I’m finally there! All of the brewpubs I’ve ever been to are now uploaded and catalogued to 50 States of Brew. I say almost, because I’ve neglected visits within the past couple of months as well as a very select few I’ve been saving. So now it is time for the top ten list.
Full Sail Brewing Company
506 Columbia Street
Hood River, OR 97031
Visited on May 25, 2009
The thing that strikes me most reflecting back on my short visit or two to Full Sail Brewing is that, damn, I really liked that place. The gorgeous Columbia River Gorge (see what I did there?) provides the perfect back drop and a lovely drive to Hood River, about an hour outside of Portland. Despite being a small town, this place has three outstanding breweries, probably because of the tourist attractions of nearby Multnomah Falls and the river itself.
The pub is affixed directly to the brewery, so you can take tours. The restaurant section is large and beautifully decorated. It feels like a classy bar without being pretentious in the least. An outdoor deck option gives views of the river on nice days.
The beer is outstanding. The Full Sail IPA is one of my favorites in a bottle. The bar is nice because they have a long list of one-off brews and experimental recipes to choose from, including cask and high gravity options. The selection is amazing, as is the quality. As for the food, I remember being happy, though not thoroughly impressed.
I might have been trying to eat too healthily, though.
Located on the tourist town of Hood River on the banks of the Columbia River Gorge, Full Sail is everything you’d expect from a successful micro franchise. A large, upscale, tastefully decorated and not overdone restaurant accompanies the main brewing facilities. The restaurant also features a patio/balcony with views of the Gorge. There’s nothing not to like about this location.
The menu is not very extensive or creative, but everything is prepared fresh from local ingredients and served with wonderful care and presentation. I went with the barbecued ribs. And though they were slightly undercooked (they did not separate easily enough), the barbeque sauce used was fantastic. It featured chunks of peppers and onions, which I love in a barbeque sauce. Also accompanying the dish was a mustard-based potato salad that was decent and a fantastic coleslaw that had to have had some sort of apples in it. For dessert, a stout brownie with a lump of vanilla ice cream is the only option, but it’s a good one. Not the best I’ve had, but well worth the calories every time.
The brewpub features a wide selection of commonly available brews to pub specials. All in all there were about 12 to choose from. The Pale, IPA, Session and LTD 03 are all delicious out of the bottle, and I’m sure they’re great out of the tap as well. And while the sampler typically comes with these on them, the server was gracious enough to sub out the brews I’ve already had at home with the Brewmaster Reserves. Grandsun of Spot IPA and Keelhauler Scottish were my personal favorites.
Wonderful service. Great food advice, and she took the time to make the substitutions on the sampler and write down with a sharpie what each one was. Very nice of her on a very busy afternoon.