I’ve collected a few thoughts since October’s Hopfest at HUB and instead of writing a handful of smaller posts collected the scattered information into one post.
The Old Market Pub & Brewery – Not bad, not great, worth a second visit
I had very low expectations for The Old Market Pub & Brewery, located on the Westside at 6959 S.W. Multnomah Blvd.
Online reviews of the place were not kind and ranged from “horrific service” to “the food made me puke, I’ll never set foot in the place” type of comments. The fact that the negative outweighed the positives made me ponder.
So when a co-worker wanted to meet up their over the three-day Labor Day weekend, I half-assedly agreed.
The place is huge, with a main dining area, a middle area with a skeetball shuffleboard table and a back area with pool tables. Plus, the beers are brewed on site in the back.
The service was fine. We were nicely [not warmly, but not surly, either] greeted as soon as we walked in, had a table and had a waitress at our table within minutes, asking us what we wanted to drink. Then again, it wasn’t very busy on the Sunday afternoon we were there.
And the food? This isn’t really a review and I’m not a food reviewer by any means. Tastes aside, the food was shockingly mediocre but it was adequate. My personal pepperoni pizza did the job I asked of it – it soaked up the beer and it was edible.
No complaints from me on the beer, either. I had a couple of pints of their most popular beer, Hop On. It was crisp, fresh and delicious. Not very hoppy, though. My friend tried their Multnomah Village Golden Ale that had a light, faint hop taste to it. Will I go there again? Sure, if I’m on the west side of Portland I might stop by after a John’s Market Place run and sample their Great White Wheat.
East vs. west
I have to admit to being eastside-centric when it comes to beer. In fact, the beer on the westside is still a mystery to me after moving here from Boston a few years back. I’ve been to Beaverton twice, Multnomah Village once [John's Market Place, of course] and a few scattered places.
There’s a great discussion on Beervana on the west versus the east, “Two Cities Or Why Aren’t There Any Brewpubs on the West Side?” .
I do plan on heading back over the Willamette soon though for some beery adventures. Destination: The Raccoon Lodge and Brewpub in Raleigh Hills. I’ve heard nothing but great stuff about the place and its beers. But like the Old Market reviews, I want to see for myself.
Hopworks Urban Brewery: The Golden Hour
The buzz hasn’t worn off since HUB opened – it’s consistently jammed with drinkers and diners, during the evenings at least when I’ve visited. One recent Sunday morning I wanted to refill my growler with beer and happened to be driving by [in my vehicle, that is] in the morning [I always seem to be "accidentally driving by" HUB] and swung into the parking lot. The sign on the door said they opened at 11:00 on Sundays. At 11:02 am I cheerfully walked in with my growler to an empty restaurant. It gave me a chance to walk around and really check the place out. From the bike sculpture, to the secret nook, to the way the space is laid out, it’s a wonder [like they need another glowing review.] My growler was filled by a bemused bartender [was it that obvious I was like a kid in a candy store?] and off I went. I almost took a swig off the growler in the parking lot.
Around the Bend
Deschutes Brewery’s The Abyss is back in town. The popular imperial stout, aged in French oak and bourbon barrels, according to Deschutes “has immense depth with its rich and complex flavors. True to its name, subtle notes of coffee, chocolate, molasses and licorice pull you in deeper and deeper.”
Deschutes continues to offer small batches of innovative beers in the Reserve Series, including The Abyss.
Their Reserve Series beers [such as The Dissident and Black Butte XX, with a second release of Mirror Mirror kicking off the 2009 lineup early in the year] are available in wax-dipped 22-ounce bottles with a suggested retail price of $10. The Abyss will also be available on draft at a few select establishments around town. Here are the details:
11.0% Alcohol by Volume (ABV); 56 International Bitterness Units (IBU)
Deschutes recommends the following when enjoying Abyss:
- Store at 45 degrees in a dark place, keeping a constant temperature is key to proper cellaring. [Who reading this stores their beer in their homes? I'd like to hear from you!]
- Drink within five years [not a problem]
- Best served at 50-55 degrees (not quite room temperature).
If last year was any indication, stock up.
Redhook Double Black Stout
One beer I missed on the first round was Redhook’s Double Black Stout. I’m sorry I missed it – but have been spending some time catching up. Originally created by the brewery in 1995, Redhook stopped producing Double Black Stout in 2000 it’s a limited release and will be available nationwide through February 2009, or until supplies run out.
According to Redhook, the beer is a “smooth, imperial stout enhanced by the addition of rich, flavorful coffee and dark malts to create a big, roasted flavor.”
I’d say that was a spot-on descriptor. My first taste was an explosion of dark roasts, malt flavor, followed by a rich coffee aftertaste. In fact, I thought I was drinking a strong cup of coffee [that isn't a complaint] with a beer chaser. A great beer for a chilly December evening, if you can still get one.