These places are your average Portland pub or brewpub, which means they are all pretty good and are all places I would go back to if I were the North Portland neighborhood. For me they just don’t have the little bit extra that puts them on my top list. There are some of these places that are more so-so but because of location or because of repeat events I have been to several times made this list.
12105 N. Center, Portland, OR – BJ’s – Visited 6/13/2015
Jeanette and I visited BJ’s on a late Saturday afternoon. I had at first did not considered this place for my list. I first went here more then ten years ago and just thought of it as a restaurant. I recently ran across something that talk more about their brew house so thought we should check it out. As it turned out they have a good selection of beers they brew. They run the range of common styles form pale to stouts. We tried a sampler of four beers. All were drinkable but none out standing. So they really are a small brewery but what we found they did better was the food. The restaurant side I am sure is what folks are coming for. They had a large selection of items on their menu. I tried a burger and Jeanette a salad. Both were very good. We sat in the bar area which was not busy. It had a combination of booths, table and bar seats in a dimly lit room. The restaurant side was packed with families. Service was good. So overall we had a good experience from this chain operation.
Ex Novo Brewing
2326 N. Flint Ave., Portland, OR – exnovobrew.com – Visited 12/29/2014
Jeanette and I visited Ex Novo Brewing on one of our pub-crawls. Ex Novo is unique in that 100% of their profits go to charity. They have done a major make over of an old warehouse located in what had been a questionable North Portland neighborhood. The rebuild gives the place a nice contemporary look but with a casual warehouse feel. They offer a range of styles of their own brews and a short but nice selection of food. Jeanette tried a porter and tried a brown. They were fine but not exciting. We order a little something to nibble on. Like the beer it was fine but not exiting. The place is positioned as a small neighborhood brewpub for locals to drop into.
832 N. Beech St. Portland, Ore – stormbreakerbrewing.com – Visisted 12/29/2014
Jeanette and I tried StormBreaker Brewing on one of our pub-crawls. We had a look around and a beer before heading on. Storm Breaker took over the location where Amnesia Brewing had been. It is a small neighborhood brewpub offering OK beer and a limited food menu prepared in a very limited kitchen. I think the biggest attraction of this place is the outside seating. In summer the large outside seating area is often packed with people. In winter the inside seating is pretty limited.
825 N Cook St., Portland, OR – Ecliptic Brewrery.com – Visited 1/04/2014
I remember visiting this empty warehouse space many months ago that was suppose to become a new brewery. I remember at the time thinking it will take years to get this place built out and more then likely it will never happen. Well, was I wrong. Ecliptic Brewery is up and looking good. Jeanette and I stop in on a pub-crawl of the Mississippi Ave. area and checked it out. We got there for Happy Hour, which is not much of a Happy Hour. A couple of dollars off a couple of the burgers and dollar off the beer but every dollar helps. On the beer Jeanette had their porter and I had one of their IPAs. Both were excellent with lots of complex flavor and tasting like a porter and an IPA and not heard or spice factory. We both had the Ecliptic Burger, which was made with good quality ingredient and definitely had their own twist on a burger. It ran about $4 more then you would pay for an average house burger elsewhere, so you do pay for the quality. The interior was new and was a cross between warehouse and trendy eatery. There was a good selection of booths for private gathering, tables for a bigger group and seating at the bar. They had a divide between the dinning and bar area (so how do you reuse a big chunk of concrete you cut out of a warehouse wall, you make a room divider out of it). So a good quality place done right but not the fun funky place I would go back to.
3947 N. Williams Ave. – hopworksbeer.com – Visited 1/04/2014
This was our last stop on a pub-crawl of Mississippi Ave. area. Part of the décor is a row of bike frames above the bar area so it makes it a biker bar. Also Williams Avenue has become a bike street. We got there at the end of Happy Hour and stuck around until the younger evening crowd started to show up. For beer I had one of their standard IPAs that was OK and Jeanette had their 7 grain stout that was excellent. They also have a good selection of seasonals that they post on a black board behind the bar. We saw people getting taster trays and this would be a good place for that. We had already had dinner so we did not order heavily from the Happy Hour menu. But they do have a pretty extensive happy hour menu and good prices. Jeanette got their pretzel sticks, which were very nice, and I tried a slice of their pizza that was average at best. This place was newly constructed a few years ago in a new muli-store front complex. It has a nice mix of bar, small tables and kind of booth set-ups for seating. The seating allows for them to pack a lot of folks into a not very large space and not feel like you are on top of your neighbor. Service was good and they allowed us to chat for long time without interruption. But once a line started forming up front we cleared out to open up seating and left a nice tip for server as we held her table for a longer time..
1004 N. Killingsworth St – saraveza.com – Visited 11/3/2012
So this place is a bit different but still meant to be a neighborhood pub. They are tucked in an older building and they left the place a bit funky. They have several coolers of bottle micro brews but also have about ten beers on tap, which appear to rotate with the seasons (when we visited around Halloween they had four different pumpkin beers on tap but I went for a dark Fort George IPA that was very nice). So this would be a hit or miss for what they have on tap. The food was leaning to light and meaty specialty affair (more for tasting treat then filling up on) so not your usual pub food.
Killingsworth – 1700 N Killingsworth St.
The lab is the lab, So-So food and beer but lot of room for get together. The one on Quimby is the regular place we go after the Rambles. Different Meetup groups have meetings here. It is really all about having space to hold a group. Also being to just go up to the bar to get your beer and not having to be waited.
This is the big boy in town. They have many locations, all different but all the same. On average I would say they are OK for food and beer with some being better then others. They have there standard selection of beers that they try to stay consistent on but they give there various breweries a chance to try special seasonals.