Category Archives: portland


Last night I went to Workers Tap to meet a friend and the bartender recognized me, which is always nice!

“Been a little while,” she noted.

“Yes, but I’m trying to change that.”

“Well your timing is great, because we were broken into last night.”

Then she tells me how the thieves came in, went for the safe, and left.

“It could’ve been worse,” she said and I get that. I’m just glad that I was there that day to give them money. Supporting the good places are what we gotta be about.

But also! The bartender had made a call to nearby Brewery 26 to let them know that there were thieves in the neighborhood and Brewery 26 promptly sent Workers Tap a keg gratis, to help them recoup their losses!

Which is a story too nice not to share. Swing by those places and get a pint.

28 in 24

Hitting 28 breweries in one day via a walking tour of Portland is a wild idea and I won’t deny it: seems like it would be fun to do.

Once. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing and I wouldn’t want to push myself that hard twice in a lifetime.

But I do like walking and I do like beer, so this is absolutely something I’m interested in. Also, I’ve met Mr. Lovegrove who is a very nice gent and could not be a better guide for this kind of trip.


Here I am, about to serve beer at the Portland Craft Beer Fest on July 3rd. It was a long day, though not a bad one. But we were dealing with taps that produced a lot of foam, and were understaffed due to a miscommunication that brought volunteers than we should have had.

Not a bad day, overall-except for one woman who pitched a fit about not being able to drink enough beer in the 40 minutes she was there for.

That said, there are a few things that you, as a festival goer, could do to make this better for everyone.

Wear a freakin’ mask. We are back up to ‘wear one indoors‘ and yes, I know I’m outside but also: I’m surrounded by people. Let’s keep each other safe.

Have your ticket ready. There’s probably a line you are standing in for your beer. The ticket is how you pay for beer. If I have to wait for you to pull the ticket out of your pocket or purse or wherever, and then I have to wait for you to tear the ticket away from the booklet you got, well that’s just more time that we allllllll have to wait, and you don’t get a beer.

This is especially true if you’ve brought your dog. Glad the pooch is on a leash, neat that you can bring the animal to the fest BUT trying to get your ticket out at the counter AND manage your dog is a delay that everyone has to experience now.

Be specific about what you want. I know that you can easily see what I’m pouring but I only have the name of the beer-not the style, not the brewery. Which means when you ask for “the IPA” and I am attending to six taps which include at least two IPAs, I am confused.

Remember that we aren’t trying to fuck you out of beer, and are pouring our best. But the rules are: once you have the glass, that’s it. Coming back and asking us for a top off isn’t a thing, even if you get a bunch of foam. It especially isn’t a thing when you stick your fingers in the glass and scoop foam out, in an attempt to prove whatever point you want to make. (Yup, we saw this.) Try waiting a couple minutes-the foam will become beer again, I promise.

The Best*: Montavilla and Threshold

Threshold brewing Porch King IPA

At Threshold, I went with the Porch King, their west coast  IPA. My friend had the Radegast Lager.

These were both winners: mine had a dank nose and a sharp bite on the finish, which is exactly what I’m hoping for from the style. It was a bright, clear beer and well executed.

The sip I got from the lager had a biscuit quality in the middle that really elevated the beer for me.

My second beer was the Dream Spires saison and once again: this relies on a classic set of qualities, a little funky on the nose and a little spice from the Belgian yeast, but I also noted a nice malt character on the finish.

There was a lot to enjoy here, and I dug it.

Montavilla Brewing East Glisan IPA

The East Glisan IPA at Montavilla, is where I started; nice nose, kinda piney. But that finish is a combination of mouth scouring bitterness and medicinal cleaner. Maybe a touch of cilantro? Either way, it’s rough.

My friend got the Helles, and says “its rough”, so I have to try this. I get some smoke on the nose…and it has a quality resembling meat.

This can’t be right.

However, we had what we had: maybe an off day, maybe it’s us but these beers didn’t quite fly.

And that’s it! That’s the whole shebang, until someone else comes out with a list and I feel like I should check out those new places.

The Best*: Rosenstadt and Unicorn Brewing

Rosenstadt's Fest beer, in mug on table

There is no IPA at Rosenstadt so I’m free to choose whatever! This makes sense, since they focus on the maltier German styles. I immediately go for the fest beer because that’s a favorite of mine.

It’s….good. The finish is a little sharp on the bitterness and the mouthfeel seems a touch thin. It’s a bit off balance, it seems. I don’t hate it, I’m just trying to give up my expectations for the reality of the beer.

My friend gets the Helles lager, and I can’t say I’m jealous but I’m wondering if that isn’t a better deal. However, when I try the Helles, that beer tastes sweeter than I’m expecting, a quality that isn’t assisted by a finish that isn’t very crisp.

