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Columbia River Gorge – Part 2 (Walking Man and Double Mountain)

June 8, 2010

Checkout Part 1 if you missed it, or else.

Our plan for the third day of our Memorial Weekend Good Beer Trip to the Columbia River Gorge was to go to Walking Man Brewery in Stevenson, Washington. That morning, we got a surprise as we found out that my Aunt (Jules) and Uncle (The Dancer) from Portland would meet us there. The only problem was what to do until 3:00 when they opened? It was a nasty, rainy morning, so we weren’t to excited about going on any serious hike or anything. Remembering my childhood trips to the Gorge, and a failed attempt to summit Beacon Rock, I decided this would be the challenge for the day.

After a quick breakfast we were soon on the road, heading west on SR-14. We drove through Stevenson, breezed past the town of North Bonneville, and made it to the road side parking lot for the trail that leads to the top of Beacon Rock (30 miles West of White Salmon). With the rock looming over the parking lot, and a Turkey Vulture circling above, I was wondering if this was a good idea, but I wasn’t about to turn back now. Named by Lewis and Clark in 1805, Beacon Rock stands on the shores of the Columbia River at a height of 848 feet. In 1918, a three-quarter mile trail was created that leads visitors to the top. The trail is partially paved and has many switchbacks, bridges, and handrails as it winds it way to the top. You gain a a bit of elevation fairly quickly, so it is a bit strenuous if your not in shape. The breathtaking views at the top were well worth the effort.

Beacon Rock

Bonnevile Dam from the top of Beacon Rock

When we rolled back into Stevenson, we still had about two hours to kill before Walking Man opened. We thought this would be how much time we would need to check out the town. Well, we could have done it in a third of the time. Don’t get me wrong, the town had lots of charm, a small town Americana, all dressed out for the holiday with American flags lining the street. If you’re hungry, you’re in luck as food establishments far outnumber retail shops. Since we were going to eat at Walking Man we walked around and went to the handful of interesting shops and ended up at a small Coffee Shop for a caffeine and sugar fix. They were fairly busy, okay six orders, and the baristas were a bit stressed, as though this was not a normal rush. We relaxed a bit, and then pondered what to do with our next hour or so. Stevenson’s riverfront trail helped us kill a bit of the time, but we ended up jumping back in the car and driving around, and around. Waiting is the hardest part.

Walking Man Brewery

Walking Man Brewing Co. – Stevenson, Washington

Finally, at 2:57 we entered Walking Man. There were already a fair number of people already inside, and with in 20 minutes it was packed. Apparently we weren’t the only ones waiting. We arrived before Jules and the Dancer so we grabbed a booth. Surprise, shortly after arriving Shaqfeasel and his family walked in. I was starting to think they were following us. Not sure when the rest of our party would show-up, we went ahead and ordered a sampler tray and a pizza (since we were starving by now).

This was LushC’s first visit to Walking Man, and my second. The pub is located on the ground floor of an old building. It has a great British pub feel, with fantastic attention to detail. There are several booths, a few long tables to share, several bar seats, and a patio outside. It is very comfortable, and I could really see myself hanging out there a lot.

The menu looks simple, but as they put it, the food is stellar. The focus is on salads, gourmet pizzas, and enticing appetizers. I can only speak for the Black Pesto Pizza which was superb.

Our sampler came and we started right in. After our third or fourth taster my Jules and The Dancer arrived. Jules helped us finish the sampler, and The Dancer e went straight for a pint of the IPA. Upon completion of the sampler, Jules ordered up a full pint of the Ramblin’ Raspberry, LuschC a water (what a safe driver) and I an IPA. We all enjoyed our beers while catching back up, and planning for their upcoming visit to Seattle. It was a great afternoon as we always enjoy their company. Regretfully, the fun had to end, and we each headed off in our separate directions.

