Rose City Brew Review

We Drink Bad Beer, So You Don't Have To!

Review: Hopworks Urban Brewery

Hopworks Urban Brewery is located at 2944 SE Powell Blvd with another location at 3947 N. Williams Ave called the BikeBar. A special note of their phone numbers, HUB: 503 / 232-HOPS (4677) and BikeBar: 503 / 287-MALT (6258). Super bad ass.

HUB is a classy joint and very large. The bar area has tons of seating with a special table inside what looks like a vault complete with a vault-like door. We call it, wait for it… “The Vault.

The restaurant area is large, and there is an upstairs as well. Lots of seating, but we’ve seen the place packed with a good-sized waiting list a couple of times.

Worth noting as well: the men’s bathroom is pretty swanky (per N). There are bike seats mounted above the toilets in the men’s room, apparently for when you really need to lean your head on something. The women’s room has a large hand-painted sign that says “You are beautiful” on the wall, backwards. It appears correct when looked at through the mirror. Pretty sweet touch.

Hopworks is big on sustainability and they are very bike-friendly, of course. It’s one of the most “Portland-y” locations we’ve ever been to. They also have some of the neatest can/bottle designs out there.

Da beerz:

  • Organic HUB Lager: According to the lovely bathroom art, the Lager is rumored to be better than Rogue’s Good Chit Pilsner. I’m a big fan of the Good Chit, so dem were fightin’ words. Regardless, it was pretty decent. N said it was good and more like a pilsner than a lager. K chose that moment to answer his phone and say to E “Hi sweatheart” and I thought he said it to the beer… but he described the lager as a malty pilsner that tasted darker than it looked.
  • Double Dry Hop IPX: We were trying to figure out what the hell an IPX was. Don’t thin we ever figured that out. N said it was a cross between an IPA and something else. Phone said it was a “pdt.” Jury is out on that ruling. N decided it was an ok beer, kind of like Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute.
  • Velvet ESB: N said this was bitter, which is true to the name. K said it was a bit malty for an ESB.
  • Hopworks IPA: N said it was very ipa-y and hops on the front end. I agreed.
  • Survival 7-Grain Stout: N said they forgot to add the beer and tastes like coffee instead.  It was “really, really f-ing good.” It wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be, since N said it was coffee, but I still didn’t like it. No surprise there.
  • Deluxe Organic Ale: N said it was malty for 55 ibus. I didn’t think it was too bad and K said it was better than a Boston Lager.
  • Give Me Liberty Seasonal: A fresh hopped bitter. N said he could tell from it’s smell that it was bitter. It reminded him of Rogue’s YSB, but it has been awhile since he had a YSB, so wasn’t exactly sure. I thought it tasted a bit like a red. N said he could understand and K agreed that it had a red taste, although it was a little bitter to him. We were not sure if any of us could put down a full pint.
  • Abominal Winter Ale: N said hops and that’s it. I needed to chase it was some water. K said there was a middle hop aftertaste while N said the hop taste was in the front and back. I just said it was gross.
  • Red Card Ale: Saison style. N said it smelled like honey and K agreed, although the smell was faint. N said the taste was sweet and that there might be some honey taste as well. It wasn’t like other saisons we have had and we preferred the Red Card over the majority of other saisons. I thought it wasn’t too terrible and it had some malt tastes. I decided I could never finish a whole pint and K said it had some bitter and wasn’t as sweet as he expected.
  • Pig War San Juan IPA: N didn’t taste a lot of hops although the aftertaste was a little hoppy. I said it was gross (a running theme for me that night). I said it was hop city afterwards. K said it was true to name and most definitely a standard IPA.
  • Cultivation Dopplebock: Appeared reddish in color. K said it had a good, clean, crisp taste that was a mix between a lager and a red. There was nothing notable other than every part of the beer was good from start to finish. N said it was like Base Camp’s Acclimator but didn’t have as strong of an aftertaste. I thought it was pretty good and very tasty. I could definitely drink a pint.


K: Organic Survival 7-Grain Stout

N: Deluxe Organic Ale

B: Organic HUB Lager


The overall impression we got: happy hour menu is pretty good, the food is worth going for and they have some pretty pizza. There are a couple of decent beers, but nothing I thought was too terribly amazing. On balance, it’s a really cool place and the location is good. It’s really easy to get to and it’s near a bunch of other quality establishments in the area, like Bushwhacker Cider. Also, it’s a very family-friendly place.

In conclusion, go here for happy hour or dinner, just be ready for a crowd and lots of families.

The sign in the women’s bathroom and Your’s Truly with my phone, Floyd.

Happy hour!

Taster snacks.

The view from “The Vault” looking out over the bar.

A cool down-the-bar shot of our pints.



Review: Fire On The Mountain

Now up to the plate: Fire On The Mountain. They have three locations in Portland, as well as one in Denver. The location that we like to go to is the brewery: 3443 NE 57th Ave, the two other restaurants located at 4225 N Interstate Ave and 1708 E Burnside St. Fire on the Mountain, hereafter to be referred to as FOTM, is a restaurant that has recently broken into the PDX craft beer scene. This is one of our favorite restaurants to go to in Portland because the food is phenomenal and now, beer, so it just makes sense to go there.

Apparently, the google image is a couple years old, because I promise you, there exists a restaurant and brewery at that address. The atmosphere at FOTM is relaxed and very much a family joint. If you happen to find yourself there during dinnertime hours, there may be a waiting list, but it is worth it. There is a bar area that has a bunch of seating and booths galore. Every table has a set of Trivial Pursuit cards. Our favorites are the 80s trivia deck.

FOTM is a nice place with really cool woodwork everywhere. It is all clapboard-like barn siding and skylights. There is an upstairs area that is available for large parties and the brewery is viewable through large windows behind the bar. Also, there is a ton of seating outside with picnic tables along the front side and an enclosed area with heat lamps and a fireplace. There are two dedicated parking lots with lots of extra parking on the side streets.

Now on to the beers!

