Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub
Ratings: 51 | Reviews: 22 | Display Reviews Only:
4.54/5 rDev +4.6%
Finally had occassion to visit this notable (now) beer landmark in West Portland. To say I was impressed would be a huge understatement.
The Raccoon Lodge doesn't look like much from the outside, just another informal looking cafe/restaurant in strip mall land out on hiway 10 (Beaverton-Hillsdale hiway). Things don't get a whole lot better upon walking inside, with the large upstairs dining room and smaller, cozier, informal dining area and small bar on the ground floor. This place is anything but pretentious, and has a very relaxed, laid back, easygoing vibe.
The regular core beers here were OK I thought, with the spiced blond and nightfall sour ale the clear standouts. Was here for a meet up wth ccrida for an in person trade, and when he arrived we cracked open a bottle of the cuvee (fabulous stuff - review coming). As Adam (ccrida) lives nearby and comes by fairly often, the bartender was happy to arrange a tour for us of the awesome barrel room at Cascade. The beers we were able to sample were nothing short of mind blowng, with a bourbon barrel aged triple, the "red," and the apricot blend the most memorable of an incredible afternoon of tasting. I think we sampled close to 10 different beers, all right out of the barrel (except the apricot, which was in bright tanks and almost ready to bottle - get some!). The folks here were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable, and I'm happy to report that apparently the move to the east side barrel room is going as planned. The guys indicated that nearly half the barrels have already been moved, and it appears the January opening will take place as planned.
What the brewers here are doing with their wild ales (infected with lactic acid I believe; they do not use brett infections) is nothing short of amazing. The beers here are incredible and worth a special effort to find. Also, while they typically have around 10 beers on tap, on this day they also had bottles of the cuvee, kriek and apricot (and one other - I forget what it was now) for take out or on premise consumption.
The beers here, at least the barrel aged sours, are nothing short of amazing and deserving of all the accolades this outstanding brewery has received of late. It's a bit out of the way from downtown Portland (probably a 15 minute drive), but is well worth the effort to visit.
12-02-2009 16:06:45 | More by John_M
4.4/5 rDev +1.4%
One of the musts of my visit to Portland, the beers did not disappoint... as the reviews here can attest. This was around noon on a Sunday so many people weren't there. The place had a rustic vibe to it. Service at the upper level bar was ok, but the guy on the lower level was exemplary, giving me a beer after a visit and even offering to photograph me in the brewery. I didn't try any food there because I had to hit a Burgerville up the street. I was told of the Barrelhouse downtown and would probably visit there before this, especially on a Tuesday night when they run specials. Note: same beers, no condemnation of the place, just a better taste of the city and of the beers.
11-13-2011 07:24:55 | More by MilwaukeeCrusher
5/5 rDev +15.2%
I do not even know where to start with this place, Drake and I were complaining about how long of a rail/bus ride it was from where we were staying in Portland but none of that mattered by the time we left here, just to give an overview of what this place is like, the eating area and bar is upstairs, the brewing area is downstairs with a den-style bar outside of it as well, they sell bottles of Cuvee, Apricot, Blackberry, Kriek, Vine, and Sang Royal currently, they have an awesome outdoor area with a bunch of tables, grass area, and barbeque pit, you cannot beat the atmosphere here, I will start off by saying that Ron and Curtis are two of the funnest brewers to be around of all time, as well as being very generous and inviting, we got here around 11:30 am and did not leave until well after 6:00 pm, that is saying a lot for how short of a time slot we had for the trip, this was hands down my favorite beer stop in Oregon, and perhaps ever, I went here with the expectation of trying a new beer or two, not a couple dozen, Ron came out of the brewing area to greet us, then we sat down at a small bar and some of the famed Mouton Rouge, great sour by the way, we started talking and soon realized that his daughter goes to the same very small school Drake and I graduated from, quite the coincidence, we had a few more beers there including a Belgian porter called Bain de Brugge and then Vienna Delight, then we "angered" Ron and he took us into the barrel room where over one hundred and thirty oak beasts currently reside, plans for three hundred total in the future, we grab a snifter and start tasting stuff straight from the wood, one of only a few times I have ever done this anywhere and it was simply awesome, we tried several things that have not been released yet and might not ever will, after that we made our way into the freezing cold storage room where I tried my favorite beer of the whole trip called Gold Yeller, wow that is an amazing sour and will sure wow people when it is released, we had some other great things in there like Nightfall and their Saison as well, later on we went outside and talked about our beer experiences and opened some vintages of his Apricot and Vlad the Impaler which I had enjoyed previously at last year's Strong Ale Festival in Carlsbad, later on we went back inside and had a bottle of a 2005 vintage barleywine that Drake and Ron had grabbed out of their storage room, we had a few more beers and some food, talked some more, and then were on our way, I could not even believe what we were able to see and do here, their beer is absolutely amazing and it frustrates me that it does not get the respect it deserves yet, give it time though as people will start to figure out how good this stuff really is, they do not use brettanomyces in their beer but the lacto they use gets better results in my opinion, it is also easier to work with and allows to experiment more and more, I expect huge things from this brewery in the future and hope I can keep in touch with these guys, I can go on and on and on about how much of a blast IO had at this place, do yourself a favor and pay them a visit
06-05-2009 00:24:57 | More by Floydster
4.15/5 rDev -4.4%
Rolled in bright and early at 11am. Upstairs walk, cool open restaurant and bar, neat hop stuff going on around it. Lots of wood throughout the seating area.
