Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mash Tun

If ever there was a time I cursed myself for not having a growler or set of darts in my car, it was today. I had first gone to Mash Tun years ago, on a blind date. Memories of the girl, and the beer, had fizzled away. But trying to come up with a place to grab a pint and bite in North Portland today, Mash Tun came to mind. Back then I was single, and swore Full Sail was the greatest beer ever/ Things have since changed.
It is easy to drive right by Mash Tun. Located on a side street off of Alberta, a small sandwich board is all you have to guide you as you concentrate more on avoiding hitting stoned hippies or lost tourists.
The small-ish brewery is off to your right as you enter, and the dart board is on your left. The dining area can seem a little cramped if the outdoor patio is not open, but one man’s small is another man’s cozy.
Besides their own brews, the full bar also has a nice selection of guest taps from Ninkasi, Double Mountain, and Walking Man. The dining area also has a free pool table, along with three (three too many for me) flat screen TVs playing whatever game is going on.
When we were there, they had four of their own on tap, an Imperial IPA, the “Cream O’ Wheat,” “Alberta Pale,” and the “Kilgore Stout." We tried it all, except for the Imperial IPA. The Alberta Pale, in short, was excellent. It was a nice golden color, a little cloudy, and poured with a very small head. It wasn’t very hoppy, and the hops that were used gave the beer a pleasant floral flavor, and very little bitterness. It had hints of orange, and finished nicely.
The Kilgore Stout was quite dark, but light tasting. It was slightly sweet, and had strong flavors of chocolate. Erin described it as “roasty.”
Lastly, I had the Cream O’ Wheat. I am usually not a great admirer of wheat beers,but this was a dilly of a beer. It was light , and a good session beer I think. No real strong flavors came out, it was instead balanced well, and a joy to drink without endless dissection.
A lesson I learned today was one should never sit under a TV. Most of the eyes in the pub were squarely focused on said TV, which in turn felt like every eye was focused on us. But it’s ok, I am working on these issues in therapy.
Also, our waitress, Kimberly, at that moment, was indeed the hardest working waitress in Portland. She was not only the only waitress, but seemingly the bartender, and busboy. She may have been the cook too, but I am not sure. During all of this, with a full room, she remained calm, friendly, and a fountain of info on Mash Tun’s brews.
Other notes, my usual bitch, not enough info about the beers. I would like to see a menu, that actually stays at the table, describing all of the beers, including ABV’s, IBU’s, and any other pertinent information. And also...ummm..well, that’s it. The food was great, the beer was very good, and the entire waitstaff (Kimberly) was awesome.
Make a trip up to Alberta for Mash Tun. It is well worth the trip.


  1. I've been meaning to try that place. Seems a little like the Tugboat in that it's a small place that doesn't get much respect, but still hangs in there. Now that you've given it the thumbs up I'll have to get in there.

  2. Yeah, though they do have a better menu than Tugboat. I hope you like it.

  3. I went there the other night and loved it. My only complaint was the Turkey Pesto Sandwich I had tasted like old, packaged turkey. But the waitress (Kimberly again), and the beer were great. I started with their own ESB, which was all the hoppy I could hope for, and ended with the Walking Man IPA. They also have a pretty nice happy hour menu.