Portland International

After experiencing the pathetic beer selections at airports throughout most of the U.S., the presence of the Nor'Wester Pub inside Portland's airport ( PDX) was a welcome site. Located in the 'D' area with a view of the runway, this place had a little of everything. A two 3-tap towers was poured four Nor'Wester brews and two megas. A couple TVs offer a diversion for those seated at the dozen small tables. The menu includes Snacks, Appetizers, Salads, Sandwiches, and even Desserts. Souvenirs included T-shirts ($12), polo shirts, baseball caps, windbreakers and glasses ($4 empty & $5.50 full).The Maple Porter showed a creamy white head, hazy dark brown color, slightly sweet but even flavor balance, and creamy mouthfeel. The Pale Ale also had a creamy white head accompanied by a hoppy aroma, medium body, hop over malt balance and hoppy aftertaste. Other beers typically available include the Hefeweizen, Raspberry Weizen, Best Bitter, and a seasonal. Prices are incredibly reasonable at $2.75 a glass and $3 to 3.50 a pint. Local wines run about $4.50.

Located next to Gate D5 is Widmer Pub. A half dozen small tables with chairs offer a view of the adjacent runway while a TV blasts the latest sports game. The airport food consists of Sausage Dogs ($3.50 - $4.50); Sandwiches ($6); Bento($5); and Combo sides such as Nachos. At least four Widmer brews are usually available, and at 3.75 per pint! Look for their Hop Jack Pale Ale, Big Ben Porter, Alt and Hefeweizen. The porter has a sharp, dry dark-malt flavor but with a strong yeast character similar to that found in the Alt. The Summerbrau is a hazy gold with a light body and even flavor balance. Boyd's Coffee is served along with anything from the full liquor selection. Smart merchandising is evidenced by the $12.95 Giftpack that includes four 12-ounce bottles and two pint glasses. Six-packs are also available "to go" for $8.98. Other souvenirs include Caps ($13.50), T-shirts ($12.50) and Sweatshirts ($45). It might not make air travel a joy but a brief visit to the Widmer Pub can make any journey a bit more enjoyable.

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - July, 1996 & Updated July, 1998

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