Southland Whiskey Kitchen

This post is guest-posted on Dave Knows Portland as well.

When Dave asks, it is imperative that you do the right thing. Especially when it’s “Hey, Rick, would you like to checkout this new restaurant that serves tasty BBQ and delicious grown-up beverages?” So, I did the right thing: show up to Southland for a preview of their tasty menu.

Southland is a new project by the folks who brought the Casa del Matador to Portland located just a couple doors down at 1422 NW 23rd. Not that other (awesome but totally different) Matador. The first thing you notice is the decor. As you may have noticed at their Matadors with the intricate ironwork, these guys are chronically attentive to detail, with a simple but elegant wood decor and some awesome light fixtures that I won’t endeavor to describe, as my effort will fall short so you should probably go check them out (but props to Hippo Hardware for providing the moody bulbs). The space has a large open air section facing NW 23rd, openings that were not there when it was the Clear Creek Distillery.

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The menu is heavily southern without many concessions to vegetarians, most of which live in the sides and salads. Vegans need not apply, unless you’re just looking to quench your thirst. Everything I ate was pleasing. There were two standout items: the collard greens, and the spicy shrimp with grits. The biscuit was a thing of beauty, and went nicely slathered with honey butter and brisket.

Eric (my date) and I disagreed on the fried chicken. There was consensus that the meat (we both had thigh) was juicy and tender, but butted heads on the fry. It comes down to a matter of preference, I like mine a bit crispier and spiced, and Eric likes it the wrong way. Don’t tell anyone but the fried chicken may become available in ‘n waffles format with the advent of a brunch menu.

They were nice enough to bring us key lime pie for dessert but I was so stuffed on main course items I only shoveled a couple quick bites into my mouth on my way to tour the kitchen. Please remember folks, we’re professionals, excelling at planning, pacing, and execution.

Okay. Now on to the bar. The wonderful, wonderful bar. The bar is wide. With whiskey. The only place in town I can think of with a comparable list is the Brooklyn Park Pub. Southland specializes in American bourbons, ryes, and whiskeys. A rough count or their list shows about 120 American selections. They appear to be well curated as well, a trait that reaches into the Canadian, Irish, and Scotch varieties as well.

We were served a variety of hard and soft mixed drinks throughout the evening. I was presented a Mint Julep just for walking in YMMV. The julep was great. I was parched from the long drive to NW 23rd from the office, and the crushed ice worked wonders with the classic refresher. It had a sweetness, but over the top for me, unlike the Southern Punch. My date Eric loved them both, but I tend to shy away from beverages with “punch” in the description. For the kiddies and DDs (can’t think of anyone else) they have their scratch lemonade. They make it from lemon juice and sugar. Again, super-sweet, but I think that’s how it’s done in the South.

Meal service closed with an Old Fashioned. Ah, back to my kind of drink. This was the most avante-garde of the bunch, with a big ice cube and a suspended cherry (next to the ice, not in it). The effect was of a somewhat deconstructed Old Fashioned, which you could drink from different sides of the ice for slightly different effects.

Happily, we got to checkout the kitchen, which was pretty classy with its mesquite grill and big ‘ole black smoker. It smelled wonderful in the back with the local apple wood smoking the meats, but I can see why they do their best to vent out and up, since some customers may object to a smoky meaty sauna.

I’m expecting Southland to pack a pretty lively happy hour, which runs daily 3:30-6pm.

They’re opening Thursday 10/11 at 11am.

 

Lompoc and their wonderful holiday fun

From Lompoc Holiday Beer Event 2011

I’ve always enjoyed Lompoc beers.  Many sunny afternoons have been misspent sitting on the porch at New Old Lompoc, and I’ve had quite a few pleasant cool-downs from soccer and riding at Hedge House and the brilliantly named 5th Quadrant.  Tuesday the good people of Lompoc held a tasting event for their holiday beers, and it did not disappoint.

Eric and I arrived early and snagged seats at the bar.  From there I was able to snag good glassware and chat up the bartenders (who also happened to be brewers, owners, or Dave).  And it was pole position for grabbing the freshly poured samples.  Which were ample.

Did I mention they only released 10 different holiday beers this year?  Ranging from the mellow Blitzen to the potent C-sons Greetings, from Jolly Bock to Barrel Aged Old Tavern Rat (thanks Don!), and a few outliers like the Brewdolph and Cherry Christman.  And to make Mr. Sandler happy, the 8 Malty Nights was offered for the Chanukah consumers.

Blitzen – very light for an xmas ale, some nice holiday infusions of cinnamon, clove, lemon, and ginger.  Cinnamon aromatics.  Really not much more than a wheaty pale with a light citrus  ginger, but for my taste it’ll sit nicely between heavier holiday ales.

