Portland Distillery Tour
I’m pretty sure if I had a better memory, this could be a much more entertaining article.
That aside, here’s where this story begins…
I planned a trip to Portland, Oregon to see one of my dearest friends over the weekend of March 9… her birthday. Her name is Jennifer Weed. We’ve known each other for a few years now. Jenn was born and raised in Las Vegas and just last year, abandoned me and other friends and family to move to Portland. She dragged her boyfriend, David, along for the ride.
Her best friend since 6th grade, Chrissy, moved there not long after high school with her family. So… Jenn visited. Jenn had a ball. Jenn decided she needed a change.
Do you want to hear what’s funny?
I did a very similar thing.
My best friend, Carrie (aka Carebear) from high school moved out here to Las Vegas, from Minnesota, just after high school with her, now, husband. I had visited just about every year (sometimes twice a year) for, well… let’s just say a lot of years. I loved it out here. Every time I visited I thought about how cool it would be to live here. The weather mostly. Sunny almost every day? I mean c’mon! Vitamin D! Run every day! No snow! Fast forward to 2012, I grew a pair and moved.
So I can’t fault Jenn for moving. I get it.
I don’t have to like it though.
Ok, back to the point of this article… visiting Jenn in Portland.
David dropped us off at the starting point of the tour, where we met Andrew, our tour guide.
We hopped in the pedicab and away we went, to drink all the alcohol.
Our Portland Distillery Row Tour Stops
#1 Wild Roots
So this would be my first experience in a tasting room. It’s not like a bar. It’s smallish in size, super cute. We are greeted by Ali, who gives us the rundown of what is available and a background of Wild Roots.
Wild Roots Vodka produces all-natural spirits that strive to embody the true essence of the Northwest. Every bottle of Wild Roots Vodka contains over one pound of locally-sourced fruit, giving the spirit a unique color, smell, feel and homegrown taste.
So we choose our first sample.
And our second.
And our third.
And our fourth.
And our fifth.
Are you f’ing kidding me? We have FOUR more stops! How the shit am I gonna make it out of this day alive?!
My favorite was definitely the Cranberry Vodka.
No offense to the other bartenders because everyone was so great… but the funnest bartender award goes to Greg.
Vinn distillery produces and bottles rice-based spirits from recipes that have been passed down for over seven generations.
This was the stop that I realized how much I enjoy water.
My favorite was their bloody mary mix made with their Vinn Baijiu.
#3 Rolling River Spirits
I immediately liked this place because they had trolls. See above Rick’s head below.
So this one time, in band camp… Haa! I kid. But really, this one time a few years back, I had some neighbor kids tell me their dad called me a troll. At the time, I was like what the shit. But now, after hearing a little background of trolls from Joan, I’m pretty ok with it! She mentioned something about “keep them happy.”
Remember the first sentence in this article?
“I’m pretty sure if I had a better memory, this could be a much more entertaining article.”
I remember I like Joan’s version of the trolls background, but when I went to research it, couldn’t find it. Most popular articles share the toll as ugly and mean.
#4 New Deal Distillery
At this point, there were no worries in the world. We had our choice of three spirits. We drank. I took photos.
#5 Eastside Distilling
Our host, Christopher, gave us so much information, I can’t even do it justice. Should have stopped here first. Haa!
Together, with country-music superstar, John Rich, from Big & Rich… they created a whiskey called Redneck Riviera Whiskey. Mmmmmmm, it was goooood.
Melissa Heim, “the first female master distiller west of the Mississippi”, is Eastside’s VP of operations and master distiller.
So what did we do after we visited five tasting rooms? We had a beer at the newly opened Modern Times Bar. We had to do something while we waited for David to pick us up. Why not a beer? LOL
And then I took a 12 hour nap.
Except for these two photos that didn’t really fit anywhere in the story…