  • Strong Brown: Just released as of 2/13/13! K said it was a little bitter but very smooth. He could totally drink a pint. It also had a little nutty taste to it, therefore, K liked it. N also liked it and agreed with K. He planned to have a pint right then and there. I said it was a solid brown with a little bit of bitter taste but it was very good.
  • Wondering Rye: K said it was light and very bitter. He said it wasn’t an “an rye” (see: “an beer” in our dictionary) but it wasn’t doing anything for him. N agreed with K and I said it wasn’t bad, although it left a little to be desired.
  • Pancho Pale Ale: An oatmeal pale ale. K said that it definitely was in fact, an oatmeal pale, but that’s all there was to it. It was moderately hoppy but not too overpowering. N said there was a lot of the oatmeal taste and that he liked it. There was a kind of malt to go with the hops. I said it was interesting and not as strong of a pale ale flavor than I expected. The pale ale flavor was more subtle. I blamed the oatmeal.
  • Shocks of Sheba IPA: K said that the pale ale was hoppier than this. N said it was really boring with a little hops, but mostly boring. I said it was bland. I wondered how many IBUs this beer was rated at and suggested it was as low as 25. Not a lot of bitter, especially for an IPA.
  • Electric Mud: K said “…Snickers?! Holy cow, that tastes like Rogue’s Snickers!” FYI, Rogue’s Snickers is half Hazelnut Brown and half Chocolate Porter (which is amazing). K said that it wasn’t bad in the slightest and he liked it a lot. N said it was pretty good and he agreed with K but it has been so long since he had a Snickers that he can’t verify the accuracy of K’s claim. I said it was pretty good with hints of chocolate and nut.
  • Extinguisher Wheat: K said it was the perfect wing-chasing beer. N said there was a weird front end taste. I said it was pretty inoffensive. Almost an “an beer.” K clarified that it was a “damn good an beer.” N argued it was a “funny tasting an beer.”


K: Had a three-way (only time in history that phrase will ever be used with K, zing!) Extinguisher Wheat, Electric Mud, and Low Spark Dark. The best is probably the Electric Mud.

N: Low Spark Dark

B: I ordered the Extinguisher Wheat but I would probably order the Pancho Pale or the Low Spark Dark

E: Ordered a coke. 🙂

Note: The Low Spark Dark wasn’t on the menu and if we recall correctly, it was just about to be released. The bad thing is that we all loved it but didn’t take any notes for it. You will just have to trust us that all three of us cited it as a possibility for our pint, so it is a very excellent beer.


The food is a reason to go to FOTM in and of itself. Each of the locations has a slightly different menu, but they’re available on their website (, the most apt website name possible). We’re huge fans of the garlic knots, but they’re only available at the 57th Ave location.

Obviously, given the website name, the wings are a huge deal. They are amazing. There is a great selection of sauces. Best wings that I’ve ever had. They will let you split your order between two different sauces if you order more than just a couple of wings, so you can experiment. They also have a sauce tasting area with all of their sauces set out and celery sticks for you perusal. The selections include the usual Buffalo varieties, a few really spicy ones, and a few more “experimental” flavors.

N is a big fan of the calzones as well. There are a bunch of toppings to choose from (are they still toppings if they’re in the calzone?).


FOTM is good food and decent beer. In terms of beer, there several good brews, but nothing too out of the box. It’s a great place to go for dinner with a beer included. Especially during the summer, when you can sit outside, FOTM is the place to be. Compared to other breweries, FOTM is a great place, but their beer probably won’t ever surpass the amazingness of the wings, although I may be surprised one day. Go here for wings and a beer before heading to another brewery.

The outdoor patio

The bar with the brewery peeking out from behind

Blurry view of the restaurant from the bar area

The upstairs area as seen from the bar

Wings! 50% medium, 50% garlic, 436% awesome.

Review: Gigantic Brewing

Gigantic Brewing can be found at 5224 SE 26th Avenue in between some warehouses. Watch out for a giant pothole that can swallow vehicles in their entirety. Regardless of the pothole, Gigantic Brewing is a funky place with animal heads on the walls and surreal artwork. Definitely a place for creativity and Timbers games (the tv had a sign above that said “this box displays Timbers games“) plus beer. Also, a food truck outside. Auto-win. With seven taps of beer-goodness, it is a fun place with an outdoor area to enjoy a cold brew and some rays o’ sun.

P.S. Gigantic does not look like it is pictured above. It is a relatively new brewery and the place looks great now! Also of note, they are teaming up with Belmont to produce the Geezers Need Excitement Chocolate Porter for Belmont’s 16th anniversary this upcoming weekend (3/15 and 3/16). For info on that, check out this article from Brewpublic.

Now on to the beers:

  • Gigantic IPA: K said he got some hops on the nose and the taste was not as off-putting as IPAs usually are. It wasn’t as bitter as it could be either. There also was no extra malt or any other flavors present. He said it wasn’t as bitter as he expected it to be. I thought there was a hop flavor in the middle of the taste and I didn’t really care for it, but I don’t like IPAs. N said it smelled way hoppier than it tastes and he didn’t mind it.
  • Time Traveler Porter: K said it was a bit boozier than 5.8% abv and he suspected it could be the Petit Quad. Wrong. My phone reports that K said it is “a Hilton bboozyier.” ‘Nuff said ’bout that. K continued to say that there was a strong alcohol flavor. I got a chocolate smell off the nose and disagreed that it was so boozy. There was a strong alcohol flavor but it faded after a few seconds. N said the taste didn’t linger and that it didn’t taste like anything except dark beer.
  • Royal Belgian Ale: K thought this beer looked unfiltered and he said it wasn’t bad. There was a warm body and some malt yet it was still light and refreshing. I said that the light bite was substantial and it was very good. There was a hint of spice and some sort of complex flavor. N said he also tasted a hint of spice and for him, it smelled almost sour. He didn’t like it because of the spice.
  • Ume Umai Black Rice and Plum: K and phone say “ply nose.” K got an incredible amount of plum on the nose. He also specified “…and now for something completely different!” If there wasn’t any plum in it, he thought it would be delicious. He isn’t a huge fan of plums and he couldn’t get over that to like the beer. I said “whoa. This beer? Very funky.” It wasn’t quite like wine but maybe sake? N said before he tasted that he probably won’t like it because “don’t fruit the beer.” To him, it had a different texture in the mouth, almost smooth. He compared it to flavored water and that it had such a different feel than “normal” beer. He didn’t know if he could drink a full pint, but he didn’t mind the taste.
  • Old Man Gower’s Holiday Trippel: K said right off the bat that it was Stone’s Vertical Epic 11.11.11. It was spicy and had a similar spice profile to the 11.11.11, although it wasn’t as boozy. It was only 8% abv but it still reminded him of the 11. I thought it had a reddish color with no distinguishing smell. I agreed it was like the 11 but not as strong abv. I did not particularly like it. N said it was more akin to Breakside’s Aztec, but the Aztec is more spicy.
  • Kiss the Goat Black Bock: K required us all to sniff the taster. N said it smelled like a porter. K said it smelled like dogshit. N countered, “If that’s dogshit, what have you fed your dog?” K retaliated with “my friend has a dog named Porter!” (Hi, Dustin and Rene’!) Anyways… N said it tastes like the Time Traveler Porter. I said it was similar but this beer had a thicker taste. Not bad, but a bit too dark for me. N said he didn’t mind it. K and N switched glasses and K said he got a different smell now. Suddenly, the taste was a lot cleaner. K said it was better than the porter, but had a neutral taste.
  • End of Reason Petit Quad: N said “whoa, that’s weird.” He wasn’t sure what to say about it. He really had no idea. It was different than any other beer he has ever tasted. It started off brash on the front and left a malt aftertaste. I thought it was kind of boozy and abrupt. There was too much going on to discern anything specific from the taste. K also said “whoa.” He didn’t know how to describe it either. It wasn’t spicy, although there was spice on the back end of the taste. Just enough spice to recognize. It reminded K of Breakside’s Aztec with the heat on the back of the throat. He also thought it was a little boozy. N said that there wasn’t enough flavor to be spicy.