Zach wanted to have a lighter holiday beer so he concocted fool’s golden w/ spices.  Infused by xferring through corny this year.

Nose: light clove and citrus.  A session holiday ale.  The food really brings it out.

 

Cherry Christmas 

messing around with wine barrels, bourbon barrel for the last several years.

base: golden, fermented in steel w/ sour cherries + sour willie.  released 11/29.  This will be the holiday ale beer.  light, fruity, maybe a little sour.

Brewdolph

Brian’s favorite.  belgian red, balanced, Ardennes yeast.  spicy, clove flavor.  Heavy clove nose. No adjuncts, amazing amount of clove.  Slightly sharp finish.  Lets you know you’re alive.

Holiday Cheer

Milder holiday ale with big body and full spice, based on the vanilla porter.  Sits on vanilla beans.  Use whole beans for real flavor.

Jolly Bock

holiday lager.  huge 7.3% malty.  caramel, a bit sweet, super drinkable 7.3 beer.

I really enjoyed this.  It had that nice crispness of a lager, and was really not overpowering despite the 7.3%.  I don’t know what the final gravity was but it finished nice and clean.

C-sons Greetings

Based on C-note, C-sons greetings basically upped the ante in every way.  100 IBUs.  Every 7 hops in the kettle, and every 7 in the fermenter for a dry hop in the C-sons.

Hearing Jerry talk about the original C-note was pretty fun.  It was too strong back in the day.  “If I can’t have 3 beers without lunch, it’s too much for your clienteele”  Based on c-note.   The name is based on 7 C-hops like centennial, cascade, and chinook used to make C-note (what there were of C-names  at the time).

Bourbon Barrel Aged C-sons Greetings

nose gives the bourbon barrel.  This was a fine beer, but I didn’t find the barrel did a whole lot to the flavor, since it tempered the hops quite a bit.

Old Tavern Rat

named after Don Younger, but “he would F***ing hate this beer”.  cellared for a year prior to release.  collaboration of Brian and Zach.   English style barley wine, not overhopped.  Sweet, but nicely balanced.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Tavern Rat 

great beer.  sweetcake barley wine, super nice bourbon vanilla, creamy body, lingers just enough to know it cares.  I’m not typically a fan of barley wines, but I took three bottles of this home with me.

8 malty nights

chocolate rye porter. This one was still pretty green, having just been pulled out of the fermenter to offer us all a taste and a preview.  That’s the kind of event this was…sorta, hey, check out the fun stuff we’re working on now!  Which is awesome.

Overall, it was a really nice evening.  Jerry, Dave, and the brewers shared tons of stories and secrets.  Everyone laughed a bunch.  Good times were had, along with plenty of beer.

Organic City Sounds on Beer

Nice little audio blog piece on beer in Portland, OR. Go ahead and take a listen. It covers the whole gamut from enjoying to making in our little beer mecca.

Heads up! North American Organic Brewers Festival

Just a reminder that the NAOBF is happening this weekend, starts at noon Fri-Sunday at Overlook Park.  This is my favorite brewfest of the year.  It doesn’t get crazy crowded, there are tons of fun beers to try, and it’s always an all-around good time.  I’m helping Dave Knows with his story about it this year, so double-stoked.  See you there.

Blue Point Toxic Sludge Black IPA

My brother and his sweet gf showed up at my place today.  Wisely, they came bearing gifts.  Wiser, they came in the form of tasty and interesting beer.  His lady is from Long Island, NY, home of Blue Point Brewing Company.  And a town called Blue Point.  Anyways, I’m quite impressed with the first beer I’ve tasted from them.

Personally, I prefer calling it Cascadian Dark.  But we know what they’re talking about.  This tasty treat out of Long Island has a chocolate malt aroma and a full body.  A deep caramel brown color, the appealingly-named Toxic Sludge carries a nice head.  The dark roasted malts are clean, but the roast lingers with a hint of coffee until my next taste.  There’s a nice balance of bitterness, I wouldn’t mind a bit more overt hoppiness, but really this is a delicious blend of bitter and sweet, perhaps lacking just a bit of crispness for the sweet body.  But sacrifices must be made.

Blue Point Toxic Sludge
Toxic Sludge in a glass

Impressively, Blue Point is donating a significant amount of the proceeds to a bird rescue for a wildlife response rescue.  Which is awesome.  And in doing so, they’re producing a delicious Cascadian Dark for people like me to enjoy.  Seeing as I’ll be on Long Island this summer, I have something to look forward to.

A nice selection

This is the second New York non-city brewery to impress me.  Southern Tier has some amazing brews, and I’m looking forward to trying more from Blue Point.

Thanks Joanne and bro (and family of Joanne).  cheers.

rick