Roots Organic Brewery
Ratings: 17 | Reviews: 17 | Display Reviews Only:
4.13/5 rDev +13.2%
Still bumming round and around Portland some. The easy pockets of brewpub on every corner have been exhausted; we have to work for them now. Roots is another in the "I think there's a brewpub tucked in this industrial strip here somewhere" kind of places. We're getting real good at findin' them though. Brewpub, you can no hide...
You enter down this funny kind of ramp that runs all the way down to the rear, and there's a lower bar area off to the left half way down. An "L" shaped bar seating 9 rests on the inside wall just below the ramp and holds an 8 tap tower up front with mini surfboard shaped tap handles. The tap selections are written on a blackboard behind the bar, and brewery shirts, pictures 7 photos on the bar back wall. There's a small kitchen area down the back end of the bar and a water cooler there for "Go get your own". The walls are painted green, yellow, brick & blue, and are adorned with crazy local artwork. There's a great mosaic Roots Brewing Co. tile piece on the side wall, a big bamboo Roots Brewing piece in the far corner next to mounted German mash rakes, and a big flatscreen on the rear wall. Spots & sunken lighting, colored drop lamps over the bar, and ceiling fans above. 5 picnic tables adjacent to the bar, a 3 seat bar counter along the forward end, and an elevated front nook with more bar counter space. To the back back, 3 picnic tables out front a small glass front brew room lined above with guest brewery bottles. And a half dozen small tables out front on the street.
7 beers, all organic, and I found the selection to be most Cambridgeish. 6 came on the sampler. The Island Red, East Kent Golding & Fuggle, had a little toffee about it; the Sharkbite Impy IPA was assertive, came in at 8.9%; the Rye had a nice rye flavor coming through; the Exxxcaliber Impy Stout, 8.6%, had a slight inkiness, oaty, smooth, nice flavor; the Burghead Heather Ale was hopless, and done up with heather tips; and the Gruit Kolsch was herby, pleasant, much like Baker's '03 gruit. Didn't get to try the Woody IPA. I thought the Exxxcaliber Impy Stout, Rye & Gruit Kolsch were the best of the lot. Good beers for the most part.
Caught a light bite here. The jerk rubbed smoked pork wrap was damn good, and came with some solid ruffled chips. Decent little place, kind of surfshackish, all tiki and surfer girl. Kinda cool, definitely worth a look.
10-22-2007 22:14:29 | More by slander
4.06/5 rDev +11.2%
Being new to the city, I have only been to Roots twice, but have enjoyed both visits. I really enjoyed the laid back island vibe, very unpretentious with the picnic tables and all. Only 1 TV, but it is a nice, well placed flat-screen, and the 1 dart board is real, not one of those plastic ones I hate. Very warehouse feel with the brewing equipment that is visible. The servers seemed nice enough, but the second time I visited, for the release of their 5th winter ale, the Triple, I had both brewers/owners (?) come up and chat with me in my wife in a very genuine manner for quite some time, even buying us a beer. That immediately bumped this place up high on my list of Portland brewpubs I've enjoyed so far. They had really good jazz band playing that night too, and the volume levels were spot on for a bar of this size. I've had all of their winter ales and their Red...none were bad, but the Triple, Epic, and RIS all stood out as really being well done. The fact that they delayed the release of their Triple by a week or two from the originally scheduled date indicated to me that these guys cared more about the quality of their beer then other places who might just rush stuff out. Also, the fact that a lot of the beers weren't just standard British style ales appealed to me, as I appreciate a sense of adventure with brewing. I will say that the food menu was a bit to thin and granola looking to entice me thus far...
02-02-2007 19:17:31 | More by ccrida
4/5 rDev +9.6%
I like the vibe of this place. It's a good spot to go and enjoy beers with friends. The last time I went, there was a great selection of music playing...probably the bartenders choice. It made the atmosphere very personal and enjoyable.
