Pacific Northwest: Breweries

Brewery at Lake Tahoe

Simply, sigh. We chose this brewery because it was easy cycling distance from our campground. We tried all the beers available and were underwhelmed. The lone bright spot was the California Cream Ale – not overly sweet, nice aroma and flavor. The Alpine Amber was a good example of a specific style, but slightly heavier on the hops than we would have expected for an amber. The Wit had very little spice character and was rather bland. The food was decent, nothing to rave about.

Jack Russell Farm Brewery

Located in Camino, CA, this brewery is located in the Apple Hill region, which refers to the 55 ranches located around Camino. Originally known for pear orchards, blight forced ranchers to diversify in the mid 1960s and is become the largest concentration of apple growers in California. The area is home to Christmas tree growers, wineries, vineyards, and a spa. We weren’t prepared for this area to have so many activities and only planned enough time to visit the brewery. Despite its name Apple Hill has year round activities, so if you are going to be in the area check out this site to plan your trip!

Teri, Jess, and Alex and Jack Russell.

Back to Jack Russell! One of Jess’ master brewer classmates, Teri, works for Jack Russell, so we decided to stop in and visit. Since we didn’t do any research into the area, we were surprised to see all the people and activity surrounding the brewery (see previous paragraph). Since it was lunch time, we were especially happy to see the Hotdogger from Davis, CA! This was part of our Saturday farmer’s market routine – buy some fresh California veggies and fruit and chow down on a hot dog or Polish sausage for lunch before riding home. The Hotdogger was as good as we remembered.

The beers on tap at Jack Russell.
Where’s Alex?!

So beer! There were fifteen beers on the board and lockers for Alex to play in, so we ordered tasters of them all! (Note – the intent of the lockers was not for a toddler to play in them, but they were Alex sized and he found them greatly entertaining.) We enjoyed all fifteen beers. There wasn’t a bad one in the bunch, not even a meh beer by our tastes. The only beer where there was a minor difference of opinion was the Vanilla Stout. Jess wanted a smidge more roasted character to the beer, Dave enjoyed it as it was brewed. We left with a growlerette (32 oz) of the Vanilla Stout and enjoyed it with s’mores by a campfire. This was a truly minor quibble on Jess’ part over a well executed beer line up. Some other beers we found to be striking was the Pumpkin Spice Ale – it smelled like pumpkin pie fresh out of the oven, but the spice flavor was not overwhelming, just enough there to satisfy. We enjoyed the Tangerine (light and refreshing) and the Captain Boomer’s IPA (well balance malt and hop character, bitterness was not overwhelming). We left with growlerettes of the Tangerine and Captain Boomer’s IPA in addition to the Vanilla Stout. The only reason we did not leave with more was limited storage space in our fridge.

We were glad we took Abby down the hill from Lake Tahoe to visit Jack Russell. It was great to see Teri, even though the steady stream of customers made it hard to catch up. It is a fantastic brewery producing excellent beers. Located in a family friendly area, there are many activities to occupy one’s time. We wish we had planned properly, but look forward to a return trip.

Rogue Ales and Spirits

Have what it takes to be a rogue?

When we selected Newport, Oregon as a destination, it was not because of Rogue. It was a larger town that had a laundromat, an aquarium (which we did not take Alex to due to poor time management), and a state park with easy beach access (South Beach State Park). So we were excited that Google search results returned Brewer’s on the Bay – the restaurant within the Rouge brewery. It was just a 8 minute bike ride from the campground! The situation had the feel of a well executed plan!

Has Dave been making beard beer and not telling Jess?

We had to walk through part of the brewery to reach the restaurant; just a glimpse of the facility, but great to see. Upon reaching the restaurant (above the gift shop) we snagged a seat by the window that also had easy access to a power outlet so we could plug in Alex’s portable DVD player. Our taster consisted of Marionberry BraggotHazeluel ChoctaulousMocha PorterRogue Farms 4 Hop IPAChocolate StoutDead Guy Ale, and the Cherry Habenero Golden Imperial Ale. We discovered the marionberry is to Oregon as the huckleberry is to Montana. It is in everything and it is tasty (also as a sauce for their deconstructed cheese cake). We enjoyed every beer on the taster. The Cherry Habanero was intriguing with the sweet from the cherry being the first taste, followed by a heat of the habanero. Jess is a fan of heat more so than Dave, but the heat was too much for her to enjoy more than what was in the taster. We were pleasantly surprised by the 4 Hop IPA; we were more familiar with Rogue’s double chocolate stout, but found that the IPA was well balanced and very drinkable.

Inside Rogue
Inside Rogue