K: Royale Belgian then the Trippel

N: IPA then the Time Traveler Porter or the Kiss the Goat Black Bock

B: Royale Belgian then the Time Traveler if I had to pick a second


Gigantic is a unique joint. I really dig the artwork and want the bottles of their beers to be displayed in my house. The facility is a small venue with a handful of seats at the bar and a couple picnic tables inside. It seemed to us that there was more seating outside. The location is kind of strange in the middle of Industrial-land without a lot less going on in the area. We compared several of their pours to beers we have already had at Breakside, although they do have some less common brews such as the Petit Quad, Black Bock, and Trippel. Of course they have the “obligatory Oregon IPA.

I guess the question is “when would we ever come here?” We actually talked a little bit about that tonight and Gigantic was an option for watching the Timbers game, however, we decided to go home instead since we just finished a 24 set taster flight of everything on tap at the Hophouse on Hawthorne. That withstanding, Gigantic is unique and fills a niche in the Portland craft beer scene. Not a lot of your standard beers on tap but a good experience and fun atmosphere.

Spiffy artwork on the wall

Sweet posters behind the bar

The tap list and the judgmental mannequin guarding the bathrooms.

Review: Breakside Brewing

Breakside has two locations. Their primary location is 820 Northeast Dekum Street in Portland and their new taproom, opened January 30th 2013, is 5821 SE International Way, Milwaukie. We have visited Breakside a total of three times. The beer we have described is a compilation of all three journeys.

The Portland location is a split level establishment. You find yourself in a foyer, obvious exits are UP, DOWN, and BACK OUT. If you choose to go UP you find yourself in the restaurant seating area. If you choose DOWN, you find yourself in the bar area. If you choose to go BACK OUT without first getting the Amulet of Yendor (or at least a pint), you may well find a gruesome end at the hands of an ogre.

The bar area is really swanky, lots of mirrors, glass, and lights. The seating area upstairs is restaurant-y, with tables and booths and shit.

The Milwaukie location looks like a warehouse from the outside, because it is. As you walk in, you’ll be facing the brewery proper, with the tasting area off to the right. The bar is really neat looking, with a large clapboard wall behind it. The tables are also barrels, just like Upright Taproom and The Commons Brewery. Also, outside you might see a foodtruck that makes the best grilled cheese sammiches this side of the Grilled Cheese Grill. Apparently they’ll give you a cookie if you tell them a joke (or the cook was really bored).

Insider tip, the joke that will get you a cookie is:

Q: Why did the fish get kicked out of school?

A: Because he was caught smoking seaweed.

Hilarity ensues, and cookies are given freely.

Portland location:

Milwaukie location: Unfortunately (or fortunately?), there are places Google has not captured yet. This photo will have to suffice.

Artist’s representation of Breakside’s Milwaukie location.

blah blah blah

Now on to the beers!

