What’s Driving All the Growth in Portland?

I’ve been out of town for a while. Now that I’m back, I see change everywhere. New light rail and construction all over. What gives? Is the economy better? Is everyone moving here because of Portlandia?

—Local Yokel

I feel you, Local. You go away for five years (actually, with good behavior it was 3½) and when you get back, the old crack house is crack condos, the methadone clinic has a Tumblr, and Comic Sans isn’t cool anymore. Just the other day I bought half a cantaloupe at Whole Foods (think about it). Has the world gone mad?

If by “gone mad” you mean “exploded in an orgy of multifamily residential development,” the answer is yes. One need only walk down Southeast Division Street to sample the dense agglomeration of high-rise luxury bukkake this real-estate bacchanal has left in its wake.

Related: Division Street Gentrification Seen Through Google Street View

What did we do to deserve this? Follow the money, chump. You may be gobsmacked to learn—I was—that the average condo price in Portland has risen by 41 percent in the past year. As ECONorthwest’s Bob Whelan notes, “This is a very profitable time to be in the apartment business.”

Related: What’s the Deal with Portland’s Rising Rents?

Returns like these tend not to be overlooked by Wall Street, and much of the activity in this sector has been driven by “real-estate investment trusts,” which are basically big, amorphous piles of self-replicating capital that try to do with real estate what the now-well-known vampire squids of finance did for banking.

Related: The Atlantic Says Portland’s Gentrification Is Your Fault

Some of the boom can be explained by pent-up demand left over from the recession, but it’s also true that 100,000 new residents moved here in the last year. (To be fair, some folks also moved away.)

What’s the attraction? Could it really be Portlandia? That’d be like finding out Hogan’s Heroes caused a million people to move to Germany, but I suppose anything’s possible.

QUESTIONS? Send them to dr.know@wweek.com

17 Portland-Area Distilleries

Big Bottom Whiskey

21420 NW Nicholas Court, Suites D-8 and D-9, Hillsboro, 608-7816, bigbottomwhiskey.com.

They don’t get much foot traffic at Big Bottom, which sits in an industrial park just west of the Tanasbourne big-box shopping village. Other than a few curious people who wander in after tipping brews next door at Vertigo Brewing, anyone who shows up at the tasting room, which is shared with Tualatin Valley Distilling, wants to try Ted Pappas’ expanding line of bourbons, which are finished in a variety of casks, from port to zinfandel. Pappas, president of the Oregon Distillers Guild, began his company in 2010 by aging and blending whiskeys from other producers, but began distilling his own spirits back in September, with plans to replace Big Bottom with a label called Barlow Trail and to add his own rum, brandy and gin. At least for now, the distiller’s plan is to produce a rye in two years. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Tastings & Tours: Tastings are free noon-4 pm Saturday, or by appointment, in the tasting room they share with Tualatin Valley Distilling.

Drink this: Port cask-finished American whiskey ($38).

Bull Run Distilling Co.

2259 NW Quimby St., 224-3483, bullrundistillery.com.

Lee Medoff and Patrick Bernards’ 4-year-old Bull Run distillery has a 6-year-old whiskey. This is mildly mysterious until you realize that Bull Run was in the works long before they opened their doors. The first batches of whiskey were distilled back East, according to their recipe; the first house-distilled batch will be ready in two years. Both the straight bourbon and American Temperance Trader whiskeys sweetly carry hints of vanilla and toffee, though the 110-proof barrel-strength will set you down on your ass. Meanwhile, their winter seasonal chinato barrel-finished whiskey is interestingly herbal, and comparatively gentle. But though whiskey is often the holy grail of craft distillers—in part because Americans drink so much of it—Bull Run’s signal achievements are really the rum and the vodka. The vodka is lightly distilled in the Eastern European style, with less coconut than most American vodkas; one tastes instead a sort of rocky, grainy character amid the sweetness. Meanwhile, the rum is a marvel, a complexly malty white that’s just a bit gold from the four weeks it spends in bourbon barrels. Aria Gin—Portland’s best traditional London-dry—is also made here, although it will soon move around the corner to 2304 NW Savier St. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Tastings & Tours: From noon-6 pm Wednesday-Sunday, $5 nets a full tasting of the distillery’s spirits. Tours on request.

Drink this: Pacific rum ($25).

Bull Run Distilling Co. (Thomas Teal)
Bull Run Distilling Co. (Thomas Teal)

Clear Creek Distillery

2389 NW Wilson St., 248-9470, clearcreekdistillery.com.

Steve McCarthy is the resident elder among Portland’s craft distillers. He founded Clear Creek in 1985, at first focusing on brandy made from Bartlett pears grown on the family’s orchard in the Hood River Valley. That brandy is as aromatic, intense and three-dimensional as ever. McCarthy is evangelistic about the proper way to drink his products (namely, never ever mixed in cocktails). In the past 30 years, his offerings have swelled to include a half-dozen other fruit brandies, several grappas, some lip-smackingly fruity liqueurs (the cranberry is like liquefied Thanksgiving), oak-aged brandy and a very peaty three year, single-malt whiskey made with barley from Scotland. Hood River Distillers bought Clear Creek earlier this year, but McCarthy has stayed on as adviser, and others at Clear Creek assure us little will change. Tastings take place in the distillery’s low-slung warehouse in industrial Northwest Portland, a brightly lit, no-frills space somehow evocative of a classroom, were it not for the bottles of alcohol lining the shelves. Friendly employees pour samples and speak in lofty terms about the liquor: Of the grappas, we were told the pinot grigio was like wet grass; the sangiovese like a wet cemetery; and the nebbiolo like a hay barn, sans fecal material. And they mandate that you save the Douglas fir eau de vie for last—its woodsy, herbal notes linger for a long while, like very pleasant mouthwash. Indeed, we left the distillery with a directive generally heard only at the dentist: “Don’t put anything else in your mouth for 30 minutes!” REBECCA JACOBSON.

