Sunday, June 9, 2013
World's Smallest Harbor, World's biggest punch bowl, World's best quirky microbrewery
Roger here.... The ambient temperature in Newport, Oregon in early June seems to be 59 degrees. The on-line weather sites almost always indicate a high of 59 degrees. The car thermometer almost always shows 59 degrees. The weather channel on my iPhone invariably says it is 59 degrees. Sometimes it is 59 and cloudy and feels cool. Sometimes it is 59 and sunny and feels wonderful. Sometimes it is 59 and foggy. Foggy. That is what it was during the morning dog walk a couple of days ago, as shown in the opening picture.
After the morning walk, we hopped in the car and drove a few miles to visit the small town of Depoe Bay. It is a cool little town, and quite unusual. The shops all line highway 101 and face the ocean on the north side of the bridge.
The bridge spans a small inlet that opens into a small harbor. It is a very interesting-looking place. Too bad it was so gray. Did I tell you it was foggy?
My favorite view of the harbor is on the walkway below the classic arches of the bridge.
Dianne found some sea lions lounging near the bridge.
I found a view of the ocean at low-tide. Still foggy.
After a walk through town, we headed back south, stopping at the Devil's Punchbowl. Not much to see until you get right up to the edge. Then...
Pretty interesting, huh? (Dianne here: I think we need to see it at high tide to get the full effect.)
The views of the ocean from the punchbowl were spectacular --- even in the fog.
Little black dots in the gray water added a new element to the gray day. (Surfers, taken with my iPhone [we'll explain why. If I'd used my camera it might have been a good photo.] -- D.)
Down the road, we stopped at Beverly Beach where we hoped to find agates on the beach. After a short stroll, we abandoned the quest --- sand, rocks, driftwood, and water. No agates from our view.
The next day (59 degrees and partly cloudy), we stopped by Historic Bay Street in Newport.
This is a working port. The harbor side of the street was filled with commercial fishing businesses. Across the street, there were shops and restaurants. A good place to wander around for a while.
The most interesting sight, at least to me, occurred as we were walking out of a shop. Across the street thousands of shrimp were being dumped from the dock area into a truck for transport from an elevated conveyor. Notice the birds waiting to take their share of the catch. Always wash shrimp before eating.
We intended to visit the Rogue Ales Public House. It was lunch time. Time for some lunch and some craft beer. We were brought samples of a dark beer, Dad's Little Helper --- very good. Dianne had a BLT with home-brewed root beer. I had a salmon melt with bleu cheese and a Dead Guy Ale (Rogue's flagship brew).
The next afternoon (59 degrees and mostly sunny) we took the 3:00 p.m. Rogue Ale Brewery Tour. The brewery is located across the bay from the Public House and adjacent to the bridge.
What a fun and quirky place this is.
We were not sure how to enter the facility. It appeared to be a working business and not a restaurant/bar. We soon confirmed that it was a working business.
We finally found the entrance behind a stack of kegs and through a red silo. When we entered, it still did not seem to be a restaurant/bar. Men were working throughout the facility. We followed others through the work area and found a chalkboard, a gift shop and signage for the restaurant/bar upstairs.
We looked around in the gift shop and asked the clerk where we should go for the tour. She directed us back to the chalkboard in the working area where we joined nine other people.
Our tour guide asked us to be careful of the hoses on the floor, the water on the floor, and the moving fork lifts. He also asked us not to bump into any of the expensive equipment. Throughout the tour he talked about how the business slowly progressed from a beer-making hobby started by a few fraternity brothers to a microbrewery that now distributes product to all fifty states and many foreign countries.
A frequent phrase from the tour guide was, "It's all about the beer." He emphasized that quality has always been more important than quantity. Most of the barley, hops, and other ingredients are grown on brewery-owned farms in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. They even have their own beehives. The number of national awards that Rogue has won for their varieties of ale is impressive.
They also hand make their own barrels from Oregon White Oak. No nails in these vats.
Another theme of the tour dealt with the name of the brewery. "Rogue" has nothing to do with the nearby Rogue River. In this case "Rogue" means do your own thing. Case in point, Rogue Ale is bottled in 22 ounce bottles. Some states refused to allow it to be sold, but the brewmaster did not care, stating he could always sell it other places. Eventually, all the states gave in.
Another example of the Rogue philosophy is that people are important. The owner is reluctant to automate his process, preferring to give people employment. Every bottle in the bottling photo above is touched by human hands.
Lots of beer in this cooler, ready to be shipped. In the warehouse, stacks of product were ready to load on trucks. One large load was bound for Shanghai, China.
This once-small business continues to grow. Rogue just accepted delivery of three new stainless steel vats.
Dianne and I both enjoyed, "Brewer's Banner," which seems to watch over the brewery. Brewer was the owner's black lab. He ran freely throughout the brewery, doing his Rogue thing for many years. He passed away in 2007, after living many great years with his owner. All of the Rogue Public Houses, and there are several throughout the northwest, have areas for dogs. The dogs get a bowl of water, and some even have doggie menus.
Back to the gift shop. I intended to buy a Dead Guy Ale t-shirt, but somehow I could not see myself wearing a t-shirt with a smiling skeleton on the front, so I bought one with a bicycle. We also bought three large bottles of beer to share with our daughters when they visit us in a few weeks: hazelnut brown nectar; voodoo doughnut chocolate peanut butter and banana ale; and voodoo doughnut bacon maple ale. The two voodoo bottles are in pepto-bismol pink containers. Should be an adventure!
No brewery tour would be complete without sampling the product. We went upstairs to the pub, bypassing the restaurant that overlooks the harbor for another time.
Rogue has 40 different brews. Several of them were on tap at the pub. I hope to sample each of them before we leave Newport. (Dianne assures me that she will not allow that to happen.)
Dianne tried the Dead Guy Ale. I had a tasty Chipotle Ale. Pretty good!
I am sure that you have heard the expression, bad things happen in threes. Well, we just experienced three very minor, irritating things in a three-day period. Our Weber Grill that we have had for a long time died the other day. An extensive cleaning did not bring it back to life. The next day, the lens of our Canon point-and-shoot camera that had been acting up froze and would not function. A longer, extensive troubleshoot conducted by Dianne did not bring it back to life.
The next day our newer Canon camera, that we bought fearing that the old one would soon die, also froze and could not be repaired without taking it to a shop. Well, crap. Evidently, our photos from the beach did them in. We discovered the hard way that blowing sand is not good for the moving lenses. We also discovered that the neoprene pouches that we had been protecting our cameras in actually create static electricity, which attracts sand and dust particles. BTW, the pictures in the next two posts were taken exclusively from our cell phones. All three issues have been resolved. We found a replacement grill, identical to the one we had, and assembled it in 59 degree weather. We also found a replacement Canon camera with a better zoom. We won't be taking it to the beach.
I apologize for the grayness in the first photos, but it was gray. I promise that the photos in the next post with be as brightly colorful as these were dismal, all with an ambient temperature of 59 degrees.
The pet picture of the day was taken at the beach near the horse staging area with a cell phone. If you look closely, a dog is riding in the saddle behind the man on this beautiful horse.