Admittedly, with a two week visit to Portugal, we have barely scratched the surface of places in the country where we would like to be. But between Lisbon and Porto, we really liked Porto the best. They even have a few craft breweries. They remind me of where Denver was with microbreweries 20 years ago. Cool spots, good beer, and so much potential. Nortada was our favorite. It reminded me of The Rock Bottom Brewery when it was new. Nortada is new, and if you like craft beer you should check it out if you are ever in Porto. It is located right in the center of the city and not only are the brews good, but the staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. Portuenese Beer Factory is its formal name, and it is located at 210 Rua de Sa da Bandeira, 4000-427, Porto, Portugal. Their website is: https:// loja.fcpornuenese.pt.
Did I mention our criteria for a place to relocate? Great food, wine, and weather are foremost. So, we add beer, and we are there in Porto. But what about the city’s namesake drink? Port: it’s not just for after-dinner anymore! Port is a fortified wine that is amazing in its versatility. Not just a sweet after-dinner drink, it comes in many forms, and white port is one of them.
We visited Barros port house and got to sample a 30-year-old white port. Dangerously delicious is a phrase that comes to mind. A little sweet with a plethora of flavors that go on for days. Floral peach nose with flavors of caramel and lightly nutty flavors. Wow, it was so good that even though we were tasting many ports vintage and otherwise we had to drink this one.
As beverage pros, when one tastes a lot of alcohol, one spits so as not to get deliriously drunk. And Port is no slouch in the ABV (alcohol by volume) department coming in at 16-20% alcohol. It is fortified with brandy. This came about to preserve it on the long trips overseas to Britain, where it became popular in the 1700s. It is the third oldest protected wine region, after Tokai in Hungary (1730) and Chianti in Italy (1716). In 1756 the General Company of Viticulture of the Upper Douro or Douro Wine Company was founded to guarantee the quality of the product and fair pricing for consumers. The making of and history of Port is a study unto itself. Check it out on that Google thing. I hear it is catching on.
Back to the drinking part. Dry white port makes an excellent aperitif. On the rocks, with a twist, it is super refreshing in the summer. There are plenty of great port cocktails to try as well. See any good bar book for recipes.
Our VIP tour of Barros was fabulous, fun and informative. In addition to the white port, we got to try several vintages and single-vineyard ports, all of which were outstanding. Because they are fortified, a good port will age well for decades.
By the time we finished our tour, it was lunchtime. Our Uber driver had recommended Porto Cruz as an excellent option. They have a beautiful 4th floor dining room with a view of the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, which is across the river from Porto and is where all the port houses age their wines. Once we were seated, a server came over with a bottle and asked if we were driving? We answered no, and he poured us a glass of chilled white Port. Again, off dry and a perfect aperitif. Is there no end to the magic deliciousness? I hope not!