The nice, long bar, and tables to sit at add a nice flavor to the place. The location is good and there is a reasonable amount of room inside to enjoy some beer. However, it is a bit buried and hard to find if you don't look carefully. I drove by it twice the first time I was looking for it...maybe it was just me but I think the place could benefit from stronger signage...especially in the evening.
The beers here are good stuff. I don't go here as often as I should and this review is reminding me of that.
03-12-2010 06:10:35 | More by djbreezy
3.98/5 rDev +9%
Roots is a nice brewpub to stop into every once in a while. The atmosphere is unique, their mash tun and kettle are off to the right as you walk in with their tanks on display in as well. Mostly picnic tables set up along the door with a nice TV usually displaying a sports game. Most of the decor is themed in the vain of Jamaican type style, lots of red, yellow and green. Their tap handles are all surfboards.
The service is always very friendly, talkative and always ready to explain Craig's latest concoction. Roots always has some innovative beers to be had, from their coconut porter, chamomile beer, to their unhopped heather ale.
The food is nothing too great. Just some usual pub food for a decent price. Veggie burgers served on bagels, pizza, chips, etc.
Always reasonably priced. Pints are pretty standardly priced. Certainly worth checking out for the Portlander or the visitor.
01-15-2007 02:47:36 | More by Matthew
3.86/5 rDev +5.8%
This was our last stop on our second day in Portland, we walked here from the hotel which was a little over a mile away, we had rode our bikes here earlier in the day but they did not open until 3 pm unfortunately, so be cautious of that, this place was pretty crowded around 9 pm, we found a table near the entrance and hung out for a little over an hour, when I got up to go the bathroom I saw some barrels off to the right, could not tell what was in them but definitely got curious, they brew right in the back of this place, you can walk up to all the equipment, there is a lot of room in here for growth too, on my walk back to the table I saw a fridge with a few bottled Belgian beers like St. Feuiliien and Saison Dupont, found this interesting, too bad they did not have any of their other bottled beers available other than Woody IPA or Island Red which were already on tap anyways, had six taps total and one of them was a guest tap of Alameda Black Bear Stout, real mellow vibe in here and certainly centered around being organic, you can expect that type of crowd too, bartenders were nice and talked to us about their beers for a few minutes, liked this place for sitting back and relaxing, more of an easy going brewpub unlike a lot of the others we visited in Portland, three ten ounce glasses were twelve dollars, not too bad but not good either, their Excalibur Stout was awesome, the other two we had were the Red and pale ale which could both be skipped next time, was hoping to find some of their seasonals on tap but they did not have any at the time, heard they make some cool chili beers along with a monsterous beer called Epic Ale that is supposed to be quite good too, would go back here especially if some of their more interesting stuff was on draft, recommended
06-09-2009 02:11:38 | More by Floydster
3.86/5 rDev +5.8%
First stop on a two-day beer tour of Portland.
We were in pretty early, right around noon, and we were the only ones there besides the girl behind the bar. She was a little aloof, but she answered questions about the brewery and the beers and the neighborhood, and we didn't sit with an empty glass at all.
The place is small and interesting, very into the Jamaica vibe. Sound system is good quality and of course they're playing Bob Marley.
I had Epic and Woody, my wife had their EXXXCalibur Imperial Stout and Heather. Heather was surprisingly good and EXXXCaliber was very good, my two didn't blow me away but they were tasty.
I think they only have about six taps and one was out while we were there, but the Epic is much cheaper on tap so I forgive them.
I enjoyed the place, but since it's a long way out of my way, I probably won't go back. I'm willing to try some of their other beers that I didn't try while I was there, though.
02-02-2010 14:44:42 | More by snaotheus
3.83/5 rDev +4.9%
This place was right around the block from Lucky Lab so we stopped in to check it out and to see if they had food...which they did.
Not much going on inside, its pretty basic with the brewing stuff pretty much out in the open, which was cool.
We sat at the bar, which will make you feel very small, and had some pints (another place that pours imperial pints...love it). The beers were decent and I sampled some of their stronger stuff. Our bartender was very nice and she offered samples of anything we wanted.
