a Kolsch from Occidental Brewing, which hit a lot of the notes I love in a Kolsch: light, crisp feel and nice malt flavor. I thought it had a little too much hop flavor for my taste, more like a classic pilsner than a bready Kolsch. I missed the saltine cracker flavor I tasted at Pfaffen. I was reminded more of the Früh Kolsch; the Occidental left a sort of oily tongue coating. Still a solid choice for a sunny day on the patio.
I followed with Hopworks Secession Cascadian Dark Ale. I think they stopped making it for the summer, and this tasted like an older keg. It was a lot darker than I remembered but still hoppier than a porter. The aroma of the hops has faded, but there is still a bit of grassy flavor. The overall flavor was dominated by a smokiness. The finish is smooth and dry. And unlike many stouts or porters, the body was still relatively thin and crisp. Overall not entirely unwelcome.
As the weather warms and the nights lengthen you can count on M to bring out some very nice, crisp, tasty beers.
We spent yesterday in Köln. After climbing 509 steps to the top of the Dom, we had to cool off with a few Kölsch beers.
We headed to Brauerei Pfaffen, passing dozens of restaurants and bars advertising Gaffel and other big name brewers. The Pfaffen brewery was really nice, full of wood paneling and stained glass. A blue jumpsuited waiter came by with a tray of .2 liter glasses of beer. The Kölsch style was a reaction to lager beers in the south like Czech Pilseners. It’s top fermented with ale yeast and conditioned at a colder lager temperature. It tastes sort of like a pale lager, but a bit fuller. The Pfaffen tasted like a liquid cracker with a subtle bitterness and dry finish.
I didn’t appreciate the subtle deliciousness of the Pfaffen until we went to a late lunch at the Istanbul kebab shop. There we had some Früh, one of the big four brewers. The Früh tasted like the Bud Light of Kölsch. It has a similar lightly bitter flavor and a terrible soapy aftertaste, like diet Coke. It left a film on my tongue. Glad we skipped straight to the good stuff.