One thing you should know about Hood River, OR: It is one of the windiest places you will ever visit. How windy? Well, kite surfing is the sport of choice and you can watch kite surfers by the dozens on the Columbia River catching some serious air. A pretty little town, Hood River is very walkable. The turn of the century architecture is very well-preserved and there are shops, restaurants, and boutiques to fill your day.
From my darling, vintage hotel I walked about three blocks to Full Sail Brewery for lunch. A large, chic restaurant/bar room overlooks the river. Far from its micro-brew days Full Sail is now considered a Craft Brewery and its success is evident in their establishment. Free tours of the brewery are given daily and well worth the time. The food is great and the bar tenders are very knowledgeable about their products. First I tried the LTD03 pilsner-style lager. My favorite beer of the day, LTD03 was caramel in color and sweet. Crisp body with a vanilla wafer note, I could have easily enjoyed this beer for the rest of the day. Sail Ale was next. Hoppy, crisp and citrusy. Hoppy finish and lovely grapefruit aroma. Jimvar Pilsner also impressed. Well-balanced, crisp and sweet. Medium body with a hoppy finish.
Next stop of the day was to Double Mountain Brewery. Just a block or two from Full Sail Double Mountain has a different look and vibe. A bit more rustic decor, local art work and vintage breweriana decorated the walls. On tap was Devil’s Kriek, a lovely sour cherry kriek. Dark blood-red color, sour dark cherries throughout. Hard sour finish. Full bodied and definitely a sipper. Great beer! The Vaporizer was a nice, dry-hopped pale ale. Light hop aroma with a dry, crisp hop bite finish. I didn’t stay long at Double Mountain due to the “vibe.” It’s a very “hipster locals only” place. I got the feeling they knew I was and out-of-towner and treated me as such. Too bad, because I really like the beer at Double Mountain. I just couldn’t hang with the feeling of not being welcome. So, I did what anyone would do. I headed back to Big Horse Brew Pub.
The next day I was on my way to Bend, OR and witnessed some of the most beautiful country I have even seen. Mountains, trees, rivers, streams and the occasional deer made the road trip extremely enjoyable. During the drive I took a little detour to Government Camp, OR to the Ice Axe Grill & Mt. Hood Brewing Company for a little lunch and brews. Surrounded by huge trees lies what used to be a ski rental and gift shop. Mt. Hood Brewing has been brewing some tasty stuff from this location for over 20 years. The decor is a nod to the great outdoorsman history of the town. The pizza is to die for! The beer is not too shabby either. Highland Meadow Blonde is a sparkly little beer with a lot of flavor. Honey, flowers and caramel rule this beer and a light hop finish gives it just enough bite. Very pretty beer. Kristall Weizbier is a filtered wheat beer that is light golden in color. Very well-balanced it is crisp, sweet and finishes clean. Both beers were perfect for pizza. Ice Axe IPA is their signature beer. Very hoppy and yummy. Perfect for those looking for a little extra kick.
Back on the road and headed for Bend, OR. What adventures await me in Bend?