2005 | REGIONAL | PACIFIC NW
The Oregon Trail
By Lisa Morrison
BridgePort Closes Doors at Landmark Brewpub
Nooo, not forever! (Scared ya, didn't I?) The historic
BridgePort Brewpub on NW 14th and Marshall closed its doors
on December 23 — but only for 10 months. The plan is
that the brewpub will rise like a Phoenix out of the construction
dust as a brand-new upscale establishment more closely resembling
the oh-so chichi Pearl District digs that have sprung up around
it the past few years.
Part of BridgePort's vision includes the creation of an on-site
bakery, with freshly prepared breakfast pastries, the ubiquitous
espresso drinks and express lunch service. The bakery will
act as the daily wholesaler for all of the breads, rolls and
pastries offered at the pub and its sister restaurant, the
BridgePort Ale House, on SE Hawthorne Boulevard.
Additionally, a large glass atrium will pierce the rooftop
in the middle of the pub, shedding light on the once-cavernous
space. The main bar will expand to two stories, highlighted
by a vertical display of five stainless steel 10-barrel serving
tanks with a brewery-designed draft system. Initial plans
called for a rooftop garden, but those were quickly scrapped
because of cost issues.
However, the beloved loading-dock outdoor seating area will
remain, and will see a facelift as well. Plans call for increased
seating capacity and radiant gas heaters to extend Portland's
"al fresco" season. Also, the second-floor events
space will expand as a multiuse facility with ceiling-mounted
LCD projectors for media events.
If it sounds like a Cinderella story, it is. BridgePort will
reach legal drinking age in May. In those nearly 21 years,
BridgePort has seen its surroundings transform from a rundown,
rickety warehouse district to one of the swankiest enclaves
in Oregon. No surprise that the brewery's historic former
rope factory digs might feel a bit, um, dowdy among the Pearl
Nonetheless, many regulars don't want to see their cherished
BridgePort brewpub, with its notable brick-and-timber construction
(and huge beams that were hewn just blocks away), comfortable
environment and, allegedly, the funkiest urinals in town,
Have no fear, says BridgePort, which promises to "retain
the soul of the building while broadening the appeal of the
pub to the booming population of the surrounding neighborhood,"
according to a recent news release. Much of the brick and
beams will be retained, they said.
"Our aspiration for the renovation is to provide a drinking
and dining establishment that is an engaging experience for
the consumer," said Bob Negele, general manager of retail
operations. "We want to offer interesting, quality food
that complements our beer, in a space that connects with the
Also, word has it that the famed urinals in the men's bathroom
will be retained and joined by another one being sequestered
in a secret location until the dust settles.
Will BridgePort become the new Cinderella in the Pearl, or
turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight? Tune in for
updates on this historic remodel.
Festival Gets a Jump on Easter Bunny
The Spring Beer & Wine Festival at Portland's Oregon Convention
Center is always held around Easter: The bunny will be hopping
to it early this year, and so will the festival.
Mark your calendars for March 25–26. The event (in its
11th year) runs from noon to 11:00 p.m. both days. In addition
to 50 beers served, there also will be a selection of wine,
cider, mead and distilled spirits by Bendistillery, of Bend,
Ore. Additionally, the festival features a heated cigar tent,
cooking demos, live music and a number of local vendors.
Admission this year is $6. Beer or wine sample glasses are
$6 and $3, respectively, and plastic beer mugs are $3. A package
deal includes admission and glasses of your choice for two
and 40 tokens (needed to purchase samples and other goodies).
Log on to springbeerfest.com for additional details and updates.
For you hop-heads who believe you can never get enough of
a good thing (and you know who you are), Randall the Enamel
Animal and publican Don Younger want to see you at the Horse
Brass on Friday afternoons.
Younger has managed to get his hands on a Randall, one of
the hop filters invented by Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head
brewery that allows beer to run through a filter filled with
whole hops before hitting your glass. The alcohol strips away
the oils from the hops, making the beer heading into your
pint glass even that much more aromatic and hoppy.
At the Horse Brass each Friday, Younger runs a different
beer through the Randall (packed with a specifically chosen
variety of hops), creating a beer laboratory of sorts and
turning patrons into Guinea pigs. Recent runnings have included
Full Sail's Wreck the Halls (with Centennial hops), Widmer's
Collaborator Sled Crasher (with Fuggles) and Dogfish Head
90-Minute IPA (with Amarillo hops). Who ever said the science
lab was no fun? And who said you can't learn anything while
Out in McMinnville, Golden Valley's head brewer, Mark Vickery,
recently got together with his neighbor, vintner Rollin Soles
of Argyle Winery (best known for making sparkling wines),
for a little experiment of their own. What resulted was Golden
Valley IPA VS Brut, an IPA that was brewed at Golden Valley
and then taken down the street to Argyle for aging in wine
barrels and finishing in the methode Champenoise, complete
with disgorgement — removal of frozen yeast sediment
from the neck of the bottle after secondary fermentation.
The result is a smooth yet hoppy brew that's reminiscent of
a glass of bubbly!
Talk about bringing coals to Newcastle. Oskar Blues Brewery
in Lyons, Colo., just began sending its Dick's Pale Ale and
Old Chub Scottish-style ale — in cans — in hopes
of staking a claim in Beervana. Brewery spokesman and fellow
Celebrator writer Marty Jones said they believe the market
is ripe in Oregon for the addition of more craft beer available
in cans (Portland/Pyramid's MacTarnahan's Amber and Highlander
have been in cans for a few years now).
"I think it'll help us greatly that MacTarnahan's has
been hipping beer fiends in Oregon to the joys of good canned
beer. Thanks to them, unlike in most states, people in Oregon
won't scratch their heads when they see our canned gonzo beers,"
Jones said. "We raise our cans to Portland/MacTarnahan's;
we salute them for their moxie and smarts for having their
beers put in cans. That was a gutsy move."
Look for Dick's Pale Ale and Old Chub in the Singing 12-packs,
which include a free CD of indie music, including a track
by Seattle's legendary Supersuckers.
Glen Hay Falconer Scholarship Expands
Two brewers will be chosen as recipients of the Glen Hay Falconer
Brewing Scholarships this year — instead of just one,
like last year. The full-tuition scholarships are for the
2005 World Brewing Academy Course in Brewing Technology at
the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago. Created in
honor of former Wild Duck head brewer Glen Falconer, of Eugene,
who was killed in an accident a few years ago, the scholarships
are open to professional brewers as well as homebrewers from
the Pacific Northwest (including Alaska) and Northern California
regions (San Francisco Bay/Monterey Bay areas and north).
For more information on the application, log on to siebelinstitute.com.
Much of the funding for the scholarships comes from the annual
Sasquatch Brew Fest in Eugene – always the Saturday
after Memorial Day (June 5 this year). For information on
the fest, visit sasquatchbrewfest.org.
Writer Lisa Morrison covers the Oregon beer
scene from her hometown of Portland, Ore. You can also reach
her via email.