March 31, 2012

Neglected Portland Breweries: Broadway Grill & Brewery

Portland has some 40 breweries and counting. Many are world-class, even out-of-this-world. Many ain't.

Sometimes I beat myself up for not having been to every single brewery in town (or in the outskirts). I intend to visit them all, but if we're being honest, the ones I haven't checked out yet are the ones that generally have no Beer Geek Brownie Points. So here's Pt. IV in an ongoing series: Neglected Portland Breweries.
You're easily forgiven for driving down NE Broadway by the Lloyd Center and not realizing that the Broadway Grill & Brewery is a brewpub. For two reasons: 1) There are neon signs for Widmer and Pabst in the window but none for their own beer. 2) It isn't technically a brewpub; it's the sister pub to The Old Market Pub & Brewery near Multnomah Village deep in SW PDX, which is where the beers are brewed. Why the different name? Beats me. Why is their URL instead of, oh, say, Again, Michael Jackson, beat it.
Onto the thing that truly does matter: the beer (all organic, I might add). Yeah, it's OK. Well, it varies, wildly. So let's start with their flagship, Mr. Toad's Wild Red Ale. Neither toady nor wild, it's a malt bomb that remains drinkable if you're actually in the mood for a Brown ale. Maybe that's the point, instead of taking you to Redsville, the road veers off course to Browntown? I had a few samples (there were at least a dozen house beers!!) including Great White Wheat (good thing the folks at Lost Coast Brewing aren't litigious) which I found underspiced, Old Granny Smith which was not unlike the acetaldehyde I found in the last Coors Light I ever had, meaning it is certainly apply, but not quite Unibroue Ephemere, but cider fans should still dig it. I also couldn't resist and had a sip of the Hot Tamale. I actually like some hot, chile beers. But this one, that they're upfront about it being spicy, is en fuego. Por que?

So what beer did I like? Well, the sample of Bombay IPA was decent in that it wore a nice floral dress on its medium bodied figure. But the Hop On, described simply as "splendid," truly is. Great body, ravenously perfumed with hops, and tasty enough it warrants more than a one-night-stand.

Whoa, what's with the sexy talk? I don't know where that came from, and besides, it's inappropriate given how family-friendly this place is. How do I know? The third neon in the windows reads Families Welcome All Hours near a hanging sign that says Family Dining. Indeed, there's a good li'l kids menu our li'l I.P.Yae will feast from in years to come. But the kicker is that it's mostly a generic sports bar inside yet with a side-room solely inhabited by an unused billiard table and plenty of video lottery machines playing host to elderly women like the ones I saw at the video poker machines at a Denny's in Vegas. But the flipside is, there are Diaper Decks in the bathrooms.
Finally, on the pubgrub side of this brewpub, they cast a wide swath with this multi-paged net menu. There are burgers, pizzas, sandos, finger foods, and the like. Half Pint got some sorta grilled chicken Chinese salad. Scanning their lunch special menu, I got the "3-Way Chili," which the classic Cincinnati specialty. There are variations and riffs, but it's usually 1: chili, 2: spaghetti, 3: cheese. You can have 7-way and add beans, tomatoes, onions, etc. Or just as often, 3-way subs pasta with a hot dog. Excuse me, with a Coney, as is the case at Broadway. The lunch special is $5.95 and included a soft drink (Half Pint wanted some lemonade, but it was far too sweet for her to drink). So imagine my surprise when my plate arrives and it's three of the most massively-topped chili-cheese dogs. I could barely get through two. Luckily, chili's just as good the next day.


mmcooljam said...

The few times we've been here I feel the same way. Beer = meh, food = good, service = hit or miss. They don;t really know how to deal with children. I have two kids, three and five. Some servers are good with them, others don't want them there. So it's always a crap shoot.

Brian Yaeger said...

Hey Michael, funny about service being hit/miss. Our initial waitress was fantastic. We'd commented how unusually friendly and helpful she was. But then came a replacement and she knew nothing about the beers and wasn't terribly interested in anything but bringing us the check when we were done. But overall, with their better than average kids menu, I suspect we'll be back once our 3 mo. old becomes a 3 yr old (and not sooner).