Independent micro-distilleries, dubbed Portland’s Distillery Row, are creating high-quality artisan spirits in Portland’s Central Eastside neighborhood. While touring the Row, I quickly discovered that these eight distilleries aren’t actually situated in a row but sprinkled over several or more city blocks. Their tasting rooms are open to the public and offer over 40 (and counting) unique handcrafted libations.
Inspired by the flavors and versatility of Caribbean spirits, Eastside Distilling produces four rums (including a very smooth coffee rum) as well as two bourbons, two fruit whiskeys and a potato-based vodka. “We want to appeal to many different palates,” says master distiller Mel Heim.
Vinn Distillery crafts rice-based spirits using recipes that have been handed down through the Ly family for over seven generations. Their spirits include Baijiu, a traditional Chinese alcoholic beverage, two styles of Chinese rice wine and a wonderfully creamy sipping vodka.
Family-owned and operated Rolling River Spirits produces top-notch gin, vodka and aquavit made with organic grains. In the works is a scotch-inspired whiskey. Check out the tasting room’s unique wooden bar, fashioned by master distiller Tim from reclaimed mahogany.
House Spirits Distillery‘s most innovative libation is an American-style gin with a distinct floral essence. “American gins helped invent the cocktail,” says Christian Krogstad, one of the distillery’s three owners. Other creations include a malt whiskey and two Scandinavian-inspired aquavits.
Stone Barn Brandyworks owners Erika and Sebastian Degens produce a variety of regionally-sourced fruit brandies, including a dry pear and a Northwest cherry, as well as brandy-based fruit liqueurs, rye- and oat-based whiskeys and a grappa. “We offer unique tasting experiences,” says Sebastian.
The oldest distillery on the Row is New Deal Distillery. Libations include a clean sipping vodka, a dry juniper-forward gin, a chocolate-infused vodka, a ginger liqueur and a variety of small-batch limited releases. Enjoy samples while admiring the building’s exposed wooden beams and gleaming copper stills.
A new spirits project from Townshend Tea Co., Thomas & Sons Distillery creates their liqueurs and other botanical spirits from fermented tea and sugar. Offerings include Sweet Tea Liqueur, Spice Tea Liqueur, Smoke Tea Liqueur, Bitter Tea Liqueur and White Rose Specialty Spirit.
The grain-based vodkas at Wild Roots Spirits are five-time distilled and five-time filtered before being infused with over a pound of Northwest-grown fruit. Currently offerings are Northwest Red Raspberry Infused Vodka, Oregon Marionberry Infused Vodka and Washington Apple & Cinnamon Infused Vodka.
When You Go:
Along with tours and packages, the Row offers the Distillery Row Passport, available for purchase online and at all eight tasting rooms. Each passport includes a complimentary flight at all Row distilleries. Visit the site for more information on tasting room hours, special events, and/or purchasing a passport.
For more information on Portland’s Central Eastside, click here to see Visit Portland’s neighborhood guide.