With a free Monday and a desire to get out of town, I decided to head to Newberg, Oregon to do some beer exploring. My first stop was at Chehalem Valley Brewing Company, a brewpub founded about a decade ago with a more recent move to a larger taproom and production facility. A family owned and family friendly joint, the two head brewers/owners have been designing and crafting their many beer offerings over several years of homebrewing, and it has resulted in an interesting craft brewery experience. So sit back and relax as I review my first foray into the craft world of Newberg.
- Beer – They certainly have quite a long tap list, though it tends to skew towards the pale ale and IPA side of the things. There are a few dark beers (yay!) and one slot for a test batch, which was an IPA when I visited, but no sours or heavier options such as barrel aged beers. The quality was also a little hit or miss for me, with most being solid to good, but a few beers just didn’t quite make the cut on my palate. Score: 2.5/5
- Brewery – Built out of what looks like a former automobile repair shop, the taproom is one big open space with tables scattered around a large bar that encompasses about a quarter of the floor space. The décor is minimalistic over the painted cinderblock walls, but the best part are the roll-up doors that can be opened in nice weather to let in the sun that leads to a small patio area with a few covered tables. Their food menu is mostly pub style food, though they do offer what looks like a delicious brunch menu that I hope to try one day. I highly recommend the cheese curds as an appetizer if you are hungry; I ate almost an entire plate by myself with no regrets. Open early until late most days, they are closed Monday so keep that in mind when planning a visit, and best of all they are pet friendly! Score: 3/5
- Ambiance and Entertainment – Scattered around the room are a few televisions that can be tuned to whatever sports ball is on at the moment. A shelf full of tabletop games can be found near the door if that is more your speed. Live events seem to be infrequent but do include occasional music groups as well as weekly dart contest nights. A few fundraiser and food related nights round out the calendar. Score: 2.5/5
- Location – Just outside what I would consider Newberg’s downtown area, the brewery can be a little difficult to find as it is set back off the main road a ways and the signs are easy to miss. Close by are lots of restaurants and shopping, with a few other breweries not too far away. You also do not need to worry about parking as there is a large lot out front with plenty of space. Score: 2.5/5
- Customer Service – While my food and beer order were taken quickly and served equally swiftly, all the service was through the bar while I was there so I’m not sure if they offer table service. The bartender did check in on me a few times, but I sure hope they have more staffing during the busier times as one bartender would not be enough to service the whole place. Score: 3.5/5
Total Score: 14/25
Favorite Beer: Hazelnut Brown – 5.6% Brown Ale
Final Thoughts: A pleasant enough experience, though I don’t know that they have done enough to differentiate themselves from a crowded beer scene in the Portland area. The beers had a mix of hits and misses for me but were overall solid enough in flavor and construct to make up for the ones I didn’t like. I would love to see more live entertainment or some other draw to get people in the door as I’m not sure there is enough to get me to come back again, and the tap room needs a little help to make it feel less stark and utilitarian.