  • Neo-Creme Ale: K and I tried this the first time we went. We thought it was pretty good, however there wasn’t anything distinguishing about the beer. We noted that it was not creamy, although it claims to be by name.
  • Italian Amber: It tasted smokey or malty, without any hop flavor. There was a rich middle flavor, K thought it could be coffee, but he wasn’t sure. There was a malt aftertaste, but nothing else. We thought this was a pretty good beer. Simple, in a good way.
  • IPA: What a boring name. It had front end hops that were not terribly strong and the aftertaste wasn’t too bad. N did not mind it and said it was exactly what an IPA should be. I said there was hops and then nothing. Strangely enough, it was pretty refreshing. K thought it was a very straight forward version of the IPA.
  • Aztec: It sure tasted like a 9.2 ABV beer. I thought it needed a chaser. It was burny terribleness and had a “WTF spicy” taste. K said there was too much heat in the beer. On our Milwaukie trip, N said he forgot how weird this beer was. It was spicy, in a hot way, not spiced like cloves or banana, but like tamales. K said he could smell the spice on the nose and that it was like drinking whiskey to some degree. It wasn’t bad, but he would never drink a pint. N didn’t like it when he tried it the first time and I have to agree. It is a funky ass beer, very experimental and an acquired taste.
  • Dark Lager: Possibly the Pok Pok. It was a light beer that was dark. I’m unclear if that means it was light in color and tasted dark or a dark beer that tasted light. Oh the mysteries of life. Whatever it is, it drank smoothly without any aftertaste and it was pretty good.
  • Dry Stout: I said “yes.” There was some dry malt taste with hints of coffee. N said “huh” and that it tasted like dark beer. Possibly “an dark beer?” K said it was kind of bitter and N agreed. Between the two of them, they couldn’t tell if the flavoring was coffee or chocolate. There was some nose, but not a powerful smell.
  • Cedarbaumbier: N said it best: “Tastes like tree.” And a quote from a 1974 TV commercial for Post Grape Nuts, ” Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are edible.The things he says, I can’t make this shit up. He said it didn’t smell like a tree and that is was weird. Just before we tried the taster in Milwaukie, we had some bomb ass sammiches from the food truck in front and they may or may not have influenced N’s tasting perception. He continued to amaze us with his randomness when he said that the beer tasted like a Yankee candle smells, the cedar. I also had a sammich and I wasn’t sure if the grilled cheese complemented the cedar taste of the beer. K said it smelled like cedar and that he kind of liked it. It was light and fruity to some degree and reminded him of Rogue’s Spruce Gin. We had a brief conversation with a fellow we later found out was the owner, and even he said “it tasted like tree.” Kudos for the attempt at a beer that is unparalleled in comparison to other beers.
  • Hoppy Amber: We thought this had a definite IPA taste and we didn’t know if we liked it or not. It wasn’t bad or good, but there was hop flavor in the front of the taste. Note: You can tell when we tasted each beer by the length and comprehensiveness of the review. Obviously, we couldn’t articulate shit for this beer at the time.
  • Chestnut Honey Bock: K said it was Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown with honey and N compared it to the Honey Brown by Dundee Brewing. It was too sweet for a pint, however it was the best take of a honey brown style he has ever tasted. K said it was almost awesome. I don’t know what I thought of it since I didn’t write that down…
  • Brown Porter: N said it smelled almost spicey and it tasted like dark chocolate. K said it was smokey and I thought it wasn’t bad.
  • Pilsner: I liked it but there wasn’t too much taste to it thought. I actually said it was like a fuller bodied Bud Light. I apologize, since that is just mean. N said there wasn’t too much to it but it was a pretty clean finish with a little hops and a bit of a malt aftertaste. K said it was moderately malty on the front end and that it had slightly more flavor than a boat beer.
  • Woodland Pale Ale: N said it was not too bad. It reminded me of Rogue’s Juniper Pale Ale. N said he actually liked the IPA better. K wondered if the brewers used a mellower type of hops with this pale ale. I thought it had flower notes to it and N said there was some kind of different taste.
  • Toro Red: I thought it was a smooth red. Very good without much of an aftertaste. N said there was a smokey taste that he didn’t like. K said “whoa…” and that he could easily drink a pint. He disagreed with N and said that the smoke flavor wasn’t too powerful, which he liked. Every tone in the flavor palette: the red, the smoke, and a slight hop, were well balanced and very even. K wasn’t sure which style the beer best fit but I thought it fit well as a red.
  • French Fennel Farmhouse: I thought it had a funky spice flavor. That’s typical for a farmhouse style beer. I would never be able to put down a full pint. N said it wasn’t as spiced as Stone’s Vertical Epic 11.11.11 and that it was more on par with Stone’s Vertical Epic 12.12.12. K compared it to Max’s Fanno Creek’s Reverend’s Daughter. It was light with some spice.
  • Szechuan Blonde: After K tried it, he told N “God speed, John Glenn.” N tried it and likened it to a kick in the throat that made his eyes water. It is waaaay hotter than any “Fire Beer” we’ve had. N said that it didn’t taste bad, but he would never drink it willingly. He would rather go to the liquor store and do some shots instead. I said. ” wow. Throat burns. Holy shit.” K said it was like he drank some gasoline and someone threw a lit match on his throat.

And now, without any ado, our first epic phone fail:

“God seeps John Glenn. N says pooh damn. Franco would lot burn like that. Would rather romp trip to get the alcohol. K says damn you weren’t kindling. Like I drank gasoline and someone threw a match Ono t. Holy shit.”

  • Breakside Black: The tap blew.


  • Ale to the Chief: This is Breakside’s take on Obama’s honey ale recipe. N said it had a little bit of hops, but not much and there was a little bit of malt. It was good, but not too stand-out-ish. I said there was a kind of funky aftertaste. K said it was really light. N then said it was a little boring. We didn’t get much of the honey.
  • Oatmeal Stout: N said “Yes, an oatmeal stout. That is exactly what it is.” I thought it was pretty good with hints of chocolate. K agreed with N that it was indeed an oatmeal stout. Works as directed. A solid beer.
  • Oude Noir: N said it was slightly spiced, again comparing it to Stone’s Vertical Epic 11.11.11. The spice was not heavy, but it was there. I thought it reminded me of a beer I’ve had before, but I couldn’t place it. The spice goes away after a few sips. Phone says “L says Linda creamy.” I think K said it wasn’t bad and would drink it if someone bought it for him.


K: Chestnut Honey Bock on the second trip, Toro Read then Oude Noir or Cedarbaumbier on the third trip.

N: Dark Lager then the Neo-Creme Ale on the first trip, Chestnut Honey Bock then Italian Amber on the second trip, and the Pilsner then the IPA on the third trip.

B: Neo-Creme then Italian Amber on the first trip, Italian Amber on the second trip, and the Pilsner followed by the Woodlawn Pale Ale or Cedarbaumbier on the third trip.

If I didn’t know it, there are several decent beers on Breakside’s lineup.


They have a metric assload of good beers. Both locations are legit and we can’t pick out one beer that is terrible. They also have nice pint glasses with the cool Breakside logo and a pint fill line. If I can recall correctly, the Milwaukie location has 20-something taps, so there is definitely a pint on tap for everyone and any pint would be a wise choice.

The taster flight.

Milwaukie El Warehouse-o.

A blurry-ass pic of Milwaukie’s interior.

Brew area.

View from the door at Milwaukie.

Review: Base Camp Brewing

Base Camp Brewing Company is a fairly new brewery located at 930 SE Oak St. in PortlandThe place is one of the coolest breweries I’ve ever been into. They are all about the outdoors, as you may have guessed from the name and logo. I mean, they have a freaking canoe hanging above the bar. It’s all dented and probably doesn’t hold water anymore, but still, canoe. The bar and all of the tables are  made from rough-hewn logs that have been polished to a shine, and they use boulders for table legs. Those are the most secure tables in all of Portland.

Unfortunately, it looks like I’ll have to skip the snazzy Google Street View inset here, because the picture of Base Camp shows the building, but before Base Camp moved in and cleaned up the place. I’ll save you the nice view of a warehouse. You’ll figure it out, I have faith.

