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Beer Guide 2015: Buckman Botanical

Buckman Botanical

909 SE Yamhill St., 517-0660, 11 am-11 pm Sunday-Wednesday, 11 am-1 am Thursday-Saturday.

[HOPLESS IN PORTLAND] As the hops race still rages in the main Green Dragon taproom, in back Buckman Botanical offers five tap handles that remain calm, collected and herbalized. Instead of hops to balance the beers' natural sweetness, expect chamomile and orange peel. Yes, they sometimes evoke sensory recollections of that Bath & Body Works basket that's been sitting in your mom's spare bathroom since your sister regifted it to her a decade ago, but the best brews catch you off-guard and cash in on the confusion. Where else besides a renaissance fair is one to find not one but two braggot beers on tap? Surely this concoction made with spices and mead—one of which is aged in whiskey barrels, because why not?—is not the brew Chaucer spoke of in The Canterbury Tales. What sort of dilettante would dilute his beer with a cider? A Buckman Botanical man, that's who. You're free to order a 10-ounce pour of that cider, but you're better off shelling out $10 for a taster tray of all the offerings or stopping by at 4 pm for an informal tour. It's a fun game to play until you hit the IPA or pale ale they've included as a concession to the Luddites who think flowers are for fops—it's drinkable, sure, but that's not why you're here.

DRINK THIS: The braggots, available only in 10-ounce pours, are like nothing you've ever tasted this side of a Renn Fayre. Imagine the mouthfeel of a barleywine with the finish of a smoked porter with mulling spices that are cooked to a crisp. The whiskey barrel-aged variety requires a whole glass to carefully discern its flavor profile, but you'll be too far gone halfway through the second to deduce the origins of its flavors.