Review of Nor'Wester Brewing Company

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Located pretty much "under" the Morrison Bridge in Portland, Oregon, this industrial location proved to be no obstacle to the thirsty patrons who found their way here for the food and beer. The small wooden bar featured 11 taps. The cozy dining room had no problem seating a few dozen people who came for lunch, dinner, and more. Seating capacity is stated as 140 with a private room available for parties of up to 30. A CD sound system combined with the plentiful merchandise and memorabilia made for a comfortable atmosphere. The knowledgeable staff has a habit of being very accommodating when brewery tours are requested.

The Dead Eye Rye was a dark amber, nearly brown color, with a a dry malty flavor and subtle chocolately character in the flavor. The Oregon Amber appeared a dark gold color, very light-bodied, with a clean evenly balanced malt and hop flavor. The Peach Cream Ale offered a very sweet peach flavor matched to a creamy mouthfeel and medium body. The HoneyWeizen was a gold color, medium-bodied, slightly sweet and crisp in flavor, and had a short dry finish. The CC Best Bitter gave a clear amber appearance followed by a very smooth, nice light hop flavor. The cask-conditioned Best Bitter was also amber in color, with a light hop aroma, creamy body, nice malt and hop flavor and very subtle hop finish. The Blacksmith Porter gave a sharp dark malt flavor combined with an opaque appearance and medium body. The Dunkel Weizen was light brown in color, well-carbonated, with a light body but dry chocolately flavor that carried into the finish. The Nitro produced a nice chocolate aroma accompanied by a medium body and very dry black malt flavor and finish. The Hefeweizen appeared a hazy straw color, had a light body, tart/wheat flavor and aftertaste.

Joining the beer selection were pizzas and wines by the bottle, all of which could be sampled at the dozen picnic tables inside. A brewery tour is definitely worth the time since this very modern facility does an impressive job of using its space efficiently. Tours are typically available Monday through Saturday from 1 to 5 PM. On most days you can also witness the Great Western Malting delivery truck stopping by. This shiny stainless steel tanker takes its grain cargo at ground level and has it "blown" two stories upward to the outdoor silo storage. Visiting hours run Monday through Saturday from 11 AM to 8 PM, and Sunday from 4 PM to 8 PM. $2.50 will get you 11 3 ounce tasters. Beer to go is available at $2.50 for a 22 ounce bottle or $24 for 12 of them. Cases are $24, 1/4 bbl kegs $46, and 1/2 bbl kegs $86. Easy to find and easy to get comfortable at, it's easy to see why this relatively new brewery operation, even in a place with intense competition such as Portland, has grown so fast and become so popular.

Nor'Wester Brewery & Public House
66 S.E. Morrison Street
Portland, Oregon 97214
(503)232-9771, (800)472-BREW, (503)232-2363 Fax

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - July, 1996

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