Food at this place was awesome. I had their "Street Tacos" which were excellent.
They had some reggae playing which made the vibe cool while we ate and drank. Cool place, glad I got to check it out.
02-22-2009 19:18:04 | More by indiapaleale
3.8/5 rDev +4.1%
The inside of the Roots establishment is that of a local watering hole. There is good ambiance and you are not far away from the stills. There is a nice size tv and some board games to use you time and enjoy the food and beer.
I enjoyed the four styles I had while I was there. The quality of the brews was good. The service is the only thing that isn't great about this joint. There was only 1 guy pouring and taking orders and the other was making the food for over 40 people. So you had to go to the bar. Woe is me.
The selection of brews and food was varied and food was prepared well with fresh ingredients. I had the quesadilla and italian sandwich which were tasty. Overall it is a place I think you should visit if you are on the eastside.
02-03-2008 07:45:13 | More by cswhitehorse
3.76/5 rDev +3%
Atmosphere here is cool without being overdone. Small brewpub with one guy behind the bar; walk-up bar service only. Most of the seating is picnic tables. There was a live band on the small stage in this (small) place and while the music wasn't bad it prevented any conversation except between songs. The beer was okay, most were solid brews but just didn't find anything I really liked. The Pale Ale was nice and so was the IPA, but just didn't stand out in this town. The "Heather" was quite nice and drinkable despite having no hops. Festivus Winter ale was a great big malty winter warmer with a generous dose of hops, the best of the beers I tried here. There was an Imperial Stout on nitro that was pretty thin and really not good. Also a special Golden ale that had nice Belgian yeastiness with crisp carbonation and an odd tannic mouthfeel was noteworthy. Did not try the food. The bartender was friendly and knowledgeable.
03-24-2008 01:12:07 | More by BeerZack
3.63/5 rDev -0.5%
With a couple months under their belt, things are shaping up nicely for Roots. As you may have surmised, all their brews are organic, and they show potential for creating unorthodox styles; their heather ale (no hops) is already on tap. This progressive attitude is mixed in with a vacation-y, spring break-y beach ambience (the tap handles are mini surfboards) to provide a stilted but inviting atmosphere. The space is bisected by an overly dramatic ramp which suggests they are hoping to move a lot of product out the front door. To the right is the spacious brewing area and some large holding tanks. On the other side is the small pub, with a very tall bar made of recycled floorboards, a few picnic tables and some smaller cafe-style tables.
On last visit, they had 5 beers (pale, red, IPA, nitro stout, heather) and 3 guests (Amnesia, Lucky Lab, Hair of the Dog). The red and heather ales were the most interesting. The music was Caribbean in flavor but not really reggae; it was pretty lousy but fortunately it wasn't obtrusive. The acoustics were also not too great but this is only a problem if a table gets really rowdy. All their brews were solid with the sole detriment of being a bit too yeasty. In some cases, like the full-bodied red ale, it suits the beer but I would have liked a lighter, filtered pale ale for instance. Food was unambitious but fine, with Hot Lips personal pizzas and sandwiches like what you would make for yourself at home. The bartender was outgoing; she let those sitting at the tables know they should come up to the bar to order, and she was graciously apologetic when a keg blew on someone's growler fill. On the way home I realized she overcharged me but it's my fault for not saying anything. Pints are imperial, $4.25 except on Tuesdays and happy hour when they are $2.50. They are also open for lunch, despite what their website says.
With two creative, skilled brewers, a devotion to organic and herbal beers, and a murmur about bottling in the future, I'd say at this point the most exciting thing about Roots is its potential. Let's hope we can look forward to Nicholls' kolsch, McAdam's pilsner, and a bunch of unusual beers that haven't been imagined yet.
06-10-2005 03:50:22 | More by Thrasher
Roots Organic Brewery in Portland, OR
86 out of 100 based on 17 ratings.