Welcome to another edition of Mastication Monologues! Today is the penultimate installation of my Portland, Oregon adventures, and this post will finally touch on the craft brewing scene that Portland has to offer.
I met some new friends during one of the educational sessions on motivation in the classroom, and they seemed quite interested in inviting me out to dinner with them. So after I had to do some schmoozing with some State Department representatives, I was on my way to Bridgeport Brewery located at 1313 NW Marshall Street Portland, OR 97209. It was a bit of a pain for me to get there by the streetcar system, but it seemed to be no problem for the girls by car. The exterior of the restaurant looked more like a Victorian factory where I half expected to find rows of women churning out textiles while small urchins scampered about fixing broken down weaving machines. Thankfully, the interior is much classier than a sweatshop, and the service is quite cordial. After roughly a 20 minutes wait, we were escorted to our table. We started with some drinks which naturally were beers. I first went for a pint of limited edition Old Knucklehead ($7) brewed at Bridgeport. It’s a barley wine ale which is very aggressive in flavor initially but has a soft finish of oak, cherry, and a bit of vanilla. I also tried their very rare cherry chocolate stout ($8) that also is brewed at the restaurant that lived up to it’s name. Think Guinness mixed with a very hearty black forest cake. Foodwise, they have all the basic gastropub foods like burgers, sandwiches, soups, and salads, but I wanted to try something different (go figure). I looked down their “favorites” section of the menu, and I cast my bet with the chicken souvlaki ($10). I know I could probably get much better back home in Chicago, but I decided to see the xeni (non-Greek people) take on this Mediterranean classic. It came out with my beer, and it looked a lot better than the pasta and burgers people got. The Greek dish was a solid meal. The pita was warm and fluffy, and the tomatoes and lettuce were fresh. The chicken pieces were succulent and not rubbery, a common pitfall for any chicken dish. I personally think it could have used more tzatziki sauce and feta cheese, but it didn’t make that much of a difference. The souvlaki also came with a side of vegetable couscous salad which was competently made but didn’t make me shout “Opa!”.
Overall, in regard to Bridgeport Brewery, I would follow the advice of my friend who is a native to Portland and was at dinner with us, “Come for the beer, stay for more beer. Food is secondary or maybe tertiary in Portland gastropubs”. Well put, sir.