BEER SAMPLER
Pale Strider – Nice well balanced citrusy hopped pale ale.
Light Foot Lager – Okay, but not as smooth as I like my Lagers. I prefer the German malts as opposed to the Northwest malts in my German Style beers.
Ramblin’ Raspberry – Very pleasant wheat ale with definite raspberry flavor. A good choice on a hot summer day or for those non-beer drinkers.
Crosswalk Wheat – smooth summer wheat ale, with hints of orange and coriander.
Walking Man India Pale Ale – A Northwest IPA classic, malty up front with a piney and citrus hop finish.
Knuckle Dragger (Strong Pale Ale) – Smooth, well balanced malt and pine hop flavor.
Homo Erectus Imperial IPA – Sweet, malty, piney and citrus hop goodness.
’09 Old Stumblefoot (Barleywine) – Very smooth, sweet, and flavorful. The finish has slight mead like taste. Another dangerous beer at 11% ABV.
’10 Old Stumblefoot (Barleywine) – More hop presence than the ’09 and not as sweet, with a hint of oak. Very smooth, but strong.
Walking Stick Oatmeal Stout – Smooth, Sweet, roasted malt and chocolaty. Oh so delicious!

LushC and I were a bit tired when we got back to the Blue Sky Cottage. It was finally sunny, and Mt Hood was out, clearly visible from our deck. Instead of going out, we just sat out, cracked opened the growler of Starfish, and soaked up the rays. We ended up staying in the rest of the evening.

Looking at the weather forecasts before heading down, it looked like Sunday (day 4) was going to be the best chance for good weather, and to get out and do some hiking. When we awoke, it was overcast, not the sunny day I was hoping for, but it wasn’t raining so I couldn’t complain. The decision was made to do the same hike to Tom McCall Point that we made last year.

I bite - by LushC (2010)

The hike begins at the Rowena Overlook which is less than 15 miles east of Hood River. This is the beginning of the Oregon high desert so you can expect warmer/dryer weather. The sign at the trail head warns of Rattlesnakes and Poison Oak, we saw both. (Yes, we saw a Rattlesnake, cold, coiled up, and at a fairly safe distance.) It’s a moderate 3.4 mile hike that climbs 1000ft to Tom McCall Point. On a clear day you are rewarded at the top with a panoramic view from Mt Hood to the South, Hood River to the West, Mt Adams to the North, and The Dalles to the East. On this day, neither mountain was visible, but the hike was still well worth it.

Mt Hood is in there, I think

On completion of the hike we were famished and parched, and a trip to Full Sail was in order. After lunch at and a couple of pints of Vendell Veizen we did a little more shopping in Hood River, and then moseyed on to Double Mountain to finish out the afternoon.

Double Mountain Brewery – Hood River, Oregon

A nice pair of Double Mountains - by LushC (2010)

Double Mountain was packed, both inside and out, the only seat we could find was on the very low sitting sofa. Of the three brewpubs in Hood River, they definitely attract the younger, more active, and liberal crowd. Wind Surfers, Kit Boarder, Mountain Bikers, Hikers, and who knows what else were all in attendance. (There were also some Mt Bike events going on in the street outside) They are in what looks to be an old garage, pretty much across the street for Full Sail. I really like their atmosphere, and the vibe they have. Unfortunately, on this visit, I just wasn’t feeling it and wish we had gone there on day two instead.

We had already eaten, so we didn’t order any food. Their Menu consists of pizza and sandwiches, all of which looked awesome on the tables around us. I remember really enjoying the pizza we had last year too.

I did belly up to the bar, and after finally getting someone’s attention picked out a couple beers for us. For LushC it was the Black Irish and for me it was the Vaporizer. I followed my Vaporizer up with a Hop Lava, which I really liked, but LushC thought was too bitter. At this point neither of us was really feeling it; we were both tired, and were ready to go. We will definitely be back though.

BEER SAMPLER
Vaporizer (dry-hopped pale ale) -Very well balanced and smooth, with a sweet citrusy dry hop finishBlack Irish (Irish Stout on Nitro) – Darker more roasted malt flavor than Guinness. Very good and drinkable. A little earthy for LushC’s taste.
Hop Lava (IPA) – sweet malty with a smooth hop finish, very well balanced beer.

We returned back to White Salmon (after a coffee break),and while walking Malti I began to feel a scratch in my throat. It became all too apparent why I did not love Double Mountain like I should. I was sick.

The trip back was miserable for myself, and not that much fun for LushC either. It was down pouring, traffic sucked, and I was a horrible passenger that struggled to stay awake. We did make a brief stop at McMenamin’s Olympic Club in Centralia for lunch and Birthday Terminator Stout. Yeah, I spent my birthday sick; it just means next year’s trip will have to be that much better.

Cheers,

Draught(sick)E

FTC INFO: Everything in this post was purchased.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 17, 2010 3:19 pm

    That is a good beer trip from Seattle. The shot of the Double Mountain pints is great.

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