Tastings & Tours: $5 for five samples. Tasting room open 10 am-6 pm Monday-Saturday; closed 1-2 pm on weekdays. No public tours of the distillery.

Drink this: If you’ve never tried it, the pear brandy ($28 for 375 ml). Otherwise, the mirabelle brandy ($30 for 375 ml), a peppery and potent eau de vie made from yellow plums.

Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Distillery

4045 NW Cornelius Pass Road, Hillsboro, 640-6174, mcmenamins.com.

There are a few tricks to distilling in century-old copper. When McMenamins installed an old French cognac still in the oldest agricultural building in Washington County on the wooded grounds of this former farmstead, they knew they needed some help running it. So they hired a consultant: Hubert, a 70-something French immigrant who apprenticed in cognac and who taught distiller Bart Hance tricks like using wax, twine and an old soup can in place of a thermometer. When the pipes are heated to the right temperature for the next step in the process, the wax melts and the can drops to the floor. The still—which was installed using bricks reclaimed from the Kennedy School boiler room and now has clean, predictable natural gas instead of an open wood flame—mostly produces wheat whiskey and brandy, though there are also barrels of rum in the old warehouse and a new hazelnut liqueur due on shelves this month. The Billy whiskey, a sweet wheat drop that pays homage to the distillery house’s former life as a wheat storehouse, is Hance’s personal favorite. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Tastings & Tours: Just call and ask; they’ll let you know when the distiller is available to chat. Tastes are available for $2 at many McMenamins locations.

Drink this:Billy, a young, sweet wheat whiskey ($35).

Cournelius Pass Roadhouse (Daniel Cole)
Cournelius Pass Roadhouse (Daniel Cole)

Dogwood Distilling

1835 19th Ave., Forest Grove, 359-7705, dogwooddistilling.com.

Not many distilleries would brag about producing the well vodka at several notable Portland restaurants, but Dogwood has carved out a niche with its DL Franklin Vodka ($15.95). The 100 percent corn vodka is made with local ingredients, and there’s a good chance you’ve already tasted this “just-below-midshelf” spirit at Kachka, Old Salt, Imperial or Ox. Distiller Matt Hottenroth and co-owner Jasin Hope founded Dogwood with an eye toward making straightforward, reliable midshelf liquor at a price reasonable enough that bars could stock it as a well. Hottenroth sums up the distillery’s ethos while describing its Union Gin on the website: “I wanted the alcohol that sat behind my grandpa’s bar, that could make a martini, a gin and tonic, or a gin rickey perfectly. It’s a same-every-batch kind of product; you know exactly what you’re getting.” No frills, nothing too artisanal, just some liquor you can rely on. JOHN LOCANTHI.

Tastings & Tours: There is no official tasting room per se but Hottenroth and Hope are “always willing to show off our solace.”

Drink this: Added to the lineup in 2012, Union Gin ($22) is a smooth, clean gin that will feel at home with any classic cocktail.

Eastside Distilling

1512 SE 7th Ave., 926-7060, eastsidedistilling.com.

Controversy surrounds Eastside Distilling’s flagship product. Though it’s called Burnside Bourbon, no one’s quite sure where the four-year, barrel-aged whiskey actually originates. When pressed by local media a few years back, owner Lenny Gotter deflected, and when asked at a recent tasting how much distilling the 5-year-old company does itself, the congenial server replied, “All of it.” Gotter wrote us that the company blends its whiskey from multiple sources, and the imbiber will likely be satisfied to find a solid, spicy 96-proof bourbon. Besides, there are a dozen other distinctive liquors where that came from, wherever that happens to be. Tiered tastings are available at Eastside’s gift-shoplike headquarters along Distillery Row. Skip the holiday liqueurs and go for the premium tasting, which includes the bourbon and its Oregon Oaked cousin, which spends 60 extra days in a charred oak barrel, bringing out slight hints of maple. (According to our server, the hefty price tag—almost double that of the regular bourbon—is due to the rarity of charred Oregon oak barrels.) Other Eastside staples include the Portland Potato Vodka, made from actual spuds instead of grains, and a series of spiced rums, highlighted by the summery ginger variety. Its most unique offerings are the fruit-infused whiskeys, one with marionberry and another with cherry, which look a little like NyQuil but make for a tasty post-meal pseudo-digestif. MATTHEW SINGER.

Tastings & Tours: Noon-8 pm Sunday-Thursday, noon-10 pm Friday-Saturday. $5-$10 for six to nine samples. Weekend tours by appointment. Note that Eastside is in the process of moving to their new, expanded location at 1805 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Both locations are now open.

Drink this: The Below Deck Ginger Rum ($20), which is mild and citrusy enough to mix with soda and cider alike.

