The final stop of my visit to McMinnville brought me to a brew pub down the road named Grain Station Brew Works. In dire need of food and maybe a few more tasters, I was drawn in by the tantalizing aromas wafting out onto the sidewalk. Located in the heart of the old Granary District, this renovated timber barn brewery and restaurant has been serving up craft beer and food to the lucky folks of this neat little town since 2013. So grab a beer, get the hayseed out of your mouth before you take a sip, and enjoy this saucy review.
- Beer – Grain Station’s tap list consists of 6 year-round beers and a decent list of seasonal and specialty beers, though only a handful are rotate on tap at a time. Running the gamut of styles from a double IPA to a saison, you will likely find something that suites your palate here. As for the beer itself, I would have to say decent but nothing that will knock your socks off. They get the fundamentals right in most of their seasonal craftings but none of them stood out as something I had to have more of. That being said, they did show off a little creativity and pizzazz with a rye malt saison and gin botanical saison on the rotating tap list, so I think they are capable of it. Score: 3.5/5
- Brewery – The brewery truly leans on its roots as a former barn in an agriculture-heavy part of the state. I’ll name the style they embrace as “farm chic”. The inside is open and airy, with lots of exposed wooden beams and duct work. The dining area is spacious with lots of tables overlooking the brew floor. Dominating the far end is a large bar with seating options as well. The outside patio has even more seating amidst scattered hop bines, a small stage for music, and would make a lovely spot to drink one summer evening. They have a full menu with mostly classic Americana and I highly recommend you try the maple bourbon burger. I still dream about the maple sauce they put on the burger it was that good. The prices are a little higher than I expected, with a flight of 4 beers running $10. Their hours encompass lunch, dinner, and well into the evening so you have plenty of time to sit and enjoy that maple sauce…I mean enjoy the beer! They even have a little coffee shop tucked in to one corner of the barn if you need a pick me up before moving on. Score: 3.5/5
- Ambiance and Entertainment – Despite being more restaurant than tap room, Grain Station still has a solid line-up of live music during the warmer months, though this appears to taper off during the winter. Scattered amidst the music are other special events like yoga + beer and a few holiday extravaganzas. Two televisions sit above the bar for those who want to watch sporting events while having a beer. Score: 2.5/5
- Location – As was the case for the previous two breweries in McMinnville, Grain Station sits at the edge of the downtown area, providing ample opportunity to brewery hop if you have an afternoon free. The building is hard to miss with the ample signage all around. Street parking is plentiful, and the area would be very amenable to walking and biking if that is your preferred mode of transportation. Score: 4/5
- Customer Service – Despite being very busy I was seated quickly at the bar. There was a small delay between seating and getting my order taken, though I suspect this was due to the large crowd drawn in to watch the MLS cup that had the Portland Timbers in it. Regardless, once I placed my order it was delivered swiftly, and the bar tender was quite attentive and friendly, making for an enjoyable experience. Score: 3/5
Total Score: 16.5/25
Favorite Beer: Bet the Farm – 6.5% IPA
Final Thoughts: A decent beer line-up and lovely brewery help Grain Station highlight a surprisingly strong craft beer scene in McMinnville. This a great spot to stop in for lunch or dinner and have a few brews if you are in the area.