Rose City Brew Review

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

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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