Edgefield Distillery

2126 SW Halsey St., Troutdale, 800-669-8610, mcmenamins.com.

Situated between Troutdale’s outlet malls and the proposed Wood Village casino site, Edgefield is the oldest of McMenamins’ two distilleries. In a recent side-by-side tasting of whiskeys, the Edgefield distiller betrayed a little bit of friendly rivalry, touting the greater complexity of the four-year Hogshead over that of the younger Billy from McMenamins’ Cornelius Pass. But while whiskey accounts for 95 percent of sales these days, the little distillery in the dry storage shed of an old poor farm began 16 years ago by making brandy distilled from Edgefield’s own wine. The 11-year pot-still brandy is lovely, smooth, rich and complex—an oaky and floral mixture every bit as regionally determined as a French Armagnac or cognac. The Alambic 13 was made for them on an old-timey alembic still, then aged 13 years, and it’s a revelation in vanilla. Just avoid the cloying Aval Pota, which blends cinnamon-infused White Owl whiskey with apple juice. If you want spice and sweetness, get instead the Three Rocks Rum, which stands out for its chocolate sweetness. The bar next to the wee distillery is cozy and smells thickly of a wood-burning stove, usually full of resort denizens just off of the Pub Course links. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Tastings & Tours: Whiskey flights are $15 and brandy flights are $14 at the distillery bar, open every day, or individual tasters can be had for $2 apiece. Tours are held at 2 pm daily, with an additional 4 pm tour on weekends.

Drink this: Get that transcendent Alambic 13-year brandy ($37) while it lasts.

Edgefield Distillery (Daniel Cole)
Edgefield Distillery (Daniel Cole)

Edgefield Distillery

2126 SW Halsey St., Troutdale, 800-669-8610, mcmenamins.com.

Situated between Troutdale’s outlet malls and the proposed Wood Village casino site, Edgefield is the oldest of McMenamins’ two distilleries. In a recent side-by-side tasting of whiskeys, the Edgefield distiller betrayed a little bit of friendly rivalry, touting the greater complexity of the four-year Hogshead over that of the younger Billy from McMenamins’ Cornelius Pass. But while whiskey accounts for 95 percent of sales these days, the little distillery in the dry storage shed of an old poor farm began 16 years ago by making brandy distilled from Edgefield’s own wine. The 11-year pot-still brandy is lovely, smooth, rich and complex—an oaky and floral mixture every bit as regionally determined as a French Armagnac or cognac. The Alambic 13 was made for them on an old-timey alembic still, then aged 13 years, and it’s a revelation in vanilla. Just avoid the cloying Aval Pota, which blends cinnamon-infused White Owl whiskey with apple juice. If you want spice and sweetness, get instead the Three Rocks Rum, which stands out for its chocolate sweetness. The bar next to the wee distillery is cozy and smells thickly of a wood-burning stove, usually full of resort denizens just off of the Pub Course links. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Tastings & Tours: Whiskey flights are $15 and brandy flights are $14 at the distillery bar, open every day, or individual tasters can be had for $2 apiece. Tours are held at 2 pm daily, with an additional 4 pm tour on weekends.

Drink this: Get that transcendent Alambic 13-year brandy ($37) while it lasts.

Flooded Fox Den Distillery

2331 23rd Ave., Suite 103, Forest Grove, 308-9050, floodedfoxden.com.

Named for a Sisyphean fox that always returned to its frequently flooded den in the drainage system of distiller Scot Lester’s first house in Portland, Flooded Fox Den Distillery is one of the newest additions to the Portland gin scene. “In fact,” says Lester, who had just sent off his first batch of Dancing Dog Gin to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission a few hours before I
arrived at the distillery, “I would say it is the newest gin in the state.” An engineer at Intel by day, Lester has been making booze as a hobby since his days as a penniless college student. Now he’s gone pro. Dancing Dog is the only offering so far, but he expects his light rum to be available by January and a vodka made from store-bought grain alcohol to be on shelves by March. Lester also picked up two barrels with an eye toward aging a dark rum. You won’t find Dancing Dog Gin on the shelves just yet, but it’s available to order through your local liquor store. JOHN LOCANTHI.

Tastings & Tours: There isn’t a tasting room yet, just a room in a warehouse with the still, the barrels and the colorful Southwestern decorations that messed up the feng shui of the Texas transplant’s house.

Drink this: Dancing Dog Gin ($29) is a delightfully floral midshelf dry gin.

House Spirits

2025 SE 7th Ave.,235-3174, housespirits.com.

Christian Krogstad’s House Spirits is a titan among Portland craft spirits—made famous by the lavender-forward Aviation Gin’s wild nationwide success in establishing American dry gins as a style—but their tasting room has always been a remarkably humble affair. The cozy faux apothecary has a little bar where $5 will get you a tour through the familiar gin, along with their cleanly coconutty Volstead vodka, a smooth two-year Irish-American-style Westward whiskey, a cocktail-ready Krogstad Festlig Aquavit, and an aged sipping aquavit called Krogstad Gamle. Right now, you can get a Stumptown coffee liqueur—Krogstad and Stumptown founder Duane Sorenson used to be neighbors—a crisply sweet rum whose alcohol spike is nearly hidden by cold-brew coffee. But the tasting room won’t stay humble for long—nor will the distillery. After a partial buyout by an investment group that included Joe Montana, House Spirits is now investing in nationwide distribution and a massive 14,000-square-foot brewery and tasting room at 68 SE Stark St., which was originally scheduled to open this November. It’ll be the largest distillery in Portland—that is, unless Eastside opens its planned, even-larger Salmon Street distillery first. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Tastings & Tours: Tasting room open noon-5 pm Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; noon-6 pm Friday-Saturday. $5 will get you the full tour de liquor, and free tours are offered at 1 and 3 pm Saturday.

