Distillery Row

By | Category: Travel destinations
Aviation Gin

Aviation American Gin

The growth of craft beers in the US state of Oregon has been growing quickly over the last few years. The same can be said of vineyards and there is even a winery in the middle of Portland, Oregon’s biggest city which blends different grape varieties barely a hop and a skip from the city centre.

The alcohol trend continues.

Now Portland has an area called “distillery row” where whisky and gin drinkers can sample the varieties and easily get back to their hotels without even requiring public transport. Some of the developments aren’t small either.

Take Eastside Distilling for example. It is nearing completion on a new 40,000 square foot distillery that will be the largest in the northwest of the USA. To put it into perspective, it is just below an acre in size. They produce bourbon, whiskey, rum, vodka, (including a gluten-free one) flavoured whiskeys like marionberries – a berry unknown to us but which is described as mixing flavours like mango, raspberry and blackberries. There is also a new brew called Peppermint Bark Liqueur which is made from the French extra brute dark cocoa chocolate, with peppermint oil. These ingredients are fused with 60 proof Rum.

One of the most well-known local brands is Aviation American Gin made by House Spirits Distillery which, this year, celebrates its 10th birthday. In fact House Spirits is only twelve years old which gives you some idea of rapidly the growth of distilling spirits in Portland has been. Starting small, it has just moved into premises six times bigger than its old one. And it will still be a third of the size of the Eastside area. It has even signed a deal with the international airport in Portland to open a tasting room at the international airport in Portland making it the first distiller in the world to have a tasting room in an airport.

Across the river in the northwest of Portland, a new distillery district has sprung up with Bull Run Distilling, Clear Creek Distillery (the grandaddy of them at just 30 years’ old! and which has a grappa alongside its whiskey range) and the newly opened Aria Gin tasting room taking root there. Formerly housed in Bull Run’s facility, Aria Gin’s tasting room offers mini cocktail flights and provides additional space for distiller experimentation. the gin is claimed to be in the “London Dry style” and made to taste as an English gin should. Bull Run Distilling  (a youngster at just six years’ old) which is next door will release its Oregon Whiskey this spring — a project more than four years in the making and incorporating only local ingredients. But then you wouldn’t expect anything else in Portland which proudly declares it uses local ingredients in food and drink.

Townshends TeaSwing to the opposite side of the city and you’ll find the New Deal Distillery which concentrates on whiskey, gin and vodka. Amongst those vodkas is one called Mud Puddle which is bitter chocolate vodka infused with organic, fair-trade cacao!

As a tea drinker though, I have left the best to last. Thomas and Sons produce amongst other things, tea-based spirits. Yes, spirits from tea. You can have sweet tea, smoked tea, spiced tea, bitter tea and a white rose tea which is 80 proof. And if you are one of those strange people who don’t like tea you could always try their Bluebird Alpine Liqueur described as a warming spirit made from ginger, fennel,cassia and angelica root.

There are over thirty distilleries in the state and a trail has been set up for visitors so that they can pick and choose the ones that appeal. Because you couldn’t manage all thirty could you?




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