This winter is not shaping up to be one of those so-called epic ski seasons.
The northern California resorts are not exactly overwhelmed with fresh powder; the storm two days ago that shut down the Denver airport apparently came in from the east and did not really blanket the famed resorts, such as Vail; and the storied Wasatch range, outside of Salt Lake City, are not really all that, well, epic, either.
Not even at the—excuse the overused cliché—iconic resort of Alta, where it is rumored that snowboards are prohibited (except, they really aren’t).
So what else is there to do if I can’t ski?
Well, the wife-person, and I, hopped on a Southwest Airlines (motto: we make light of the safety briefings so you don’t think about the real “what-if” consequences) flight from SMF to PDX for a long weekend.
By a weird coincidence, I got an email from one of my snowboarding buddies, Gabe, (who did not know where I was) that suggested,
“I hope you are finding other things to do besides skiing…A good year to go North I think:)”
I responded with,
“Funny timing. Is Portland far north enough?”
“Does drinking copious amounts of micro-brew and eating myself into a gluttonous stupor qualify for ‘other things to do’?”
So, in just over 24 hours, we have been to two microbreweries—one you have heard of, the other, probably not—and consumed enough food for, let’s just say, a lot more than required for minimal sustenance.
Our first stop was at the HUB (Hopworks Urban Brewery) where I drank two cask conditioned ales.
The Organic Secession Cascadian Dark Ale was one of THE best ales I have ever consumed, and I have consumed a lot more than “my share.” As for food there, well, I remember more being rolled out than walking out in an upright position.
The next brewery consistently produces some of my favorite beers, and is one I have been meaning to get to in Bend, Oregon, but haven’t made it yet. Luckily, Deschutes Brewery has an alternate supply ship in Portland.
The Nitro Obsidian stout was extremely quaffable, but the cask conditioned version of their Green Lake Organic Ale was memorable. And, given the massive amounts of food and beer I had at that point, I am lucky I could remember my name.
So, what else is there to do here?
Hey, it’s Portland, Oregon, what do you expect me to do?
Go for a bike ride? (I forgot my spandex);
Run? (I forgot my shoes);
Hit the slopes? (Yes, they do have some snow up there…but, I forgot my boots);
Kayak? (It’s been sunny but not all that warm.);
Skateboard? (at MY age?)
So clearly, it’s off for more food and drink.
Besides, I have yet to hit the one food “style” up here that Sacramento has, basically, outlawed.
Not to mention, I hear they have an entire area called Distillery Row.
Whatever could go wrong spending time there?