Drink this: Even if the other spirits are familiar, stop in at the distillery to try their limited edition Stillhouse series, whether a coffee liqueur, a small-batch rum or a white dog whiskey.

Indio Spirits

7272 SW Durham Road, Suite 100, Tigard, 620-0313, indiospirits.com.

Distilling’s “the easy part,” says Indio’s Mark White. The real art of it comes in after that: aging programs, blends, infusions and the like. Indio began as a distillery more than 10 years ago, but these days the focus is on their blends and infusions—and they’ve got two you’ll have a hard time finding anywhere else. Their curaçao is made from Barbados rum, infused with blood oranges. It burns sweet and smells incredible. They’ve just released a hop liqueur, Hopka (get it?), which smells like a strong IPA and has a pungent taste. Fruit is added after distillation for maximum flavor, which might explain why their marionberry vodka tastes like actual marionberries and not like the cloying, nightmare booze sorority parties are made of. But Indio’s not some one-trick infusion pony. They cleaned up at this year’s distillers fest in Portland, winning double gold—the highest honor—for their Barrel Room Rum, a mixture of 4-, 5- and 8-year-old rums, a pleasant combination of dry and sweet. Located in an office park just south of Bridgeport Village, near the Tigard-Lake Oswego city limits, Indio’s tasting room is likely to remind some eastsiders too much of their suburban upbringings to make the trip out. But that just means more space at the bar for you. JAMES HELMSWORTH.

Tastings & Tours: Tastings at 2 pm Friday-Saturday, 12-4 pm Sunday. Tours available by request.

Drink this: Snake River Stampede whiskey ($25), a blend of 4- and 8-year-old Albertan whiskeys, mixed with Bull Run water and aged in sherry barrels. It’s smooth, creamy and just a little bit sweet, perfect for drinking straight.

Industrial Row Distillery 645 N Tillamook St., 893-4730, irdistillery.com.

All alone in the industrial district near Swan Island, Nelson D’Amour makes a creamy, unfiltered vodka of absolutely meticulous purity. The purity’s important, because he eschews filtration to bring across the flavor of the Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat and rye grains he brews himself. He likes to have control of the whole process, he says, so he can fine-tune the whole process of vodka creation rather than work with a brewery. The result, Dystopia Vodka, is one of the most distinctive in town, creamy and rich and nothing like vodkas that stake their claim on disappearing into cocktails. Still, it all takes time, and because he has a demanding day job as an engineer at Intel, he came up with an ingenious solution to monitor the distilling process from afar: He hooked up the copper still with a homemade setup of wires, gauges and gadgets that allow him to assess and modify the distilling process from his home computer, with a software program he also made himself. He plans to make both rum and gin, but says he’d have to get another still for gin. He doesn’t want those gin botanicals messing with the vodka. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Tastings & Tours: The tasting room is slated to open by the end of November, 1-5 pm Saturdays.

Drink this: Dystopia Vodka ($31).

New Deal Distillery
900 SE Salmon St., 234-2513, newdealdistillery.com.

New Deal was founded the same year as House Spirits (2004), in the same neighborhood, and grew just as large in the minds of Portlanders. But distiller Tom Burkleaux’s approach to gin couldn’t be more different from House Spirits’ botanical-floral route. New Deal takes an almost puritanical tack, teasing out complex flavors from only juniper, in their two flagship gins: Nos. 1 and 33. The No. 1 is honey-colored and picks up oils and tannins for a rich complexity, while the No. 33 is brilliantly citric dry gin without adding one iota of citrus. It’s a bit of a magic trick. New Deal’s No. 88 vodka seems custom-designed for the needs of bartenders; the eponymous 88 proof adds a little heat to amp up a cocktail. New Deal also makes what’s probably the best coffee liquor in town: In addition to their cold-brew liqueur (Water Avenue, Clive Coffee), their Mud Puddle infuses vodka with house-roasted cacao nibs. Look out for JVR distillery’s Krupnik at their tasting room; the honey-mead Lithuanian spirit is being distilled at New Deal, and it’s a sweetly herbal treat. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Tastings & Tours: Tasting room open noon-5 pm Wednesday-Sunday. $5 nets a full tasting. Group tours available by appointment.

Drink this: The gin No. 33 ($25) is destined to become a classic among dry gins.

Rogue Distillery and Public House

1339 NW Flanders St., 222-5910, rogue.com.

Rogue has only one pot still in Portland. It is copper, handbuilt and produces just 2.5 gallons of liquor per batch. You will not try anything from it, even when you visit the tasting room just next door. That’s because Danny Connors, head brewer at Buckman Botanical, uses it for his experimental creations—apple brandies, rum aged in pinot noir barrels, liquors distilled with herbs and spices—that at the moment only a select few get to try. The booze the rest of us can sample at Rogue’s Pearl District sports bar shows a similar experimental spirit, with varying results. The spruce gin is a sort of kissing cousin to the juniper-forward liquor made famous by the English, though you couldn’t exactly call it dry. The hazelnut spice rum, on the other hand, tastes like moldering gingerbread. Rogue started distilling in 2003 and has been making whiskey since 2006, but for now they’re not aging it longer than eight months, which means both the Dead Guy and the single-malt are hot and sweet. And that’s emblematic of the distillery—a lot of experimentation, even if not much of it matures. REBECCA JACOBSON.

