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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) Opens Today

Christian Ettinger's long, strange journey to open his bike-friendly, low-carbon, Portland-funky brewpub ends today. At one this afternoon, it's open for business! The new journey begins.

I may pop in to snap a couple picks and snap up a beer, but if I don't make it this afternoon, I'll have to rely on others for reports--I won't make it until Thursday evening at the earliest.

Anyway, here are the details. Use them wisely:
Hopworks Urban Brewery is excited to announce that we will be opening our doors on Tuesday, March 25th at 11:00am. Construction is finally complete and the taps are flowing with ten Organic, handcrafted beers.

Hopworks Urban Brewery
2944 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97202 | Map
Tel: 503 / 232-HOPS (4677)
Fax: 503 / 232-4676
More, lots and lots more, soon.


  1. I was there for lunch on Tuesday. Beer was great (but we already knew that), food was pretty good. Ordered a bacon cheeseburger, but somehow only got the cheeseburger - perfectly understandable on the first day and it actually gave me a very good opportunity to see how they handeled something going wrong. The server was very appologetic and was going to go get some bacon and BBQ sauce, but I had already finished half the burger. The manager (can't recall his name) came over and checked in as well. I have the feeling that they would have comped me the burger if I would have let them.

    Christian was working the tables as well. Chatted with us for quite a while and groaned when we showed him the Laurelwood growlers we brought in to get filled up. We plastered a HUB sticker right on top of the tree.

    The space was great. Bright and airy without feeling cold. The ceiling is spectacular and I really like the mezzanine. Also looking forward to better weather to be able to use the deck out back.


  2. I'd heard that there was a new place open near me, so I went in knowing nothing about the place. Now that I know who's behind the beer, I'm no longer surprised that it's so thoroughly excellent.

    I have to disagree about the atmosphere, though. One of my dining companions called it "Chuck E. Cheese for grownups", which sounds about right - lots of hard surfaces to reflect the noise, lots of squealing annoying people that you go to bars to avoid - both of the twenty-young variety, and the stroller-bound as well. The decor is pretty much Ikea with bikes, and a helping of Portland faux-industrial, all of which adds up to something that feels far too much like Applebee's to be at all enjoyable.

    As to the food, the prices were not cheap. Count on about ten bucks for a sandwich, which is still high for bar food in my world. We had a pizza (the one with various vegetables, it had a silly name but I've mercifully forgotten it) and it was pretty good, although the crust reminded me ominously of something more chemical than biological. I had a frozen pizza from the supermarket a few years ago, the crust was very similar to this. It didn't seem much like a piece of bread, none of the gluten development that gives it the chewiness, and oddly for a beer joint, no taste of yeast to the dough at all.

    All that aside, the beer was excellent. I had the ESB, which was about as good as any I've bought, very nicely balanced, good flavor and perfect body. Definitely top of form, this one. I also tried a bit of the IPA, nice enough, if not quite so superlative. The misnamed "El Diablo" (guys, they don't speak Spanish in Belgium, unless they're tourists) was also top grade stuff. Americans making "Belgian-style" beers can often come up with real train wrecks, but here you've got it right. The classic musty Belgian flavor, so musty you taste it more with your nose than with your tongue, the floral notes, the "how strong did you say this was?" kick, and - praise be! - without the unfortunate tongue coating that most Ameribelgians leave from loading in too much malt to try to get the alcohol levels up. I could really get to like these beers.
    Tragically, I don't think I'll have much chance, because I wouldn't set foot in that place again on a bet - drinking should be done in place you want to be in, and for me, that ain't one.
    -JPK, PDX, OR