My second pour is the Vienna Lager and this is where it’s at: a light, malt forward beer that is far more sippable than the previous offerings. More of this, please.

Unicorn brewing Unicorn Dreams IPA in glass on a desk

The Unicorn Clouds IPA from Unicorn Brewing is…ok. I think my beer is suffering from being canned. I’m not knocking Unicorn Brewing, because I recently had their beer off the tap and it was very good!

But the process of putting this into the can and fridging it for a few days has blunted the flavors of this west coast IPA on all fronts. The nose isn’t notable and the notes of pine are ghosts, with more of a malt presence.

Unfortuately, my friend having the Scottish ale is having a similar experience; the beer isn’t very carbonated and leans into the sweeter side. There’s a diacetyl quality too and that is no bueno.  

The Rum Brown is more promising: chocolate with a little coffee in the nose. The beer has a bit of rum qualities and some chocolate-and this is  the most promising beer of the bunch!

I am kind hating reviewing this because my experience off the tap was so good, but: what I’m having is what I’m having. Recommending this beer for not-to go might be the thing.

The Best*: Away Days and West Coast Grocery

Away Days Brewing: Not So Sensible IPA

The thing about Away Days is the taproom closes at 7. But they own the Toffee Club next door, a place that focuses on showing soccer matches and conveniently serves Away Days’ beer.

I start off with the Not So Sensible IPA which has a mild nose that gives off elements of citrus and honeydew, and that kind of melon style bitterness is what appears on the finish too. I’m quite pleasantly surprised about that, since the middle malt sweetness allows for a nice bridge between the two.

My friend has the Milner’s Mild, which is served on cask and this beer is dangerously drinkable. It’s almost far to easy to have three or four pints of this. Just a bit toasty and very, very smooth, this beer is a great place to start if you’ve never had a mild.

My second beer was their ESB which was on nitro. And this beer, like the mild, is malt forward but only with strong gestures at coffee, and caramel, not any overwhelming presence. Another beer that is very easy to drink a lot of.

At West Coast Grocery, I’m having the Good Night Soon IIIPA which is a great name for a beer. The nose hints at citrus but the beer is fairly sweet and finished with a definite melon quality-I want to say honeydew.

Goodnight Soon IIPA from West Coast Grocery, in glass on table indoors

It’s pretty drinkable for such a strong beer, and the smoother finish is a definite surprise.

My friend had the Wedding Season creame ale and it is a nice beer-I definitely got a sense of the grains on my sip of the beer.

My second beer is a pale and…I’m just not sure about this one. The first problem is: I can’t pick up a nose and that tweaks everything else. It’s got this flaccid…melon note.

But the flavors don’t do this any favors either. The finish is wrecking it for me: it’s got a seltzer water bite but nothing to surround it. Just not thrilled with this one.

The Best*: Breakside and Assembly

Breakside sampler tray with four tiny glasses

At Breakside we got a sampler tray!

But I started with the Breakside IPA because it seemed to be the classic NW piney IPA. It’s basically a classic NW piney IPA. I think it properly restrained-not too piney but definitely what I think of when I think of IPAs from the late 90s.

I also ordered the Jarmusch, a Czech dark ale with coffee, and the Cheeky Muppet because the name. The Cheeky Muppet-a golden with a little pineapple flavor in the profile, which I liked, but the Jarmusch was…a but dour, too roast, not enough sweet. I did enjoy the nose, which resembled a cup of joe, but not being a coffee expert, I couldn’t tell you how good that cup of joe would be.

My friend picked the pils, the altbier and a berry sparkler ale. All three of these were solid-and the berry sparkler ale wasn’t as sweet as one might’ve suspected. The pils is a crushable ale and the altbier is especially delightful for a long night of chatting with your peeps.

I wasn’t surprised by this because Breakside consistently does very good beers, but it’s always nice to have it confirmed.

At Assembly brewing, I started off with their NW IPA, and my first impression is a fantastic lime nose from the beer. It’s a good thing.

Assembly Brewing's NW IPA in glass outside at night.

The bitterness is strong-and it’s imbalanced for a normal IPA but when I remember that this is a NW IPA, going overboard on the bitterness sounds about right. The midrange sweetness really isn’t present.

That said, the finishing bitterness isn’t overdone, either. Is the beer unbalanced? Yes. Is it overwhelming? No. It’s fairly drinkable despite being tilted, and certainly the nose helps a lot.

My second beer was the stout, and it smelled and tasted like a chocolate covered espresso bean, which I like! My friend tried it and agreed with my assessment of the beer-except they do not like chocolate covered espresso beans, so they did not enjoy the beer.

Still, points for consistency!

Finally, I got a taste of their Kolsch from my friend and it’s a damn fine beer. A better Kolsch than I had had in awhile, and I was very surprised by this. I might have to come back for more of that.