Unlike some of the other reviews that we’ve done, Base Camp is 100% about the beer. No food, unless you count the food truck out front (which you should). Rose City Brews has a definite pro-food-truck stance. In fact, that’s my platform for when I run for mayor (of Beaverton). My first royal edict shall be food trucks and craft beer for everybody! So I guess that’s pretty much business as usual for most of the Rose City…

Anywho, back to Base Camp. We were first there the day after the tasting room opened, which was lucky for us because we missed the huge crowds. It’s a great place to go when it’s not super busy (a.k.a. not on Zwickelmania). We’ve been back for the unveiling of their Acclimator Doppelbock, and a great time was had by all. The decorations and the layout really make the place. If I had a brewery, and it was going to have a tasting room, and I had a bunch of money to burn, this place is exactly what I would want it to look like. Granted, that’s a pretty specific set of circumstances, but who knows? Monopoly has bank errors in my favor all the time, it could happen…

The high ceilings, the wood everywhere, beams, tables, bars, the awesome outdoorsy pictures of people doing inspirational things like climbing mountains and brewing beer… it’s a wonderful place. Lots of natural light on the rare days when there’s natural light to be had in Portland. They also have the COOLEST growlers and bottles. Extruded stainless steel, they are. Not kidding about the coolest, I mean that quite literally, shit gets cold, yo. I had to by a growler of the Acclimator when we were there for the debut, the growlers are too awesome and the beer was too tasty.

The Beer:

  • Paolschenbier: I liked it, pretty tasty, and good an beer. K said “Yeah.” Good contribution, K. B said “Light. The end.” B also noted that there were orange-ish notes. It’s dry-hopped so it’s bitter up front and fades away to nice and mellow. I likened it to a hair cut that my friend had way back in elementary school: the pineapple. It’s a reverse mullet, party in front, business in the back. The haircut was awful, the beer is good. K also said it was like Rogue’s PSU IPA and water, nobody else agreed. There’s a story behind the PSU IPA and water thing: when we were at  Rogue one time, the bartender said he had a trick to show us. Usually that worries me, but eh, whatever. So he poured two tasters, one of half PSU IPA, half water and the other of Miller High Life. The two tasted the exact same. Mind. Blown. Also, for some reason B noted that K was talking about deep-throating beer. Not at all sure what to make of that, so, yeah…
  • In-tents IPL: IPL stands for India Pale Lager, by the way. B said, and I quote, “Bleh.” Both K and I liked it. It was like a good IPA, but with malt! B thought it was hoppy up front and more mild/malty toward the back end. Almost another pineapple haircut.
  • Out of Bounds Brown: B said this was kinda light for a brown. K (after cleansing his palate) thought it was a decent, generic brown ale but said it wasn’t “OMG I want this.” He said he would take a Sam Smith Nut Brown Ale or a Rogue Hazelnut Brown over this. I thought it was almost like a pale ale, slightly hoppy and bitter. Didn’t seem too much like a brown to me, but maybe I should’ve cleansed my palate pompously as well.
  • Hop Voyage: I found this a bit hard to describe. However, I think B said it best when she said “I’m about to become the Captain of the Hop Voyage.” She didn’t think it was very hoppy, which is kind of miraculous. I dunno what K thought, he must not’ve said anything terribly noteworthy or memorable.
  • S’more Stout: This one is all K’s. He stole the taster both times we went. He went full Gollum the second time, petting it and calling it “his precious.” I think he needs to get out more. K practically writes all these jokes for me with the crap he says. Ha! But seriously, this beer was awesome. They actually take a propane torch to a marshmallow and put it on the rim of the glass. It’s so hardcore and unexpected, but it totally completes the experience. The beer by itself is very espresso and dark, bitter chocolate, but if you have the marshmallow and the beer together it tastes like… wait for it… a S’more! Holy crap. The name is well deserved. This is the beer you need when you’re sitting in front of your fireplace, pipe in hand, wearing your smoking jacket while reading the financial news.
  • Northwest Fest: This is like a really mellow pale ale. The only taste is has is a mildly hoppy front end that just kind of fades away. At 28 IBUs, I guess that’s appropriate. K said it was kind of like the Paolschenbier, kind of like a weak IPA chased with water. I tend to agree with him on that one. B said “Yeah, flavor, and then it’s gone. Nothing special but drinkable.” Actually, her phone said printable instead of drinkable, but that’s what she meant, I swear.
  • Ripstop Rye Pilsner: 51 IBUs, but K thought it was less hoppy than the Northwest Fest and IPL. He said it finishes like a rye where it’s a little bitter. I thought this was a good case of does what it says on the tin. Smelled like a pilsner, looked like a pilsner, tasted like a pilsner, must be a duck. B didn’t believe the 51 IBU rating, she thought it was quite pilsner-y.

  • Belgian Session Ale: K thought this might have the aroma of a wheat beer. I smelled nothing, but I was a bit plugged up at the time. K said it was like a darker hefeweizen, orange included. I agree with that assessment, but it had a sour note, and that makes it far too close to a sour beer for my liking. The tasting notes said this beer is tart. B detected a hint of the sour as well, but said that that doesn’t mean this beer is in the same Zip code as a sour beer. She thought it was borderline good.
  • Prime Meridian IPA: This IPA has the same IBU rating as the IPL but with less malt. K wasn’t sure it was actually an IPA, more like just a pale ale. He also stated, “I don’t dare use my trademark phrase, but…” See our dictionary for that one. He thought  B thought this was the mellowest IPA ever. K thought that there were more bitter beers at the beginning of the flight, but this one is hoppy throughout, it doesn’t really taper off. Hops is the only flavor. In an IPA. Weird, right? I didn’t mind it in the slightest.
  • Acclimator Doppelbock: B’s phone decided at various points that this was called Alligator, Accelerator, or Acclimator. I like all of those names, but Base Camp seems pretty certain it’s called Acclimator, so we’ll go with that. K said that the hiking theme  of the brewery was appropriate here, as this will get you acclimated to drinking IPAs. B thought this was really good, didn’t taste hoppy to her. I think this is one of the best beers I’ve had. No idea what kind of malt it has in it, different from anything I’ve had before. Malty goodness throughout, and I’m a sucker for a good malty beer. Game over man, game over. I ended up buying a growler of this.


  • K: S’more Stout, both times we went. He said Belgian Session Ale was a distant second.
  • N: Definitely the Acclimator. If the Acclimator isn’t available, when I get done crying, I’ll have a S’more Stout.
  • B: The first visit, she picked the Hoptastic Voyage. She then stated “It’s a Christmas goddamn miracle I ordered a hop beer.” The second time, she chose the Acclimator and then the Ripstop Rye Pilsner.


