Do you think Portland’s “beer bubble” will ever burst? I mean, it just keeps getting better and better and it’s been that way for years. More and more indie breweries keep popping up, while the established ones get keep growing, expanding into the national market. But I guess beer is a product that’s been popular for thousands of years, so it’s doubtful the market will fall out anytime soon.
That said, I went to an awesome new-ish brewery on Friday night! It’s called Base Camp Brewing Company in inner Southeast Portland (right behind The Slammer if you know the area). As you can probably tell from their name, the theme is mountain climbing. Lanterns illuminate the exposed rafters, a busted canoe hangs above the bar, carabiners dangle from each tap. It’s a sparse room, with concrete walls, but when it’s busy, as it was on Friday, it felt warm and welcoming.
So what about the beer? It is really good. And really strong. Three beers did me in. We had the In-Tents Pale Lager, Ripstop Rye Pilsner, Northwest Fest and I could not resist the S’more Stout, which is served with a toasted marshmallow. The head brewer comes to Base Camp from Rogue and Bridgeport, so he knows what he’s doing. Not only is the beer great, they serve it in excellent glassware. Each beer has it’s own style of glass etched with the Base Camp logo. I hope they don’t all get stolen.
The food situation is a little unorthodox. Rather than make it themselves, there are two food carts parked outside. Right now a wood-fire pizza and mediterranean. I’m not sure if they will rotate, but in the spirit of carts, I’d imagine they will. Huge props for not making us stand in the rain to get our food! You order from the bartender, they send the order to the carts, and the food is delivered to your table when it’s ready! So simple. Great business model.
The last really outstanding thing about Base Camp is the outdoor seating where they have 4 fire places going. This is going to be HUGE in a couple months. On nice summer night it’s going to be packed and loud. Even on a drizzly night people were hanging out outside.
Bottom line, Base Camp Brewing is great. The beer is interesting without being over the top. And the food cart idea is brilliant. The best compliment is that I want to go back.