Super impressed to drink the Vine on tap, delicious. Bartender super helpful, poured samplers of anything we wanted to try first. Broke out some Vlad for purchase, damn was that some good stuff.
Even picked up a little shirt for the little guy, $7 out the door, what a deal.
Massive plate of nachos that were good. This is a lesser known place in the area compared to the Rogues and Deschutes, but damn if they don't deliver. Not a big fan of their ipa's, but the barrel aged sours is the real treat here. Can't go wrong w/ the kriek, apricot, vine or vlad, especially when they are only $5.50 on tap.
07-19-2011 18:56:48 | More by Beerandraiderfan
3.4/5 rDev -21.7%
The Raccoon Lodge is not a lodge as such, for there is no actual lodging. The original plan called for guest suites but apparently local zoning regulations nixed the idea. The "Lodge" itself consists of a restaurant / lounge upstairs and a full service sportsbar downstairs. There's also a balcony overlooking the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, and a secluded back patio and beer tent.
The upstairs restaurant has lodge-like decor with a casual ambiance that is tasteful if you dont mind lots of dead animals mounted on the walls. Also displayed are photos of boys sports teams that the lodge sponsors. The Raccoon either doesn't sponsor girls teams or prefers not to exhibit their photos.
It would appear that the owner of the place is a gun enthusiast. That would explain the animal heads and the Smith and Wesson memorabilia. Some people will find the mounted brass placard of the second amendment of questionable taste.
Downstairs is a full wet bar with two pool tables, video gaming machines and a large screen television. An enormous plate-glass wall allows viewing of the adjacent brewery. Theres one real dartboard, one real piano, no neon, and several dysfunctional air filters that fail to clear the air of cigarette smoke. I have it from a reliable source that the owner wont replace the filters and prefers to pressure wash them at infrequent intervals.
I happened to have met a patron of the Raccoon who does occasional work for them. He gave me a complete tour of the brewing facility and spoke very highly of the brewer, a man named Ron Gansberg. To hear my cohort tell it, Mr. Gansberg is quite a renaissance man. He not only brews beer but designs and engineers brewing apparatus. He also does all the on-site welding for which I can attest he possesses considerable skill. I'm also told that Gansberg used to make wine, speaks three or four different languages, and plays a toe-tapping mandolin.
So, how is the beer? Most of the beer at the Raccoon Lodge is passable but not exciting. Mr. Gansberg has a passion for occasional excursions into the territory of strong, well-aged, and barrel-conditioned beers of bold dimensions and ambitious character. These efforts are not always successful, but I cant help but admire their intrepid determinations. Its like a quarterback whos not afraid to throw deep: greater risk, greater drama, and occasional payoff. I had a fine cask conditioned imperial IPA on one occasion, but most other beers failed to stir my imagination. The beer lines at Raccoon must stretch at least eighty feet from the cold storage room to the tap. Eighty feet can make a strong beer tired. The drinkers best bet is one of the rotating seasonals. As for food, the wings I had were greasy but Im sure the restaurant has more appetizing offerings.
06-16-2004 03:00:51 | More by RedDiamond
4.26/5 rDev -1.8%
Visited several times the last couple of months and wanted to share the love, especially after their fine showing at HAF.
