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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Migration Rallies

When Migration Brewing first opened up a couple years ago, I was psyched.  It's in walking distance from my house, has a comfortable interior and a slightly industrial but typically urban patio out front.  Problem was, the beer had trouble.  The young guys who started the place were eager, hard-working, and determined to improve things, which they did ... marginally.  But meh beer in a city like Portland is a hard sell.

Sunday afternoon and still packed.
I am a coward.  In the months since my last visit (over twelve), I have dodged Migration.  I didn't want to discover the beer hadn't improved and face the blogging consequences of such a finding.

Last Friday, during a celebratory night out, Sally, Patrick, and I decided to give Migration a shot.  It was one of those gorgeous spring evenings when Portland is about the prettiest town on earth and it's like the city has simultaneously taken a big, happy bong hit.  I was no longer slave to my lesser emotions.

After worming our way through the teeming crowd (a hopeful sign), we ordered three pints, found a table, and discovered that all has changed.  The beers were absolutely clean and well-made, and after a moment of shock, we started nit-picking the recipes.  That's always a good sign--if you're talking about slight tinkering, you're really talking about how you enjoy the beer (as opposed to the discussion you're really having when you're attempting to discover what that nasty, rotten note is).  We had the Terry's Porter--the beer I found the most reliable back in the early days--the IPA, and Glisan St. Dry Hop.

The IPA was perhaps objectively out of balance, but typical for the town.  Patrick's a hop head, but he found it a bit sharp even for his liking.  Still, it was obviously intentional, and I found it pretty palatable.  Terry's Porter is a sold, roasty beer with a bit of rounding sweetness.  The Dry Hop was the real winner, though.  A pretty standard pale (with some oats--always a good call) with tons of late addition and dry hop flavor and aroma.  Just 5%, it's the perfect beer for sitting in the sun on that patio.

I am happy to say my next visit will be measured in days or weeks, not months.


  1. I felt the same way about Migration up until a couple weeks back. I met friends there, and enjoyed the beers this time. Word on the street is they have a new brewer. Also when it's available, I would suggest trying the Coffee IPA. An excellent blend of bitters.

  2. Thanks for the heads up. I too have been sort of avoiding Migration because of the early beer quality (or lack of it). I'll give them another try.

  3. I changed my mind about Migration a little under a year ago when I like their IPA best at a blind tasting at Horse Brass. I quickly followed that up with a visit to Migration to discover the vast improvement in their beer quality, and have been returning ever since.

  4. Isn't Terry Porter from Hopworks?

  5. Yeah, but Migration's is Terry's Porter.

  6. Glad you got a chance to go back. Migration is close to my house as well, and I think it has developed into a great place with great beer. For a session, I really like their cream ale which I have also seen on tap around town at a few different places.