A little over a year ago, Produce Row suddenly and unceremoniously closed. News and blog posts went up about it but there really wasn’t any reason why, at least to the casual observer. One day it was open, the next day it was closed and the staff of PR was as surprised as anyone.
Just as quietly, Produce Row opened back up again just a few months ago. I’ve always liked the place so I’ve come down, drinking a Breakside Fresh Hop ale. Because fresh hop ales are the best, rarest beers on earth! (Spoiler; no, they aren’t).
Nothing has changed. And I don’t mean that nothing feels different. I mean that nothing has perceptibly changed.
It’s eerie to feel this way; not the decor, not the arrangements, even the font on the menu looks familiar. I don’t even need a new wifi password. For a moment, I have a shadow of the Shining come over me. Should I worry about possession?
Eh, who cares? A cool place I like has come back! Let’s finish this beer.
It is hoppier than I would’ve expected. Not in the nose; that barely registers and that’s a bit disappointing. The finish is bitter and it’s pretty citrus forward. It’s good but Breakside has done so many excellent beers lately that I feel like this could be better. I may just be holding the bar too high. Then again: they set the standard, can I really be faulted for holding them to it?
I have finally made it to the Breakside brewery taproom out in Milwaukie. Sipping on Will’s alt, which is a very light beer and a nice bitey finish. It’s got the feel of the crisp day I’m drinking on, actually. Cool, dry and bright. It’s almost too light for the bite at the end but somehow it’s holding together.
This is totally a workspace, not unlike Reverend Nat’s cidery: pallets of grain are in the corner, barrels, fridge units, doors wide open to let the steam out; the tables and a TV in the far corner seem to be the only concession to the idea of a serving space. There’s a massive-looking wall of old wood separating the bar from the rest of the space and I can easily smell grains in the slightly humid conditions.
Out of nowhere, I get to talk sports a bit with someone at the bar and it’s pretty awesome. Strangers having a chat is the best thing about pubs and it reminds me why I do what I do. Maybe it just feels more casual in here despite the working conditions? Maybe it’s just a good day to talk to strangers.
I believe the next series will go back to ‘I’ll have what they had’ theme because it lets me have conversations. Too much internal dialog is bad for anyone.
Before I leave though, I get a glass of the Safe Word triple IPA: it has a peach smell and is very tasty! For some reason, the bitterness feels less in this beer than the alt which is pretty wild.
The title for the next series is going to be riffed off the title of a Rocket From The Crypt song. They are awesome and you should listen to them.
Around the time that I started noticing I was feeling a bit burnt out, I looked back and noticed that I had been writing this blog pretty steadily for five years. During that time, I have done my best to really stick to themes and ideas that I had presented, regardless of my interest level, and I hadn’t really indulged myself. So I figure it’s time. There are so many interesting places to go to in Portland, I ought to avail myself of them and it’s long past time that I abused my position as head blog person to visit those places that I wouldn’t get to, otherwise. Or go back to, as I see fit.
Yes, this will be an excuse to visit Bailey’s a whole bunch. I’m OK with this.
But when the opportunity came to meet at the Oregon Public House to play cards, I pushed that idea as far as I could…until we got there and it was overrun by a group doing something for the Greater Good. And I can’t compete with that, so it’s East a block to the Breakside, which is also awesome!
I had their Float ale, which was a lager of some kind, an IPA and a dry stout, which was excellent. All of the beers were good, I just think the dry stout is especially worth commending, even though I only got a photo of the IPA.
Whatcha gonna do?
Anyway, I’m back. This is the new series, where I go to (or go back to) those places I want to go to. I play cards. I drink. I will endeavor to talk to strangers if that option is available to me. I’m going to set out with the purpose of having some fun, for a little while.
I think I deserve it and I hope you’ll enjoy it.
In addition to being the first place in this series that has its own web site, O’Malley’s also seems to exemplify the weird building structures that I have been dealing with while going to bars on Foster.
The entrance has an enclosed area, which is long, narrow and stretches to the left, looking almost like an elongated porch. This area then opens to the right into a room full of pinball machines, doubles back into the ‘main’ room, with has a very long bar on the left and a final area opening on the right where there are pool tables, and behind those are a series of booths!
I imagine that sounds a bit dizzying and I promise you, even walking in there the layout is an unclear one. It makes sense pretty rapidly (it’s weird, not confusing) but it still suggests a kind of…adaptability when it comes to making spaces work in the odd buildings along Foster.
And it’s a space I like quite a bit, honestly. The music is interesting, diverse and never too loud. The beer selection rotates pretty regularly; I had a Breakside Woodlawn pale, which I enjoyed quite a bit and it was the first time I’d seen that beer. There is lots of space to socialize in whatever degree of sunlight suits you and the booths, while windowless, are lit up well enough to allow me to play cards. On top of all that, wallspace has been adorned with the work of local artists.
I think I need to arrange a night to try some of the food here. If it’s good, there may just be a new local awesome hangout space.