A pearl in the Pearl

Over in the Pearl District of Portland lies The Pearl Specialty Market & Spirits which features a robust and large selection of spirits, cigars (which are kept in a walk-in humidor) and of course micro and craft beer. Its website made it clear that there is a difference between mirco and craft beer to which I must say I’ve been ignorant of until now. It also says that the store itself “is a rare establishment in the state of Oregon authorized to sell not only liquor but wine, champagne, beer, sake, cigars, and gourmet products in the same space.” My good buddy Ryan C. and I went there the other day for the first time. I was impressed not only with the spaciousness of the store but with their wide selection of products and their helpful and knowledgeable staff. I forget the gentleman’s name that helped me but he was tremendously helpful and assisted me in choosing some of the beers that I tasted for this post. I recommend this specialty market for anyone who is looking for a new beer and spirit to try or to get their old favorites.

The first beer up is from an organic brewery in Portland; the Laurelwood Brewery Co. Gearhead IPA (6.5 ABV, 60 IBU). The IPA has a vigorous head and nice amber color to it. It has a very aromatic and fruity smell. This cold adult bev goes down very smoothly and is gentle on the palate. It’s a very well made and delicious IPA but it’s likely to stay in the “average” shelf at the bar. Nothing really stands out about it kind of like the other Northwest IPA I posted about recently. Ryan, however, enjoyed the presentation of the beer’s label and gave it extra points for that.

Troubadour Obscura Mild Stout (8.2 ABV, 35 IBU). For anyone who knows me or read my profile knows I’m not a big fan of the dark beers. However I was assured by the specialty market staff that this Belgian mild stout would not disappoint this hop head. He wasn’t wrong. I bought a big 25.4 FL oz bottle for $12.50. Not too bad of a price but in the future I’ll probably go with smaller bottles if I can find one. The Troubadour Obscura had a strong aftertaste like most stouts do. Its coffee flavor stood out. It had a fearsome head that matched its brown and cloudy color. I wouldn’t drink this beer all of the time but for me it goes well with the cold temperature as I felt it warmed me up, if you will. One dark beer a night is usually all I can tolerate anyway.

The next two I tasted were Belgian Trappists; meaning that they are exclusively brewed at breweries in trappist monasteries by trappist monks. With these two I again veered off of the brew style I’m comfortable with by tasting a Dubble and Belgian Ale. The first up is the Westmalle Trappist Ale Dubble (7 AVB) The monks did an excellent yet unpretentious job with this beer. I bought a 11.2 Fl oz bottle of this relaxing dubble for about $5. It had a packed head and nice dark colored body. Its smooth and easy going aftertaste was thoroughly enjoyable.Last up, and in no way least, was the Trappistes Rochfort 6 (7.5 ABV). I also purchased a bottle of this beer that was 11.2 Fl oz for about $5. Its head was strong and also went down smoothly. It was a light amber color that was opaque and cloudy. This beer has been around since 1595. Dang! According to its website this beer is only brewed once per year. I do consider myself lucky for trying such an old beer not frequently made throughout the year. With that said and my respects paid to it my palate was not satisfied. In my opinion it was good but not great. Cheers.

Pearl Specialty Market & Spirits
900 NW Lovejoy #140
Portland, OR 97209
503-477-8604 (P)
Google Map 

About Juan J

Greetings from Portland, Oregon. My name is J. and I love to drink beer (I have the belly to prove it too!). I am the only West Coast blogger on this wonderful site. I am also by no means a pundit in the art of tasting and writing about good beer but just a regular dude who has grown to love craft and micro beer especially Oregon and West Coast beers and now I have the opportunity to blog about my likes and dislikes to anyone who wants to read my rants and raves. Portland is filled with good breweries and so is the rest of Oregon and the left coast. As I’ve grown older my taste preferences have also grown from boring and inexpensive domestics to tasty, calorie filled and 'spendy' micro adult beverages. I prefer India Pale Ales (IPAs) along with Amber Ales but any beer that makes my palate happy I'll bottoms up the son of a gun. Here’s one of my favorite quotes: “A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure.” Cheers! 04/19/12

At the moment my favorite brews are/come from:

Hood River, Oregon's Full Sail Brewery (IPA)
Escondido, California's Stone Brewery (IPA)
Eugene, Oregon's Ninkasi Brewery (TG IPA)
Honorable mention:
Lahaina, Maui’s Maui Brewing Co. (Hi.P.Hay IPA)


  1. The Hawaiian Chick says:

    Nice write up! It is great to hear that you are broadening your palate and reading of your ever-changing and progressive experiences are nice. I don’t drink beer but my significant other does so it definitely brings new tastes to the table as he has enjoyed IPAs and similarly moving toward darker brews. Your descriptions are helpful! Mahalo

  2. Grazi for mainkg it nice and EZ.

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