The best way to learn about something is often to do it and to do it often. That’s certainly true when it comes to enjoying bourbon. With an ever changing list of over 50 bourbons, 20 ryes and a variety of Scotch, Irish, Japanese, and other American whisk(e)ys there are many opportunities to learn at The Old Gold in Portland, OR.
Their Whiskey Achievers program is a crash course in whiskey appreciation. Achievers must try 50 different whiskeys: 20 bourbons, 10 ryes, 5 Scotch, 5 Irish and 5 of “Your Choice.” (Only 3 are counted per visit.) The material reward is your picture on the Founder’s Wall and a Whiskey Achievers t-shirt. The real reward is that you tried 50 whiskeys! And if you’re hardcore, do another 50 and get a special pint glass and an invitation to a private whiskey tasting.The bourbon selection is fantastic. The usual characters are represented from Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection, and Wild Turkey’s Russell’s Reserve. Often it’s the lesser know brands that surprise the experienced bourbon aficionado like John J. Bowman or Cody Road. If you’ve got extra money to spend, check out the Rare Bottles list featuring Elijah Craig 21 yr, the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection and when it’s in season, Pappy van Winkle.The Old Gold offers periodic Whiskey 101 classes to educate neophytes in all types of whiskey appreciation. There are whiskey flights to let you compare various whiskeys and $1 picklebacks, if that’s your thing.Besides being a great whiskey bar, The Old Gold is a great neighborhood bar. The food is fantastic, whether you’re having the elk burger, the tofu banh mi, or just popcorn. There’s often a game on one of the two TVs, a champagne booth with a button to push for service and a Bimini ring-on-a-string game if you’re so inclined.