We’re in a bit of a quandary about how to rate Base Camp. I think they’re one of the greatest things since bread, sliced or not. K stated a couple of times that Rogue might be on notice, they might lose the title of “Our Favorite Brewery.” He then took back this comment later, but still, it was said at the time. B disagrees wholeheartedly, she dislikes the lack of light beers. If/when they introduce a hefeweizen, wheat, golden, or blonde, we may have to revisit this issue. As it stands, I think the consensus is that Rogue edges Base Camp out, even though we haven’t reviewed Rogue on this site yet. Rogue has good beers, but every one of Base Camp’s beers is good, and the bar itself is a sight to behold. However, I’m only one of the three of us, and a majority I do not by myself make. Check out where each of us think Base Camp falls on our Top 10 here.

Overall, Base Camp is great. It is a solid brewery in a great location that is in walking distance to Green Dragon and Burnside Brewing. I would wager that Base Camp will stay in all of our Top 10 lists by the end of this journey.

A bar along one wall of Base Camp showing some cool artwork. 

Base Camp’s main bar. The canoe is above us. Note the torch for toasting marshmallows.

K cheesing it up over our tasters.

My awesome-tastic growler full of Acclimator.

The Ram Saga, Part 1

After writing up the draft of our review of the Ram, B came to me, and asked me to read through it before she posted it (and also to remind me that I have been slacking on writing my review of Two Kilts Brewing – coming soon, I swear!).  After relaying the line “I would rather go to Migration” to me, the fight began!

For those of you who don’t know B and myself, when we argue, it normally ends badly…we are both quite stubborn, so yielding on points rarely ever happens.  To sum it all up – we disagree, but we found some interesting stuff, which will require more research.

The crux of B’s argument is that the Ram doesn’t brew their beer in Oregon.  The challenge of this is a complete lack of information as to their true origins/history; their website says “locally brewed”, yet they have 20 locations across several states (including as far away as Indiana), and have the same beer list (hell, the exact same website, beyond the logo) as the CB & Potts Restaurant & Brewery in Colorado.  After a little poking around the world wide internets, we stumbled upon this screenshot from the website of our favorite social beer drinking app, Untappd:

Untappd Ram Page

Courtesy Untappd

Well, damn.  Looks like they are in Washington, and B is right.

But, if that’s the case, why does the Ram in Clackamas have a mash tun out front?

Courtesy Ram's Website

Courtesy Ram’s Website

It even looks like it might be plumbed into something; who would go through with that level of effort for a visual effect (who isn’t George Lucas or Michael Bay)?  It can’t be that easy…so, unwilling to give up the fight, and admit I’m wrong (see note above about being stubborn), I decided to keep searching their website.  Ram’s list of awards won at the Great American Beer Festival piqued my interest; I had been on the website before, and noticed they listed the state the beer was brewed in as part of their archives of winners.  Off to cross reference!  Let’s see…pull up GABF’s winner’s list, search Ram Restaurant…uh, what?

Courtesy Great American Beer Festival

Courtesy Great American Beer Festival

Either I’ve had WAY too much to drink today, or the “Ram Restaurant & Brewery” has won awards based on being in FIVE different states.

Thus concludes Part 1 of The Ram Saga. Part 2 shall commence whenever K finds the motivation to login and write shit.

Review: Migration Brewing

K, N, and I had gone to Migration, 2828 NE Glisan St, early-on our initial brewery tour when we first moved to Portland. Our tasting notes were not very amiable towards Migration’s beer, but we enjoyed the space very much. The first time we were there, K was convinced we had a mis-pour and upon receiving the correct taster, we discovered it was the same damn beer. So we were pretty certain that all their beers seemed to be labeled wrong and we vowed to never come back.

Cue my grad school friend and her partner: “Migration is awesome.” and “We love Migration.” and “They have good beers!” We decided to give good ol’ Migration one more chance just in case we were completely full of shit that one eventful day almost a year ago. So we went back to give them another chance to reclaim our taste buds. It sounded like a good plan at the time!

The environment at Migration is really cool. There is a tiny space with couches and a coffee table at one end of the brewpub, there is an area for darts and Timbers memorabilia span the walls. There are several t.v.s in the place too, always set on games of local sports teams and there are really good deals on pints and pitchers during happy hour and Timbers/Trailblazer games. As a side note, if you move the view in Google Maps to the right, there is totally a Ninkasi bus driving by. One cool point for Migration! Below is a sweet Google Map 360 pic of the interior.

On to the beers:

  • Bam Bam Amber: K apparently needed a water flush after tasting this for the first time. He wasn’t sure what he was tasting and didn’t know how to describe it other than “not wanting anymore.” It was almost the definition of “an beer.” N says there was a bit of malt but this beer is probably the most inoffensive way to put alcohol into your body. I said it was inoffensive and nothing more.
  • Clem’s Cream Ale: K asks “Is it just me, or does this smell like popcorn?” He was expecting a creamy taste, but someone must have forgotten that part. We all agree that this might be the MPA instead because it is not creamy in the slightest. N said “What a weak ass pilsner” and I said it wasn’t anything special. This beer was a significant improvement over the Kolsch, but we still wouldn’t willingly drink it. Basically, it is Miller High Life with soda water.
  • Feel the Rath: As N took a sip, he shuddered and passed it along. He said it was worse than Epic’s 11.11.11 (even though that beer is not bad, it just has a lot going on). K said it was halfway in between the 11 Epic and Old Market’s Hot Tamale (which we lovingly call “Fire Beer!”). K said it actually wasn’t that bad but there was no way he could drink a whole pint. I said that tasting this is painful. None of us could finish the taster.
  • Migration Pale Ale: N said it was a nice change of pace from the other beers on the flight. It tasted like a pale (“It does what it says on the tin!“) but also a bit hoppy. K informed us all then that the water jug had a mustache. He also tried the beer and said that it was relatively subdued: “the bark is worse than the bite.” I said that it is definitely a pale ale but it would not be my flagship beer, although so far, it was the best.
  • Old Silenus: Smells the best! English bitter style. K said it wasn’t bad. More notable than the Bam Bam but a little too bitter for his tastes. N said it was the only beer so far that he could do an entire pint of and the truest described thus far. I thought it was incredibly bitter and couldn’t drink too much of it. We agreed that this beer brought the entire review back to neutral from shittown.
  • Terry’s Porter: K said it was a bit overwhelming. It wasn’t a porter, but more like a CDA… either that or he had all sorts of bitter left over from the Old Silenus. K’s second sip was reported to be not nearly as bad but still very bitter for a porter. N said it was really malty (phone: malter) and really bitter (phone: bilty). He also called it “Baby’s first porter.” The highest praise I could give was that it wasn’t horrible. There are no discernible tones of coffee, toffee, or chocolate.
  • PDX Kolsch: K said this is a boat beer, but not a boat beer that he would ever want! It is too light to be an ESB, but wow, was it bitter. I thought it was interesting.
  • Luscious Lupulin IPA: Hoppy and a true IPA. K did not like it but it had nothing to do with how hoppy it was. It just wasn’t good.
  • Redbier: Not awesome, but not bad either. N said there was a cask aged smell. We agreed that it was nothing to write home about and that it had a slight malt. A weak red beer.
  • Black Hearted CDA: K was disappointed. He didn’t exactly know what the brewer was aiming for with this beer. N said it was a great IPA but not enough malt. I kind of liked it.
  • Black Hearted on Nitro: This beer made K make an awful face! He reported there was a nitro funk taste and N said it was okay. I thought it was okay too, although I would prefer it on the regular tap.