Tastings & Tours: Free 20-minute tours are at 4 and 6 pm Monday-Friday. Small samples, available after the tour, are $1.

Drink this: The spruce gin ($39) is a nice change of direction from what’s normally a juniper forward spirit.

Rolling River Spirits

1215 SE 8th Ave., Suite H, 236-3912, rollingriverspirits.com.

A distillery tasting room can often feel like the perfume counter at a department store, with a paid shill regurgitating advertising copy while mixing in enough improvised banter to make it seem like a genuine human interaction. At Rolling River, the experience is more like entering a stranger’s living room and having them show off photos of their grandkids. A true mom-and-pop enterprise—or, rather, mom-pop-and-son—head distiller Tim Rickard graduated from homebrewing in 2011 and established Rolling River with his father, Rick, and mother, Joan. Even after moving up to Distillery Row this year, the company remains all in the family, and devoid of pretension: Pouring samples from behind the handsome curved wood bar in their small, open warehouse space, Joan talks up the liquors as if she’s in her kitchen auditioning them for the neighbors. It’s a charmingly homespun operation, but the products are elegant and sophisticated. There are only two being bottled at the moment—an impeccably smooth vodka, made in a still Tim Rickard hand-built himself, and a deliciously flowery gin. But whiskey, flavored rum and an aquavit are in the works. MATTHEW SINGER.

Tastings & Tours: 4:30-7 pm Friday, noon-5 pm Saturday-Sunday, weekdays by appointment. $5 for samples of the vodka and gin, plus a mini-cocktail and complimentary shot glass. A tour isn’t necessary; you can view practically the whole operation from the tasting room.

Drink this: The remarkably sippable gin ($26.50), accented by hints of star anise and juniper.

Stone Barn Brandyworks

3315 SE 19th Ave., 775-6747, stonebarnbrandyworks.com.

Nestled between body shops and the Brooklyn Rail Yard just south of Southeast Powell Boulevard, Stone Barn Brandyworks looks more production warehouse than tasting room. Show up on one of the days they’re not open to the public (call first) and you can watch them work while sipping up to 12 whiskeys and liqueurs made no more than 10 feet away. Co-owner wife-and-husband team Erika and Sebastian Degens—she’s there full time, he’s a dedicated empty-nester with a demanding day job—have been distilling at their location since 2009. Alongside assistant Andy Garrison, who started as an apprentice and became so skilled at making whiskey they had no choice but to hire him, they create sippable distillations for which mixers would be an insult. The tasting experience showcases a friendly Erika pouring drinks in batches, starting with whiskeys, then the fruit liqueurs, followed by Eastside Ouzo, pinot noir grappa and cold brew-infused liqueur, all presented in a plethora of short and tall shot glasses and a tiny, tiny mug. Their fruits are sourced from Southern Oregon and the Willamette Valley, the whiskey ingredients from Bob’s Red Mill, and the ouzo and grappa from Hip Chicks Do Wine’s grape pomace, and their cold-brew from Marigold Coffee a few streets away. TYLER HURST.

Tastings & Tours: Noon-6 pm Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. For groups larger than five all other days, call 341-2227 to make arrangements. Flights are $5 for five tastes of your choice, though if you want to sample all 12, being nice may get you a $2 discount.

Drink this: Red Wing Roast Coffee Liqueur, infused with cold-brew Yemeni and El Salvadorian Marigold Coffee to make it the best version of cold Irish coffee you’ve probably never had. Also get the lightly syrupy—almost juicy—Biggs Junction Apricot Liqueur, made with Yakima Valley apricots. Both are available in 375 ml bottles for $25 each.

Tualatin Valley Distilling

21420 NW Nicholas Court, Suites D-8 and D-9, Hillsboro, 949-212-6900, tvdistilling.com.

Jason O’Donnell has a very messy desk: paperwork, Jack in the Box wrappers and a gallon jug of uncut 160-proof rum. It’s all part of doing business when he’s in the middle of harvest season, distilling fresh fruit into seasonal brandies to go with his line of American whiskeys, which are aged for a few months in small oak barrels that give the spirit more intense contact with the wood than they’d get in full-size cooperage. O’Donnell operates two small stills in his corner of the Hillsboro warehouse he shares with Big Bottom Whiskey, using a squat pot still for whiskey and a column still to make brandy with fresh fruit available at the right price, a system that keeps him plenty busy and assures that every release is essentially a unique vintage. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Tastings & Tours:Tastings are free 12-4 pm Saturday, or by appointment, in the tasting room they share with Big Bottom.

Drink this: Aged Oregon Single Malt American Whiskey, which uses small 5-gallon barrels to quickly get a full oak flavor that would take years in a large barrel.