I went in early afternoon both times while the better half was shopping at nearby mega-mall. They had their usual selection of taps, plus an Autumn Gose and Nightfall, a blackberry sour. Both were outstanding. While I didn't eat, they did a brisk lunch business and the food looked quite good, the usual pub fare at reasonable prices. Unfortunately, my timing wasn't quite right to partaken in their Gold and Silver sours which rumor has it may be bottled soon. The female manager was extremely nice and informative. A bit of the beaten path (I've mastered the shortcut from John's Marketplace :) ) and for fans of sours a must stop. For those of you willing to step out of your aleness, a revelation.
01-01-2010 20:02:34 | More by jdense
4.1/5 rDev -5.5%
I'm shocked that this is the first review of this place in over four years. It is, or should be, something of a topic of conversation in the Portland beer world.
Really, Raccoon Lodge should have two separate reviews: one for Raccoon Lodge the brewpub and one for Cascade Brewing, the ambitious side project of 'chief imagineer' Ron Gansberg, whose quiet opposition to the 'hops arms race' in favor of ambitious, barrel-aged sour fruit beers and blends ought to earn him a place alongside Tomme Arthur at the forefront of vanguard American craft brewing. In fact the recent, awkward designation of "Raccoon Lodge/Cascade Brewing" in Portland beer blogs is suggestive of the irreconcilable divide between the two. I'll stake out a guess and claim now: in the coming years, Cascade Brewing will emerge as one of the most buzzed breweries in the US, and they deserve it.
So, Ron's Cascade beers include the (pricey) bottled releases: Cascade Kriek, Cascade Apricot Ale, and Cascade Blackberry. The 2008 Kriek, Apricot, and Cuvee are really exceptional: they carefully balance sour and fruit flavors in a way that is remniscent of New Glarus' ales. Divine, Cascade's new grape ale, is even more exceptional and offers something wholly uncommon.
As for Raccoon Lodge, some of the magic spills over into this oversized McMansion of a brewpub. They've had a Flanders red, sour blueberry wheat, rasberry wheat (on a berliner weisse base), and "double Flanders red" with Bing cherries on from the Cascade line, while also offering more traditional English style ales. The recent winter warmer and autumn IPA were both passable, if unexceptional, as were the blonde bock and (restrained) Cascade IPA. They also keep an amber, a light lager, and a stout on tap.
The brewpub has two floors: the "den" downstairs is a dark sports bar adjacent to the brewery with a larger TV; the upstairs dining room also has its share of TVs as well as lots of wooden booths remniscent of a hunting lodge. Though, as RedDiamond pointed out, this isn't the kind of 'lodge' that you can stay in. The size is a little impersonal and the goofy cartoon-style logo of a raccoon really doesn't fit.
The food is standard pub fare.
I've always had excellent and fast service; the bartenders in particular, have been knowledgable and eager to please. So, it's not that the brewpub is disappointing, it's just that it's so humble. (Maybe that's the point. And Gansberg, when I spoke with him, said that while he was proud of his beer, he knew that "if we weren't humble, we wouldn't have anything." Still. How can such an average place house one of the most creative and ambitious breweries in the country? The dissonance is tough, but I'm happy to ponder it at the brewpub so long as they keep at least one of those crazy Cascade specialties on tap.
12-22-2008 01:08:06 | More by benito
3.34/5 rDev -23%
This was stop #15 for my wife and I on a 21-day pub-crawl from Michigan to N. CA and OR. We stopped here on a Friday for dinner and to try their beers. The place was busy but we were seated right away, and there were several empty tables around us. (Maybe the Friday rush was ending.) The entrance to this place was at the lower level of the building and steps up to the main floor were right inside the entrance. The interior seems more like a restaurant that a pub, but the use of wooden tables and chairs along with a good amount of wood trim helped the vibe.
We ordered a sampler of 7 of the 12 beers that were available to along with dinner. (We didn’t order any of the sours because we knew that we’d be going to the Barrel House during our trip.) The beers were all brewed to style, but none were very exciting so that all of them received a grade between a C+ and only one beer that received a B. (The Oblique B&W Stout was our favorite.) Kind of disappointing was the Scarlet Fever Imperial IPA, which we didn’t feel was very hoppy, although it was a very tasty beer.
The food menu was okay as far as the number and quality of selections, etc, but we felt that there was nothing about our selections that made them anything out of the ordinary. This is an okay place to go for good beer and food, and we’d come back again when in the area, but we think that there are other, more exciting places in town that we’d go first before making this a destination visit.
06-27-2014 14:24:53 | More by Mothergoose03
Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub in Portland, OR
95 out of 100 based on 51 ratings.