  • K: Terry’s Porter. The second round, K picked the wood of the taster tray and then the Bam Bam Amber, only if there was a gun to his head.
  • N: Black Hearted CDA. Second time, he picked Old Silenus.
  • B: Redbier. I chose the Bam Bam Amber on the second trip, only if someone forced me to drink a pint.


There is a food menu here, but we did not stay longer than required. Our final reflection on our experience is that we are disappointed. We really wanted to like Migration. It made K feel like he could be a homebrew success and N said there were too many hipsters. If there was one beer I could drink a pint of, it would be a fun place to catch a game, however… no one will ever find us there again.

Blurry outdoor picture of Migration Brewing.

Next door!

Migration’s interior.

Cozy couch area with TV.

Taster Tray! Too bad it sucked.


Review: Stickmen Brewery & Skewery

Our second review, hot damn. Located at 40 N State St in the posh and least diverse area of Portland ever Lake Oswego, the brewery itself seems to be an old boat house of some sort with a patio overlooking the bay. Parts of the location look older (some of the bathrooms are incredibly tiny and kind of sketch) and there is a domed foyer.

Our first experience at this brewery was, in a word, terrible. Don’t let that dissuade you, faithful readers, because it definitely improved.

Stickmen is a relatively new brewery. The owners spent several years in Japan, drinking beers and eating amazing food, which was their inspiration for their food menu. They have 24 taps, which are currently flowing a few of their house beers with more in the works. We learned that the brewery suffered a fire weeks before opening and their initial brewing set up came damaged.

As crappy as that is, they are now in the process of perfecting their brewing recipes. Our first visit, on a Friday night, was insanely busy. It took at least a half hour to be seated and then longer still for menus and beer. Our amazing server, noticing we were clearly thirsty, poured our beers herself because the bartender was backed up.

Then, everything changed. We had beers. I accidentally received a full pint of Two Town’s Incider, which is all right in my book. Thank the Lord. Then came the food. Continue the praise! We were able to sample the few Stickmen brews that were available.

On to the beer:

  • American Brown: K said it was good and slightly bitter. He is biased by Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown and naturally expects a nutty flavor, which is not in the flavor palette of Stickmen’s Brown. N said, according to my Droid Charge: “it was a little poppy with a bit of bitter, not in a happy way.” Phone “success.” Translation: It had less hops and more bitter, almost like an ESB. I said that there was a malt front with not too much of an aftertaste. My exact wording was “Malt, good. Brown, good. Yum.” There I go, all concise with my words and shit. We all decided it was pretty tasty.
  • Calibration Pale Ale: K said it was the best pale ale ever. I said it was the best pale ale ever. Holy shit, we’ve agreed on something! In all honesty, when K says it is the best ever,  it may or may not actually be the best ever. When I say it, it is gospel. Best. God. Damn. Pale. Ale. Of. My. Life. No. Shit. N said there was a slight aftertaste but very bearable. Pale Ales usually have a distinct aftertaste, but this one is very subtle.
  • Cascadian Dark Stout: Brand new, just out of the tanks. N said it could pass as a CDA since it was so dark and hoppy. K said yep, hops. Drinkable but a little overpowering. I thought it was interesting, but not something I would ever willingly drink. The beer is getting better with every passing day.
  • IPA  v0.1: East coast style IPA, so not so hoppy. We learned there is a waiting list to get certain styles of hops so this brew was made with whatever they had on hand. I don’t remember much of the taste of this one, hoppy and IPA. Nuff said for B and N liked the name.
  • Buona Mattina Porter: Still brewing. We had a sample of it tonight although it is still in the oven ‘a cookin’. Made with Illy coffee from Italy. N said it smelled like good espresso. Our review of this beer shall be on hold until we can try the legit brew soon. The name means “good morning” in Italian and as of 2/9, it is officially ready for consumption!
  • Also on tap, New Belgium Stout: K said it was beautiful and amazing. N said it was wonderful. I ran out of adjectives to describe it but damn, smooth. There was a coffee taste but I could actually drink it all. Literally, all that has ever been made. Apparently it is 11% ABV but we decided we could drink this for the rest of our lives. K was sad and I think I saw him shed a tear when the taster was empty. Sad day.

Pints, pints, pints, pints, pints, pints, everybody!

K: He actually ordered the Brown before we had tasters, so who knows what his pint would have been at the end of the tasting. Channeling his inner “jackass,” K ordered a Hendrick’s and Tonic with a splash of St. Germain. If anyone orders that, the awesome bartender will come looking for you thinking it was K.

N: Calibration Pale Ale.

B: If I had to pick a Stickmen beer, it would be the Calibration Pale Ale. I actually ordered Two Town’s Incider, also known as the sweet nectar of the gods.


Skewery is in the name, so order some damn skewers. They are We ordered a bunch of food including some main course dishes. Favorite skewers of ours are the Beef and Wasabi, Chicken Breast, and Bacon and Cheese. One word of advice, order the Ho’tasian Buns. Now. Go there now, and order some. If you don’t, we will eat them all. Not joking, we did on the day of the Superbowl. Their flatbread was kind of meh. K’s actual words was that it follows the law of diminishing returns.