Vinn Distillery

833 SE Main St.,Suite 125, 807-3826, vinndistillery.com.

The founders of Vinn Distillery were once stuck at sea on a boat for 47 days off the coast of Hong Kong. They’d been deported from Vietnam for being ethnically Chinese, but could flee China because Phan Ly—the father of the family of seven—knew how to pilot a boat, eventually finding sanctuary in Wilsonville, after a church agreed to sponsor them. Ly had always made his baijiu for family and neighbors, a sweet-hot Chinese rice spirit that is one of the most-consumed liquors in the world but is made in America by only one distillery: Vinn. After running a host of Chinese restaurants, Phan Ly
didn’t start the distillery until near the end of his life. “We asked my father why he started the distillery so late,” says Michelle Ly, one of four children partnered in the business along with their mother, Kim Trinh, “and he said it was because the family never saw each other anymore.” Well, their artisanal baijiu is a far cry from the improvised firewater often made in China: It’s light, subtle and balanced, with cereal notes of rice grain still tangible, and their rice whiskey is beginning to mature into a lovely complexity, honed through multiple batches. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Tastings & Tours: From noon to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday, $5 will net you a tour through baijiu, whiskey, rice vodka and mijiu rice wines. A glutophobe’s paradise. The distillery, in Wilsonville, is not open to the public.

Drink this: The baijiu ($35) is deservedly the flagship—and pairs well with any sort of citrus mixer that might otherwise ask for vodka.

Vinn Distillery (Daniel Cole)

Distillery Map


1. Big Bottom Whiskey

21420 NW Nicholas Court, Hillsboro, 608-7816, bigbottomwhiskey.com.

2. Bull Run Distilling Co.

2259 NW Quimby St., 224-3483, bullrundistillery.com.

3. Clear Creek Distillery

2389 NW Wilson St., 248-9470, clearcreekdistillery.com.

4. Dogwood Distilling

1835 19th Ave., Forest Grove, 359-7705.

5. Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Distillery

4045 NW Cornelius Pass Road, Hillsboro, 640-6174, mcmenamins.com.

6. Eastside Distilling

1512 SE 7th Ave., 926-7060, eastsidedistilling.com.

7. Edgefield Distillery

2126 SW Halsey St., Troutdale, 669-8610, mcmenamins.com.

8. Flooded Fox Den Distillery

2331 23rd Ave., Suite 103, Forest Grove, 308-9050, floodedfoxden.com.

9. House Spirits

2025 SE 7th Ave., 235-3174, housespirits.com.

10. Indio Spirits

7272 SW Durham Road, Suite 100, Tigard, 620-0313, indiospirits.com.

11. Rogue Distillery and Public House

1339 NW Flanders St., 222-5910, rogue.com.

12. New Deal Distillery

900 SE Salmon St., 234-2513, newdealdistillery.com.

13. Stone Barn Brandyworks

3315 SE 19th Ave., 775-6747, stonebarnbrandyworks.com.

14. Tualatin Valley Distilling

21420 NW Nicholas Court, Suites D-8 and D-9, Hillsboro, 949-212-6900, tvdistilling.com.

15. Vinn Distillery

833 SE Main St., Suite 125, 807-3826, vinndistillery.com.

16. Industrial Row Distillery

645 N Tillamook St., 893-4730, irdistillery.com.

17. Rolling River Spirits

1215 SE 8th Ave., Suite H, 236-3912, rollingriverspirits.com.


17 Portland-Area Distilleries | Liquor Makers Around Oregon | Distillery Tours

Cocktail Bars | Drinkin’ Restaurants | The Oregon Home 12-Bottle Bar

Five Bottles to Try: Whiskey | Rum | Gin | Vodka | Fruit Liquors

Another Hump Festival? DTMFA. Here’s Where to Get a Real Sex Show.


There’s a big problem with Hump, the annual amateur porn
festival put on by our dear friends at the local subsidiary of Seattle’s
Stranger newspaper. Sure, it honors our city’s DIY spirit. But
instead of capturing the true porn-theater experience, it’s a sanitized
“zippers-up” affair. Enjoy something you see and wish to watch it again
in the privacy of your own home? Too bad, the films are destroyed
afterward, and recording the screen is lightly discouraged. That’s all
fine for weekend warriors, but true aficionados of pornography and/or
public sex will be left wanting. Rather than going to another Hump, why
not try something a little less undergraduate? Remember to practice safe
sex, get consent and regularly check in with your partner(s).


709 SE 122nd Ave., 257-8617, mrpeeps.com.

Opened during Reagan’s first year in
office, Mr. Peeps is something of an institution. Its flagship location
in Southeast Portland sports three showgirl booths, 21 arcade booths,
and seven private viewing rooms. It also has plenty of toys and DVDs if
you change your mind about the whole thing and want to go home.

You might also like: Fantasy Adult Video, Blue Spot Video, Fat Cobra, Paradise Video.


3530 SE Division St., 232-7469.

Glory holes adorn the front right wall,
and condoms are available at the entrance. The theater is noted for
mostly catering to older men, but if you’re looking for a place to watch
porn and get off, this is it.

You might also like: Paris Theater.


North Kelley Point Park Road, 823-2223.

From cruisingforsex.com: “Been there a
couple times the past couple weeks. Tend to be more the bear types but
if you just wanna chill out for a while you will come across more
athletic types. I saw in-shape guys going for a jog but [then] all
veered off into the bushes.”

You might also like: Washington Park, Mount Tabor, the I-205 bike path, really any park.


