Holy hops and barley, Batman, that’s good beer! Six years ago, my now wife and I met two ladies in Puerto Vallarta. Two weddings, and too few visits later, we were shown to 2126 SW Halsey Street in Troutdale, OR. Think adult summer camp (with minors allowed) crossed with Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face and you have McMenamins Edgefield Brewery. The brewery opened in 1991 in the old cannery building of the former Multnomah County Poor Farm, and the site is going strong as a hotel, concert ground, movie theatre, and restaurant(s). This trip we stuck to beer (and live music), but they also vint their own wine, on site.
The aforementioned famous villain, is not brought up just for his costume, but his character as well. The cannery building was turned into a nursing home after WWII, and you can bet it’s haunted (I was a bit too scared to ask). The rooms where people used to live have been turned into rooms you can rent. Each room uses paintings to tell the story of someone who lived there, and there is a communal bathroom down the hall, but typically with a number of stalls that each have their own shower, toilet, and sink. There is a wacky-whimsical feel to all of the artwork, from wall murals, to elbows of the exposed pipes painted with faces. The theme runs throughout the entire place so that while you explore, you can’t help but smile, wondering what story you might come across, or where you might find another manically joyful face.
Now for the real reason you are reading this review – the beer! At Edgefield they brew right on site, and have a decent list of choices, with seasonal varieties available on rotation. This trip we were told to try the Ruby, and we were not disappointed. It is a raspberry ale that does not have an overly fruity taste. It is smooth, almost caramel in flavour, looks like a golden red ale, and goes really well with The Greatful Dead posters and paintings adorning the walls of the tiny bar we went to. Seriously, there are little bars around every corner of this location, and each one has a different theme to it. Next up, we sat down at one of the restaurants, this one being like an outdoor patio, with a stage on which were the Talbott Brothers, entertaining us. And let me tell you, they sure know how to play! While we ate our Cajun Tater Tots (a must have when you visit) and later a scrumptious burger, I tried their Terminator Stout. It is true to its name, after sipping on that dark brew “I’ll be back”. It’s so dark you cannot see daylight through it, and has a robust flavour that hints of coffee, but without the bitterness usually associated. It goes very well with spicy deep fried potato conglomerates.
The beer ranks in my top 10 now, and I recommend it to anyone travelling south of the border. A somehow more compelling reason to visit this location is the atmosphere of the adult summer camp. Oh, and they have a spa on site.