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.