824 SW 1st Ave., 334-2577, clubsesso.com.

A swingers’ club, Sesso is for people who
know what they’re into. It requires a membership to attend and has
strict rules about cellphones and photography. The main downstairs area
is a dance floor and bar. Elsewhere in the building are private rooms,
including one designed for couples to watch each other, and another for

You might also like: The Velvet Rope.


Southwest Council Crest Drive, 823-7529.

Make-out points don’t exist just in teen
movies. They’re real. As anyone who went to high school here can tell
you, Portland’s make-out point is Council Crest. It’s got a beautiful
view of the skyline, and plenty of parking and foliage for doing deeds.
If you’re not in high school, this is a weird place to go.

You might also like: Cleveland High dances, the back row of a multiplex theater, Hump.

GO: Hump 2014 is hosted by Dan Savage at Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave., 223-4515. Wednesday-Sunday, Nov. 12-16. $18.

Oregon Says Yes to Marijuana

IMAGE: Kiki Winters


Oregon has burned down its last prohibition on marijuana.

Voters tonight approved Measure 91, which legalizes the use of recreational weed. The measure leads 54 percent to 46 percent.

The vote means that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will tomorrow begin a year of setting rules for dispensaries, many of which are still hazy in Measure 91. Weed can be legally sold starting July 1, 2015, but the OLCC has until January 2016 to set the rules for legalized sales of recreational marijuana. The state expects to collect annual tax revenues on pot sales of between $17 million and $40 million.

As the results of the vote appeared on a projector at the Southeast Portland club Holocene, the crowd broke out in a chant of “Ninety-one! Ninety-one!”

Anthony Johnson, the measure’s chief sponsor, took the stage to compare the vote to the court decision overturning Oregon’s gay-marriage ban.

“We have ended a painful, discriminatory, harmful policy,” Johnson said. “Our new policy is one with more justice, more revenue for our state and, most important, more freedom and more equality.”

A line formed outside Holocene 15 minutes before polls closed, as cameras watched. “So if I smoke a bowl out here, I’ll be on TV, right?” a woman quipped.

But nobody did. Inside, the club smelled of patchouli and whiskey, but not weed. Organizers spread a table with three kinds of hummus, fresh veggies and a Ranch dip dubbed “Green Goddess.”

Peter Zuckerman, who managed the legalization campaign, stood away from the television lights, sipping a drink, as The Oregonian called the race.

“I’m trying to be able to talk,” he said, staring teary-eyed at the screen. “It’s over. It’s won.”

A few minutes before 9 pm, U. S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) took the stage to congratulate supporters.

“You are going to change national policy,” he said. “The marijuana legalization train has left the station.

“It’s going to pass in California,” Blumenauer added, then paused. “I have to be careful not to do a Howard Dean impersonation.”

The DJ played “Blurred Lines.” Outside the club, a dozen people shared a two-inch joint by the bicycle racks.

“I’m all about those bowls, ’bout those bowls,” a woman sang. “No doubt.”

The victory makes Oregon the third state in the nation to legalize recreational pot, after Colorado and Washington approved ballot measures in 2012. Those states have seen multimillion-dollar industries bloom in the two years since legalizing recreational weed.

Oregon has a long history at the forefront of pot decriminalization. In 1973, it became the first state to reduce the penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana to a fine. In 1998, voters passed a medical marijuana program, and more than 69,000 people in the state now have medical marijuana cards.

But Oregon voters have hesitated to approve recreational weed, rejecting ballot measures in 2010 and 2012.

Measure 91 was backed by big money, much of it from out-of-state activists and entrepreneurs expecting a new market. The “yes” campaign has reported $3.9 million in donations this year, against just $179,000 on the “no” side.

40 Years In 40 Days

Portland was a very different place in 1974.

Pioneer Courthouse Square was a parking lot, hookers prowled the South Park Blocks, and storefronts stood deserted as shoppers flocked to swanky new suburban malls like Washington Square. The MAX was still only a dream in the minds of idealistic planners. A big night out meant surf and turf at the Hilton, then a brisk walk back to your car. The city’s counterculture consisted of leftover hippies and barstool poets. The hot new pub was Produce Row, and the only local brewery was Blitz-Weinhard.

Into that dim scene came a new weekly newspaper. The first issue of Willamette Week hit the street on Nov. 13, 1974. It ran 20 pages and cost 25 cents. The front page featured stories about soaring health care costs and tough new restrictions on sex shops—both written by a young reporter named Richard Meeker.

This week’s issue isn’t about us, though.

Certainly, WW has helped shape this city. But we decided not to mark our 40th birthday by recounting our greatest hits. Instead we’re zooming back to look at 40 moments in the past 40 years that made Portland the place it is today.

Only a few of those city-shaking events involve ballots—such as the stunning election of a populist barkeep as mayor. Some involve the law: One relentless man’s effort to stop nuclear power in Oregon, and a landmark ruling protected the right of strippers to drop their G-strings. Some had an immediate impact— such as the moment things turned for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Others—including the death of James Chasse at the hands of Portland police—burned for years. And some events were barely noticed at the time, such as the opening of a new coffee shop on Southeast Division Street and the DVD release of a theatrical flop based on a local author’s little-known novel.

While some of these moments leave us shocked and angry still today, it’s startling how much has changed for the better over the past four decades. That includes the cost of a crisp new WW.

You can keep that quarter, Portland. And thanks again for making us part of your city.

