Hopworks Urban Brewery
Ratings: 91 | Reviews: 49 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by benito:
4.22/5 rDev +0.2%
There is something stand-offish about many of the commercial property along Powell Blvd. Maybe it's that the strip malls come in series, and the street feels like a necessary evil and very un-Portland. It is the last place I would have expected to find a good brewpub, much less a great one.
Hopworks is not only able to overcome its undesirable location; it actually improves the area. Somehow, the blocks between SE 25th and 33rd seem better off than the rest of Powell. In fact, Hopworks is one of Portland's finest brewpubs--maybe the one with the consistently best beer.
The brewery is in a large stand-alone building with an empty storefront adjacent to it--it is unclear if HUB is going to do something with this in the future, and there is still a rental sign in one of the windows.
Hopworks does have a certain 'urban' feel inside. The large bar area in the front half of the restaurant is decorated with bike frames, a fireplace, and there is even an old 'bank vault' style VIP room. The back half is the restaurant proper, and there is a play area for kids. In addiiton, there's upstairs and outside (two deck) seating. This place gets packed during happy hour and dinner time and seems to draw a lot of young familes and folks in their 30s and 40s. I wish the interior were better divided, as it tends to feel cavernous and impersonal. But that's a minor detraction.
Christian Ettinger, the owner and brewer, keeps six regular beers on tap (lager, IPA, pale ale, esb, stout, and the "deluxe organic ale," a sort of strong ale) as well as two or three seasonals as a time. The beers consistently range from good to excellent, and many are outstanding: I'm particularly a fan of the lager (pils), IPA, ESB, and stout; it's nice to see a brewery cover its bases so well and offer great beer for any drinking mood. Their seasonals tend to run to fairly conventional styles, but they are always strong. Their fresh-hopped festbier and scotch-aged barleywine were highlights of this past fall's offerings. The high quality of brews across the board makes HUB a great option for introducing newbies to craft beer, since they won't be put off by stylistic imperfections or bad examples of craft beer.
The food is pizza-focused, and like most Portland pizza, it tends to run pretty pricey. There's a good happy hour option (every day, including late night) with a good variety of choices at under $4.
X-factors? Check out the 'head rest' bike seats in the men's room, an impressive selection of Belgian bottles, and bright colored logo wear.
For out of towners, this should be near the top of your brewpub list for Portland: it is a must-visit gem that showcases some of Portland's finest brews.
12-22-2008 00:34:18 | More by benito
More User Reviews:
Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland, OR
93 out of 100 based on 91 ratings.