Located just east of Multnomah Village sits Old Market Pub. The other outpost of this two pub chain is The Broadway Brill & Brewery. We visited Old Market the other day after a quick hike up to Council Crest. First impression..sports bar. Which is fine. I counted eight TV’s, all playing different football games. Ok, I can deal with it, as long as I follow my new rule of never sitting under one.
The first two beers we ordered were their Pinocle Pale, and Rat Dog ESB. The Pinocle Pale, according to their lackluster beer menu, is “an excellent crisp rendition of this classic style!” It came with a very slight head, and with an amber color. It was indeed crisp, hoppy, and too bitter for me. The bitterness lingered long after the beer was gone. It was drinkable, but I do not know if it was “an excellent” rendition of the style.
The ESB was a better choice. It had the exact same color as the pale. It had some nice malt taste, with hints of brown sugar. Unfortunately, like the Pale, was suffering from an overpowering bitterness that was not balanced enough by the malt, for myself.
My last beer was recommended by the waitress, the Mr. Toad’s Wild Red Ale. This apparently was their “first great beer!” It was very dark, Stout dark. It was the best of the three we had, and was like drinking a light Stout. It was not very malty, not very hoppy, and had a very weak body. In short, it was kind of....blah. But, the best of the three.
Overall, the beer was ok, but if you are in the area, try to make it a little further to Raccoon Lodge.
So, all of that being said, I have some other observations. First off, it is primarily, I would say, a family friendly sports bar. They do have a pretty big menu, with lots of different options, and even a separate vegetarian menu. The food we had was pretty good. In the back room, they have four shuffle board tables, four pool tables, and a really interesting looking Gilligan’s Island pinball game. Each shuffle board table had a nicely laminated sheet with instructions and rules for the game, which is great. I wish they applied the same well thought out design and execution to the beer menu.
Old Market Pub makes me angry, like other brew pubs do. The beer seems to take a distant back seat. After asking for the beer menu, I was given a little 4x5 wrinkled piece of paper, with some horrible notes on the beer. Most of the info listed brags about awards they won in the last century, instead of little things like ABV%, IBU, and hops used etc. This is info beer geeks love, and thrive on. Why take more pride in your shuffleboard rules than your beer menu, you're a brewery! After ordering our first beers, our main menu with the beers listed was taken away, leaving me with no list to go off of until I asked for it. Does this frustrate anyone else??
The bar is covered in Corona crap too, from dirty Corona bottle salt and pepper shakers, Corona coasters, and Corona banners running the entire length of the room. Corona? Do they have stock in the bar? Also, it wasn’t even listed on the beer menu as an option, do they even carry it? Aaugh! They are a brew pub in Portland, meaning they make their own beer, and I assume take pride in it, why clutter your brew pub with Corona stuff. Was the distributor trying to clean out the trunk of his car? Have you ever seen a Budweiser poster at Double Mountain? A Busch coaster at Upright Brewing? Fuck no. Whew....calm down...calm down..
So, I don’t know, maybe I am super critical. Maybe they just want to make some beer, and watch some football. Nothing wrong with that.