Just returned from Portland, OR for the 8th Annual ADI Conference. It was my first time in Portland and I loved it, good people, cool vibe, great climate. The conference itself was a fantastic experience! I got so many great ideas and met many great people in the industry, learned a lot from the presentations that varied from barrel-aging, to business software, to grain attributes; and made contact with many industry vendors. Also, I got the chance to visit quite a few area distilleries: Bull Run, McMenamins, New Deal, and Clear Creek distilleries, all producing some delicious spirits. As a connoisseur of all intoxicating beverages, I seized the opportunity to visit several local microbreweries and sample some great microbrews. One of the most surprising was Rogue Distillery and Public House. It was surprising in that they have so many different beers that don't make it this far east, so it was great to try them. Also noteworthy: Deschutes Brewery also had great beers and a really cool atmosphere with amazing wood carvings. One of the best brewpubs I found was Henry's 12th St. Tavern, because they boast a ridiculous number of great craft beers, good food, and best of all, it was just a couple blocks from my hotel! Another little thing worth mentioning is that almost all of the breweries offered samplers where you could get 4-6 4oz samples of their beers, which obviously allows you to try a greater variety!
The ADI Conference was extremely worthwhile as well. I'm glad I attended and I'm eagerly looking forward to the next one in Louisville, KY next April. During the week, I also had time to go for a great run along the beautiful riverfront area... a fantastic place for some exercise!
Overall, I had a great time in Portland. It's truly a world-class beer destination, but also home to an exciting and vibrant micro-distillery industry. I can't wait to go back!