This was one of the more unique experiences I’ve ever had. We went to Full Sail here in Portland (their main brewery is in Hood River, of course). The Full Sail here is in the South Waterfront area & we actually found free parking right away. (SCORE!)
I had a little difficulty finding it. I had in my head that it was next to the McCormick & Schmick’s – and the brewery is. However, if you want to DRINK the beer (which we did), you actually have to go into the McCormick & Schmick’s. Fortunately, we figured that out fairly quickly.
It was just the architect & I this time – which was probably good, because the only bar table still available was a two-seater.
We were pretty jazzed about the cheap happy hour food (seriously this food was CHEAP) and were both starving after a long day of yard work, so we each ordered a pint of the Slipknot Imperial IPA.
It was really good.
Now, I’m not a very good beer reviewer. I’ve only recently learned how to identify a malty tasting beer. This wasn’t so much malty. It was a delicious hoppy delight, though! We both REALLY enjoyed the beers. They do not, however, have a happy hour beer special, so each pint was $4.75.
The food was a different story. We ordered the chips & salsa to share ($1.95), the architect ordered a cheeseburger & fries ($2.95) and I had the blackened chicken quesadilla ($3.95).
The food was…..alright. It tasted like very cheap food. The quesadilla was so greasy that I needed a new (cloth) napkin about halfway through. We didn’t even finish the chips & salsa (although maybe we’ve just been spoiled by the recent abundence of really good salsa that moved in next door – I think there were also people attached to that salsa, but much less important).
It was only after the server walked away after taking our orders (we were starvin’ marvins – and thirsty), did I realize that I did not order my traditional sampler tray.
So, after the pints were nearly gone, we got a ($9) sampler tray. I really thought that like Deschutes, we would be able to select our own samples (the architect really wanted to try their D-Lite summer special), but no – the six samples were pre-ordained.
- the Full Sail Amber
- the regular Full Sail IPA
- the Grand Sun IPA
- the Full Sail Pale
- The Keelhauler Stout
- the LTD
Initially, I thought $9 was a bit much for a six-tray sampler (when you don’t even select your own), but they were fairly generous samples:
Our reactions – captured at the moment
- Amber – doesn’t even smell good; average taste as long as you don’t breathe it in
- IPA – world’s most average IPA; the reason Amy used to think she didn’t like IPAs
- Grand Sun IPA – full of delicious yummy hops
- Pale – not as bad as Coors Lite; a world of blah (courtesy the architect) and pale in color, intensity AND flavor (that was me)
- Keelhauler – very good, but no way I could drink a whole pint of this
- LTD – subtle flavors, but still good.
We also had not learned from our previous food mistakes (and the architect was still hungry) so we ordered the hummus plate ($1.95).
You guessed it – bleh.
So – overall it was a pretty cheap night. The total bill (w/o tip) was under $30, and $19 of that was the beer. It was a lot of food for $10, and if you don’t care too much about flavor, that’s a good deal. We didn’t order anything off the regular menu, so not sure if that would’ve been better (although I’m really hoping it would be).
The beers – the special IPAs & the LTD were quite good, but their regular brews were average. If you’d asked me about 3 years ago, I may have given them a more glowing review, but I’m not sure if we just ended up with inferior batches or if in the world of Portland beers, they are just not up to the standards of some of the other breweries.
We had pretty good service, though, considering how busy it was – and although the bar decor was weird, it was a nice location.
I would recommend it for a cheap happy hour if you aren’t that interested in good food but don’t mind paying about $5 for a decent pint.
3 stars (new rating system I just made up right now…..it means nothing)