1974: Mt. Hood Freeway Killed

1975: Soccer City, USA  |  A Vet Shuts Down Nuclear Power 

1976: A Home for Refugees  |  Intel Changes the Economy 

1978: Bill Walton Sits Down

1979: Busing Ends in Portland SchoolsOregon Wine Gets Famous

1982: Courts Pave Way for Nudie BarsThe Other Daily Paper Folds

1984: Satyricon’s First ShowA Bartender Becomes MayorThe Air Jordan Saves Nike

1985: First Female Police Chief OustedWiedenkkndKennedy’s Most Important Ad

1986: Dark Horse Comics’ First Issue 

1988: Inaugural Oregon Brewers’ FestRise of Hate Groups

1989: NW Rowhouses Burn  |  Gus Van Sant’s Portland Hits Screen

1990: Our First Great Restaurant  | Oregon’s Longest Tax Revolt

1991: Cleaning up the Willamette

1995: Bicyclists Sue Portland

1996: Vera Katz Builds a WallMarch to Save City Nightclub  | Powell’s Rebuffs Amazon

1997: Path Cleared for Pearl District

1999: Stumptown Coffee Opens  |  Fight Club Hits DVD

2000: Largest Union Pension Fraud Ever

2003: Fred Meets Carrie  |  Suicide of Elliott Smith

2004: Gay Marriage Legalized (Briefly)  | Goldschmidt Exposed  | Eastside Portland Rises

2006: The Death of James Chasse Jr.

2008: Our Fanciest Restaurant Ever Bombs

2009: Sam Adams Admits Lying

2011: Occupy Portland

Are You Smarter Than a Third Grader?

This year, Oregon school districts will be administering the so-called Smarter Balanced Assessments in English and math to Oregon schoolchildren as part of a nationwide movement. It’s all supposedly to raise achievement levels for kids and teachers.

The tests—part of the Common Core State Standards—are so new that state officials haven’t decided yet how high a student will need to score in order to pass. The tests are set for April and May.

This morning, parents and teachers in the Portland Public Schools district are buzzing about one detail of a third grade practice test that’s available online: the incredibly complicated instructions that one teacher said scored at eighth-grade reading level in online calculators.

“Jimmy Fallon or SNL could turn this into a great skit,” one flummoxed adult wrote online. “Perhaps comedic ridicule would bring attention to this mindlessness.”

Check out the first set of instructions for yourself. How do you think the average third grader would respond?

Student Directions

Astronauts Informational Performance Task


Your class has been learning about different types of jobs to prepare for your school’s job week. Your teacher has asked each person to learn about a different job. You think being an astronaut must be an interesting job so you decide to learn about what it is like to be an astronaut. You have found two sources about being an astronaut.

After you have reviewed these sources, you will answer some questions about them. Briefly scan the sources and the three questions that follow. Then, go back and read the sources carefully so you will have the information you will need to answer the questions and complete your research. You may click on the Global Notes button to take notes on the information you find in the sources as you read. You may also use scratch paper to take notes.

In Part 2, you will write an informational article using information you have read.

Directions for Beginning:

You will now review two sources. You can review either of the sources as often as you like.

Research Questions:

After reviewing the research sources, use the rest of the time in Part 1 to answer three questions about them. Your answers to these questions will be scored. Also, your answers will help you think about the information you have read and viewed, which should help you write your informational article.

You may click on the Global Notes button or refer back to your scratch paper to review your notes when you think it would be helpful. Answer the questions in the spaces below the items.

Both the Global Notes on the computer and your written notes on scratch paper will be available to you in Part 1 and Part 2 of the performance task.

Part 1

Sources for Performance Task:

Source #1

You have found a source describing the type of training that astronauts receive in order to do their job.

The student here answers a few questions. Then he or she is directed to read additional instructions.

Student Directions

Astronauts Informational Performance Task

Part 2

You will review your notes and sources, and plan, draft, revise, and edit your writing. You may use your notes and go back to the sources. Now read your assignment and the information about how your writing will be scored, then begin your work.

Your Assignment:

Your teacher is creating a bulletin board display in the school library to show what your class has learned about different types of jobs. You decide to write an informational article on astronauts. Your article will be read by other students, teachers, and parents.

Using more than one source, develop a main idea about being an astronaut. Choose the most important information from the sources to support your main idea. Then, write an informational article that is several paragraphs long. Clearly organize your article and support your main idea with details from the sources. Use your own words except when quoting directly from the sources. Be sure to give the source title or number when using details from the sources.

REMEMBER: A well-written informational article has a clear main idea.

  • is well-organized and stays on the topic.
  • has an introduction and conclusion.
  • uses transitions.uses details from the sources to support your main idea.
  • puts the information from the sources in your own words, except when using direct quotations from the sources.
  • gives the title or number of the source for the details or facts you included.
  • develops ideas clearly.uses clear language.follows rules of writing (spelling, punctuation, and grammar usage).

Now begin work on your informational article. Manage your time carefully so that you can

  1. plan your informational article.
  2. write your informational article.
  3. revise and edit the final draft of your article.

Word-processing tools and spell check are available to you.

For Part 2, you are being asked to write an informational article that is several paragraphs long. Type your response in the box below. The box will get bigger as you type.

Remember to check your notes and your prewriting/planning as you write, and then revise and edit your informational article.