All posts by steve

Hip Chicks Do Wine (and Yoga)

Why has the rent and property costs in Portland gotten so bloody high?  Well, since I moved to the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood in SE Portland about six years ago, many tasty places have popped up.  My place lies equidistant between Hopworks Brewing and Gigantic Brewing.  Recently not one, not two, but three new breweries have popped up: Baerlic Brewing Company, Ross Island Brewing and Ground Breaker Brewing and Gastropub.  All a short bike ride away.

And there’s also Teutonic Wine Company around the corner and the oldest winery in the city of Portland: Hip Chicks Do Wine.  Yeah, Portland’s got a lot of what people like.

But we’re not here to talk about that, we’re here to talk about yoga:

yoga sign

That’s right.  Yoga and wine tasting.  Submitted for your amusement:


They squeezed 27 of us into the winery and ran us through an hour of gentle yoga poses, then a round of tasting their wines.  An innovative event, we like that!


Keep up the good work, Hip Chicks!

Heater Allen

The stars finally aligned and we able to darken the towels at Heater Allen Brewing in McMinville.

The crowd pleasing brews today: Yeti Topper and Schwartzbier. Yes, the Yeti Topper is a takeoff on the Heady Topper from Alchemist in Vermont. My friends and relations who’ve spent time in Vermont treasure this above all other beers.  I’m not trying to cause a fight with them.  I have not lived through a Vermont winter, so what do I know?  What I *do* know is the Yeti Topper is yummy.  Go have one!

Heater Allen

Here’s brewer Lisa Allen allowing us to handle her prized Octoberfest mugs and generally act silly for the camera.  It’s a family affair there.  The name comes from Lisa’s mom’s maiden name + Lisa’s dad’s maiden name.  Clever!

Good beer and a friendly informal vibe in their tasting room.  Be sure to stop by if you’re in McMinville!

Now, the real reason why we were out there:

wine barrel

That’s right.  Joyce bought a wine barrel from the good people at Remy Wines, right next door to Heater Allen.

Sadly, the wine was not included.

Brunch at Beast


Beast.  It’s a place to eat in Portland, OR.  Three seconds on them intarwubs you’ve heard so much about will tell you more than I could possibly share.  We just did their brunch.  Anything good you’ve read about them, seems likely to be true.


I am now spoiled.  Breakfast will never be the same again.  Yeah, their brunch will hit the spot.


No, we won’t torment you with too much food p0rn.  Just imagine what you had for breakfast today, only it was basically perfect, and you didn’t have to do any of the work.  And yes, apparently we are they only people in Portland over the age of 30 who were able to afford to eat breakfast here.

There are words on this menu I hadn’t seen before in the wild.

Basically, the place is pretty much perfect.  If I could improve on two things that would be:

  1. Portland Loud Restaurant Syndrome.  I don’t spend enough time dining out in other cities to know if this disease has spread beyond our fine city, but why can’t we carry on conversation without having to lean in close to hear what each other is saying?
  2. This might be splitting the hairs too fine, but the perfect brunch is not just about great company and delicious food, but also a luxurious experience, which includes a luxurious use of time.  Don’t get me wrong – the team there did a lovely job and I’m looking forward to a future visit.  It’s hard to find something for them to improve on, but my request would be to work on the perception of the luxurious use of time.  There’s a bit of a feeling of being on a schedule.  The music and noise is a touch frantic… perhaps?

Maryhill Wine Pickup

So, kittens.  The Maryhill wine club pickup had turned into a circus.  Jam-packed with people and really not as much fun as it oughter be.  In fact, if you’re like me (and I know I am) you’d think twice about jamming yourself through that grinder again to pick up wine.

The smart people at Maryhill have clearly picked up on the issue and they’ve made some changes.  As of this last pickup club members pick a time and get a short tour of the winery, including snacks (we love snacks) and a barrel tasting.

A bit chilly out, but the Gorge and Joyce are both still quite lovely:


Remember kids, if you’re thinking of crawling in here, ask your parents first.

The lab, mysterious substances waiting…

Here’s some secret winery stuff.  They are equating the sections of the cellar to positions on a pirate ship.  No, I did not ask why.

