The foursome behind Ye Ol' Grog Distillery doesn't just make specialty liquors—they make the tools that make specialty liquors. Comprised of three engineers, the team built the microdistillery’s two stills, including a completely redesigned version of a traditional pot still. This machinery not only helps churn out an extremely smooth vodka, but two variations of Ye Ol’ Grog’s namesake, an alcohol beloved by sailors throughout history. Sweetened with blue agave, the distillery’s grog includes the butterscotch-flavored Good Morning Glory and the 100-proof Dutch Harbor Breeze, which is aged in charred oak. To add an extra touch of sweetness, Ye Ol’ Grog’s proprietors complement samples of their liquors with adult shaved ice's made in house.
Breakside is the devout brewchild of passionate draft masters Scott Lawrence and Tony Petraglia. The in-house microbrew list includes the Breakside Wit, a 5.2% ABV Belgian-style wheat beer; the Belgian chocolate stout, a 5.8% ABV beer with dark flavors infused with Belgian yeast; and a hearty helping of other local beers. The food menu pays homage to the plentiful Northwest by using as many locally sourced ingredients as possible—cheeses are crafted by Tillamook and Rogue Creamery; beef is antibiotic- and hormone-free Country Natural Beef, pork is raised in the Willamette Valley by Carlton Farms; and bread is baked by Grand Central Baking Company. Sip homemade soups, play tug-of-war with eclectic appetizers, chomp into sandwiches, burgers, and wraps, or tear apart saucy ribs and chicken. While you sip or sup, let your imagination wander around the simple, yet refined, details of the massive, open dining room, or let it narrow down reasons the dinosaurs went extinct.
Across the yard at Thunder Ridge Mercenary Camp, a cannon spews flames at invaders. Nearby, in the recreated island settlement, blacksmiths hammer out weapons and craftsmen manufacture implements for visitors and pirates alike. In the water, bobbing gently with sails relaxed, the tall ship Royaliste waits for a high-seas chase. This living-history tableau is a scene among many at the Portland Pirate Festival, which brings together historical-reenactment actors, convivial taverns, and eclectic live music from regional and international bands for a two-day fest celebrating ancient pirate culture and buccaneering. Between sword-fighting demonstrations or a stint on an inflatable ride, visitors can feast on hearty grub from vendors such as Sanjai’s Teriyaki, Dave’s Pronto Pups, and Paradise Shaved Ice, and the of-age can gulp a pint of ale from Oberon’s Three-Penny Tavern or Ninkasi Brewing Company in Galley Alley. The craftspeople mingle in Tortuga Market, where they vend their traditional handmade pirate wares such as trinkets, toys, or peg legs, which are great for completing a costume or helping a pet shark take to land.
Wayne Oppenheimer, the man behind WineUpTV.com—a website dedicated to educating others about wine—has made the transition from the web to the world with WineUp on Williams. His wine bar and shop has taken over the building that once housed the famed Cleo-Lillian Social Club, a staple in the black community for decades.
Inside the cozy 30-seat space, visitors sip wines and beers from across the globe, including many that change weekly, while noshing on paninis, cheeses, and other small bites. WineUp even has a chilled cellar with 80 wine lockers where customers can store and age their own wines, instead of simply burying bottles in the backyard.
Fermented from the fizzy aspirations of two home brewers trained at Chicago’s Siebel Institute of Technology, Coalition Brewing Co. primes palates with small plates before plunging taste buds into a 10-barrel sea of craft brews. Ranging from the light WuC.r.e.a.m. ale to the hale and hearty 6.8% ABV Hanso stout, seven house brews emerge from the adjacent brewery’s sudsy cocoon before fluttering across tongues in a mash-up of Northwest and English styles. Like a solar-powered belt buckles, house-made Hanso Stout chili warms daytime stomachs ($4.50–$6.50). Work out pent-up chews with mix-and-match dips and dippers, such as soft pretzels, sea salt potato chips, and carrot sticks with grain mustard, caramelized onion, tomato salsa, or hummus ($4.50 for one pair).