For this week’s adventure we stay in the Portland area, having visited Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) for dinner and drinks one night. Opening their first location in 2008, HUB has expanded to three locations around Portland over the ensuing decade. Their focus on environmental friendliness combined with excellent beer has earned them numerous awards and the status as the only PNW brewery that is a certified B corporation. So grab a beer, sit back, and read on as I recount my visit to this hip hub of hops.
- Beer – With a plethora of quality beers on tap or in cans and bottles, there is a style for everyone to choose from, including a house made cider. Take a look down the tap list and you will see several GABF and other award-winning offerings from the brew masters, both year-round and seasonal beers. Hop bombs dominate the list of course but they also have a nice selection of light drinking beers as well as dark and barrel aged options. What I loved the most was their experimentation and creativity in coming up with unique flavor profiles across the tap list, such as once of my favorites: a Scandinavian holiday cookie inspired strong ale. Score: 4/5
- Brewery – I visited their original tap room on Powell Street, so this review focuses on that location. The first thing you notice when you walk in are the numerous bike frames scattered throughout the restaurant as decorative accent points above the centrally located bar, really underscoring their emphasis on being eco-friendly. Tall ceilings, concrete floors, and wood everywhere are found throughout the expansive seating area, lending an industrial feel to the room. In nicer weather they also have outdoor seating, though it is not ideal for the rainy season (i.e. winter in Oregon). The food menu is a mix of salads, sandwiches, and pizza/calzones, all of which sounded delicious. The portions sizes are large as I ended up taking half of my calzone home for lunch the next day. The prices are comparable with the rest of Portland and they are open every day from lunch until late night. Score: 3.5/5
- Ambiance and Entertainment – As this location is geared more towards being a restaurant, there are fewer on-site events than you find at some other locations. Mostly limited to beer release parties, they also host the occasional fundraiser in the tap room. A few televisions over the bar make it a nice spot for game days too. Score: 2/5
- Location – The area around the brewery is mostly light commercial, with little else close by if you wanted to venture beyond the tap room. Downtown Portland is not too far away by car, or if bike is your preferred method of transportation there are tons of bike racks out front to complement the modest onsite parking. On the plus side, the building is hard to miss from the street with its bright colors and large signage. Score: 3.5/5
- Customer Service – The place was full when we arrived, yet despite this our orders were taken quickly, and the food was at our table before I made it halfway through my flight. Our server was very friendly and gave some good information about her favorite dishes to order, and I have to say it was spot on recommendations. All around good service for us and every table I could see seemed to get the same level of care. Score: 3.5/5
Total Score: 16.5/25
Favorite Beer: Noggin Floggin – 9.6% Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine
Final Thoughts: Another unique offering in a city full of them, I very much enjoyed my visit to HUB. Good food paired with quality beer with a dash of environmentally friendly practices makes this a place I want to visit again next time I’m back in Portland, and I definitely recommend stopping by if you are in the area.