Joyce shows us some moves.

…and here we are!

Running the Sherry Obstacle Course

Found this here on the walled garden of Instagram:

This weekend we ran the Sherry Obstacle Course at Pix Patisserie.

Sherry is an unusual wine product.  It comes from one particular grape thats only grown in one particular region of Spain.  Why is it unusual – the same grape is used to produce a wide variety of end products, from what we’d think of as a very light white wine to dark desert wine.

I’ve had the fortunate to spend some time in Sherry country, and I’ll tell you this much: it’s a good product and you’ll come to like it in about two seconds flat.


Mike and Jen showing us how to have fun.



And here was our reward: snax!


Instead of doing something practical, like having a tap at the bottom of the barrels to tap the sherry for tasting, Sherry makers follow the traditional method of sampling through the top of the keg.  Example:


It’s a bit tricky to pour into a tiny glass…


Seems like a overcomplicated way to do it, though it definitely shows off your skills.


They encouraged us to participate in their social networking thingie.  So here it is:

Betsy Rose and Sokol Blosser

Hey kids, this is the way it goes.  Half the fun is going to these places is that they are often beautiful and a joy to experience.  Sure they sell stuff that’s often quite nice as well, but if it was just about the product, we could save the time and gas and walk two blocks to the store.

Our final visit this trip was Sokol Blosser.  I still love the name.  I don’t know what it means, but it sounds like some kind of sumo-wrestler Norwegian death-metal band.  “SOKOL BLOSSER!!!! OOOOOOOAAAOAOAOAOHDOFAHOFHOAOAOAOAOAOAOA!!!!!”

Here’s the deal with Sokol Blosser.  They’re all Pinot.  Joyce and I find pinot to be somewhat bland, on the whole.  Other people enjoy them, but to me the Sokol Blosser  $15 general red is a better deal than their entry-level $70 pinot bottle.

Their new tasting building – gorgeous, except it’s so new it actually stinks of pine wood.  This is where we should have some science about how scent affects taste, you’ll just have to google that on your own time.    Let me tell you this – the view up there is awesome.  Joe-Bob says, “Check it out!”

soko-2 soko-1

How did we get here anyway?

betsy rose

Here we are pulling into The Vintages “RV Resort” with Betsy Rose, our 1961 Shasta Airflyte reissue camper.  She’s brand-new, built in 2015 but 95% true to the 1961 design.  The Vintages is fun because they have a whole selection of vintage trailers to rent.  Quite fun!


Four Graces

The Four Graces?
We were directed to The Four Graces as a good place for a picnic.  It’s unclear which Graces they are referring to, perhaps these?  In any case, we picked a poor time to arrive, hot and hungry just as the place was overrun and packed to the gills by someone’s bachelorette party.  About 500 women yammering away at each other loud enough to drown out a Disaster Area concert.

Having been spoiled by being virtually the only visitors at wineries for the last so many visits, we almost fled for safety immediately BUT some kind person had given us secret cards good for free wine.  Being smart shoppers we of course, were staying.

four graces winery

That was a poor way to start the visit, but I have to hand it to the staff for being troopers.  They herded the hens outside, kept their cool and didn’t seem to break a sweat.  So, good work, team!


This is how we roll.  With picnic supplies.  GUH!


Ok, this place is another Pinot Noir winery, so their wines didn’t make an impression on us, but we know how to have fun either way!

Remy Wines

Saturday we stopped in Remy Wines in McMinnville.

remy3Ah, the breadsticks…




We have a terrible secret to share.  We’re just not that into Pinot Noir style wines.  There’s nothing wrong with them, we just prefer beefier flavors.  The Willamette Valley is all about the pinot and some of the places out here are getting snooty and expensive.  That’s no fun!

Joyce picked Remy because they make a more standard array of red wines and not six variations on pinot noir.  She liked their wines so much she joined the club!  (Joining the wine club means she has to go out there and visit the quilt store.)

The tasting room is also a comfy place to hang out.  Thumbs up!


Remy gets my award of Excellence in Artistic Use of Pallets

remy5 I also like their labels.