Finding myself up in Portland recently, I added visiting a few breweries to my list while in town. Being Portland, you can barely go a block without stumbling upon one craft brewery or another, so it was pretty easy to find a few places to check out. The first place I came to was called Stormbreaker brewing on Mississippi Avenue, just north of downtown, a neat little joint named after a nickname for Mt. Hood. Grab a beer and keep reading as I try to make a dent in reviewing Portland’s plethora of craft beer.
- Beer – Not only do they have a great variety of offerings, their beers are really solid in both flavor and complexity. While of course brewing the ever-present IPAs in this region, they offer lots of other options for every discerning palate. My favorite was the Triple Double IPA (go Blazers) but I think most people will enjoy whichever brew they decide to taste. As the first Portland brewery for me to evaluate, they set a high bar for quality creations in the City of Roses. Score: 4/5
- Brewery – This place looks and feels like an old manufacturing facility, industrial building, or maybe an old auto repair shop. You can see the grease and oil practically leaking up from the cracked and aged concrete floors, giving the interior a bit of a worn and dirty feel to it. The inside is spacious, with gorgeous roughhewn wooden booths, tables, and chairs scattered throughout and a large bar dominating the room. Roll-up doors allow lots of natural light and a fresh breeze on nice days, and a massive outdoor seating area looks right on to Mississippi Avenue for plenty of people watching. The food can probably be best described as pub-style comfort food with a hipster twist, but my grilled cheese sandwich was on point and dipping it in their tomato soup was the icing on the cake. I really enjoyed my visit to the tap room and dug the vibe they were creating, despite the slight griminess to it. Score: 3.5/5
- Ambiance – They appear to have tons of weekly events centered on the awesome outdoor space with things like trivia nights and Trailblazer/Timbers game nights. You can even host private events here if you have the inclination. It felt like a lot of regulars show up here to spend the afternoon soaking in the sun, speaking volumes about the quality of the brewery to attract repeat customers. Score: 4/5
- Location – Right smack in the middle of the best part of North Portland on Mississippi Avenue, you can find just about anything you want close. By from other breweries to brunch spots, shopping to food trucks, options abound. The areas surrounding Stormbreaker are more residential, so finding parking and battling traffic may be a little more challenging, but otherwise they picked a great location. Score: 4.5/5
- Customer Service – Quick and friendly, we were seated as soon as we walked in. Our orders were taken quickly, and the drinks and food brought to the table in a timely manner. No major concerns here. Score: 4/5
Total Score: 20/25
Final Thoughts: Great beers, delicious food, and a perfect spot earn Stormbreaker a high score. It probably could have been a little higher if the brewery didn’t look and feel quite so dirty, but it was not enough to dampen my enjoyment of the place. I highly recommend stopping in next time you are in Portland.