Last week after a ramble Lori and I tried a new place in St. Johns. Stormbreaker has had a place on Mississippi Ave. for several years. So that place I was not impressed with especially the way they did Zwicklemania. Well they must have learned few thing because this new place, now two months old, is much better. Not an expansive regular beer list but combined with special brews there is enough to find something likable. They have a good food menu that took us a while to figure out what to get. This place has a regular kitchen the on Mississippi had a guy with a couple of fry pans. We went for a fry mix up. We thought with what was listed to be on the frys it was not going to be good. The server assured us that it sounded like it would never work it would be good. She was right. A fun new discovery.
I got a chance to look into the back of the building and they have lots of room for future expansion or full brewery. I talk to one guy who was on break and he said they will start brewing small test batches of new brews there soon. I look forward to that.
The place has nice outdoor seating both covered and street side. Not many people inside but good seating for when fall comes. It has already become a neighborhood public house. While there I ran into two of my neighbors and with the combination of good beer, good food and a nice place to enjoy them I sure more will follow.
I have tried two other times the couple of months to stop in at Backwoods Brewery but the place was just to busy. This time coming out late from a hike into Indian Heaven with Lori and Dinah we found the place with a couple of tables open. The décor was converted small new warehouse with picnic tables. Lori was on a special diet so only water for her. Dinah and I ask for and were gladly given a couple of samples each of beer. Dinah being more of a cider person decide to go with water after her samples. I found a Chocolate Coconut Porter that was very good and had a pint of that. It was a guess tap beer from a brewery down in Southern Oregon. So the brews Backwoods was doing are nothing to hurry back for.
Next came the food. They are heavy on pizza on the menu. They have some other items but pizza was their thing and a good verity of different pizza types. I went for one that was more traditional and heavy meat. It was a thin crust style. It was a good pizza for that style but does not make my top pizza list. Where I thought the place shined was with Lori and meeting her special diet need. They put together a salad for her with the few ingredients she could have and made it look classy. The place is overall good but proved to me that as far as customer service the place is top of the list.
I finally got back for a visit to Columbia River Brewpub with Lori after a hike on Sunday. I manage to get some photos this time. The place is still a nice brewpub and amazingly not busy. It was a nice afternoon so we grab a table outside. We started off sampling three beers. I went for the stout (malty, smoky yet refreshing) that Lori dislikes and she went for an ESB ale which I disliked. Third beer was an IPA that was both had as our second choice. So this answers the question of why are there so many different styles of beer. We don’t all like the same thing. We got there right at the end of happy hour that I took advantage of by ordering the happy hour nachos. Nothing on the happy hour menu grabbed Lori so she decide to go for a regular order of chicken strips, which include a lot of chicken. Both were good but not the best I have had. The waitress was very attentive and nice. Since I was here last they have added a couple of dartboards but otherwise it was pretty much the same. Overall I like this place. They provide good beer, good food, a nice place to enjoy them and at a good price. I still don’t get way this place isn’t busier.
Front Room with table and booth seating. The beer and food are better then places I have been that are pack with folks. But it will remain my secret hide away.
Looking over a table full of assorted items to the bar seating area.
As you walk in the door this is the view. Bar is on the left and brewery on the right.
Nice dart board area with brewery to the left.
Looking from the back to the front. Windows along the street and lots of table seating.
A view showing the dart boards, front room and to the left the glass enclose brewery.
A couple of small booths in the back.
From the dinning room you look down on to the brewery in the basement. Here you see the Mashtun and kettle.
Looking down into the brewery at the fermenters.
Picnic tables for outside seating. So not classy but functional.
It was a nice oatmeal stout with smokey accents but still refreshing.
A glass of their ESB Ale. Lori liked it – I don’t care for that type of bitter.
Standard pub grub of chicken strips and frys. Lori ask for extra ranch dressing the they were happy oblige.
The nachos at happy hour is a good value a $7. Overall I would rank the mid level.
Columbia River Brewing Co.
1728 NE 40th Ave.
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