Update from Portland

After spending my first full day in Portland, Oregon I've already added it to my list of favorite cities. I mean what's not to like - great public transit, super-nice people, good coffee, great beer, and did I mention that I'm here for the Great American Distillers Festival which is held here for good reason - there's a ton of good liquor made in this town!

Yesterday I tasted my way through a tour of six (yes six) micro-distilleries that are all located within a few blocks of each other in a hip, industrial section of East Portland. In true northwestern fashion these distilleries have decided to cooperate with each other in creating Distillery Row - an ultra-local, artisan version of Kentucky's Bourbon Trail or California's various wine trails. The six distilleries are Integrity Spirits, New Deal Distillery, Deco Distilling, Highball Distillery, House Spirits, and Stone Barn Brandyworks. The people behind each distillery all have their own great stories, and the products they produce range from (very hot) hot-pepper infused vodka to an all-rye white dog whiskey. I'll write more about the individual distilleries and their products soon, but today I've got to head off to judge cocktails crafted by some of the country's best mixologists at the Portland Cocktail Invitational.

Also, on a side note, I went to a bar last night and heard a really good local band called The Low Bones. Perfect music for the end of my first day in Portland.