A short jaunt down the road from Stormbreaker brought me to the second offering in my tour de Portland breweries: Ecliptic Brewing. I was familiar with their beers, having tried a few different offerings before, and I was excited to see the brewery. That excitement did not last much past the front door as you will soon see. Come with me and you’ll see how high hopes turned to disappointment despite such promise.
- Beer – In spite of my more tepid review of this place, I think their beers stood out as top-notch crafting. It is evident that the owner and head brew master has spent years perfecting his craft after one sip. It is also no surprise that Ecliptic features many hop-forward offerings, utilizing an incredible variety of hops to create unique flavors. In addition to IPAs and reds you can find almost every other style you might want to try, including a sour beer. Even the names reflect a nice attention to detail with creative space-themed monikers. I may not have enjoyed my time there, but I certainly recognize and respect quality brewing and talented brewers. Score: 4.5/5
- Brewery – This is one of the larger breweries I have been to since starting this blog. The building looks brand new (Ecliptic was founded in 2013) and is the size of a warehouse. As you walk in the front door, you pass by ample outdoor seating, perfect for those sunny summer days in Oregon. The inside is cavernous, airy, and is divided into table seating and a spacious bar around the corner. They offer standard pub food and the prices are comparable to most other breweries in the Portland area. Score: 3/5
- Ambiance – Most of the personality of this place can only be found in their beers. Despite the open and airy taproom, the inside felt muted and sterile. The television at the bar did little to liven up the place, even with a mostly full room, and I don’t think that was just a fluke of the acoustics. I saw no evidence of bar games, either indoor or outdoor, or any other attempt to get folks to stick around. In fact, I think the most telling part about the lack of ambiance here was that people came in for drinks, but they did not stay any length of time (yes, I was people watching). What that shows is a lack of appeal, a lack of creating community, a lack of openness to sit back, relax, and have a few brews with your friends. They do advertise daily specials and occasional events at the brewery but the feel of Ecliptic leaves much to be desired. Score: 2.5/5
- Location – Located on Mississippi Avenue, within walking distance to tons of other businesses and residential areas, is prime real estate. Whether it is brunch or shopping you are interested in, it is only a short distance away. They have ample parking, both in their lot and on the street, making it a convenient place to start or end your day in North Portland. Score: 3/5
- Customer Service – Here we get to the real crux of my dissatisfaction with Ecliptic. While the hostess who greeted us and sat us was pleasant if a little harried, our bartender was anything but. Aside from taking over 10 minutes to take our orders, his manner was perfunctory at best with me and downright rude to my wife. I will not go in to all the details of his behavior but suffice it to say it was unacceptable and not the type of customer service I would want to have if I was the owner. Score: 1/5
Total Score: 14/25
Final Thoughts: I purposefully took time before writing this to allow my opinions to mellow and not write this through the lens of disappointment I felt when leaving. While I think their beers are top notch, I can’t help but have a bad taste in my mouth when thinking about the customer service and lack of personality here. I guess my final thought on this is to try their beer if you ever come across it but to approach a visit here with some trepidation. There are plenty of other excellent breweries in the Portland area and, unless they show marked improvement, I cannot recommend visiting Ecliptic.