Happy hour has some decent specials. $3 Stickmen pints and $1 off non-house pints. Also available are several food options with some skewers with rice as a bento and a large portion of chips and salsa for reasonable prices.


We’re movin’ in. The owners and staff are incredibly cool and very friendly. They recognize us since we came in three times over the course of a week. We just can’t stay away and wouldn’t even if they got restraining orders. We would find a way. We’re also not creepy in the slightest.

Stickmen Brewery & Skewery view from the foyer.

Stickmen seating looking over the kitchen. The bar is up the stairs to the right.

Pints (and E’s lovely scarf as a backdrop)!

More Pints!

Review: Old Town Brewing

I now declare this website… OPEN!

Kicking it off for our inaugural review, we have Old Town Brewing. Located at 5201 NE Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, this place is awesome as soon as you see it. Outside is their awesome van and even more awesome pizza-delivery bike.

However, no matter how tempted I was to go for a ride on a cool pizza bike, we weren’t there to hang out on the sidewalk. Oh yeah, and it was cold. So we went in.

To describe my first impression of the place in one word, it would be: rustic. If I may be so bold as to venture two words: really rustic. This place kinda looks like my old barn, except with less hay everywhere, no cats, and at least one fewer car. And the roof isn’t falling in. So, not actually so much like my barn, I guess.

There is a lot of natural light, thanks to the fact that most of the walls are actually garage doors. There’s a really spiffy fireplace along on wall by the bar that you can see in the photo below. That’s the kind of fireplace that makes me feel the need for a wingback chair, a smoking jacket, slippers, and a pipe. I don’t even smoke, that’s just how cozy this place seems.

Right inside the door to the left is a well-worn, beat up old couch that looks really comfy. It reminded me of a fainting couch, actually. Go on, Google it… I’ll wait…

See what I mean? Pretty cool, I know. Anyhow, we were sat down in a booth and got to looking at the menu. The booths are kind of small for 3 or 4 people, but we managed. They had 8 beers on tap; of course, we had to order a taster tray. I’m pretty sure that’s required by Oregon law the first time you visit an establishment. If it isn’t, well then, if any State Senators or Representatives happen to be reading this, get on that. We didn’t get a picture of the tasters, but suffice it to say, they looked taster-y. It’s amazing how much like a taster tray it looked. The spitting image of one, if I do say so myself.

A word of warning, if these tasting notes seem to be rambling, wandering, stream-of-consciousness nonsense, blame B. I’m going off of notes she took on her phone.

On to the beer:

  • Pilsner: I thought it was quite light; I liked it a lot. K said it was a borderline boat beer, a BBQ beer perhaps. I thought it was a good beer to have with dinner. B said, and I quote, “Easy drinking USA, God bless America.” Make of that what you will…
  • Amber Wheat: Malty for a wheat beer. Tasty. This place is already well above the Mendoza Line. One of the darkest wheat beers K said he has ever seen. Malty in a wheat way instead of barley.
  • Pale Ale: “Barely happy no extraneous bitterness. Batting.” Ok, now I will try and translate the auto-corrected amazingness that is that note. It was barely hoppy, with no extraneous bitterness. No idea why it was batting, or what it was batting at, however…
  • IPA: Apparently B had too much to drink already… I’m just gonna paste what her notes say here: “b says pale ale had lore alternate than this. Not bad for an Ipa!” What she meant to say was that it was a pretty smooth IPA, easy to drink without being overpowering. I’m pretty much the only one of us that like IPA’s at all…
  • Irish Red: K said it smelled malty, and he thought it was exactly what an Irish Red should be: a little malty. B said it had the prefect balance of hops and malt. I thought it was good, not much else to say about that one.
  • Dark Selection Imperial Stout: At 8.7% it’s not tooooo Imperial. I at first thought it was more coffee than chocolate, but K said it was chocolate, just not the usual kind. It was more like unsweetened baker’s chocolate. B said it was smooth and she could drink it because it wasn’t coffee, just bitter chocolate.
  • Brewer’s Selection CDA: Really smooth. K said it was like the red but increased both the hops and the malt. He didn’t think it was bad, but it was too hoppy for him. The consensus was that it was a pretty good example of a CDA, pretty darn textbook.
  • Scotch-ish Ale: Not on the menu pictured, but was on our taster tray. I thought it had a lot of malt, and was sweet, almost like caramel. K said B didn’t get to have any, he was claiming the rest for himself. B did get to have some, and she thought it was a great dessert beer. There needs to be an Imperial version of this, served in a snifter. Preferably in front of that awesome fireplace.

Now for a little game we always play after having a taster tray. It’s called Name Your Pint. There are no wrong answers, yet sometimes it’s still a difficult game. The rules are simple, you pick your favorite beer, the one you would choose if you were going to get a pint. See? Simple. I bet everyone has played that game at some point. Now you know what to call it. You’re welcome.


  • Me: Amber wheat, Pilsner, or CDA. Really anything on the taster. Also of note, the first time I’ve ever declared a wheat beer to be my pint.
  • K: Irish Red
  • B: Pilsner


Pizza. Definitely the pizza. Out-of-this-world pizza. They make good pizza, is what I’m saying. We had the House. It’s their signature pizza, with pepperoni, salami, mushrooms, olives, bell peppers, and house made sausage.

Also, the garlic knots. Best appetizer I ever had, at least that day. Fire on the Mountain, you’re on notice… their garlic knots are better.

While writing this, we discovered that the place is supposedly haunted by a slave girl named Nina, was frequented by actor Willem Dafoe and former TrailBlazer Bill Walton. So there’s that too. Pretty cool, I’d say.


Can’t wait to go back. There’s not much higher praise I can give.

I'm not usually one for panel vans...

I’m not usually one for panel vans…but, sweet ride.

Is it just me, or does this look like it handles like a river barge?

Is it just me, or does this look like it handles like a river barge?

Did I mention the place is rustic?

Fainting couch and fireplace

I'm not sure what chemicals Norwood make, but they make for good pizza...

Old Town’s interior. Huge and cozy.

I really wanted to play that organ...

The booth we sat in is just left of center

Always a good sign when the beer menu has beer spilled on it.

Always a good sign when the beer menu has beer spilled on it.

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