I first encountered Hopworks Brewery at the GCBF and shallow as this may sound I did not want to sample their beer because I really did not like their logo –it kind of reminded me of the logo on a can of bug spray. Fast forward to the other weekend when I once again crossed paths with Hopworks while visiting Portland and this time I decided I would visit the city’s first Eco-Brewpub. In the spirit of transparency (and in a city with a veritable buffet of breweries) the deciding factor was the fact that this pub had vegan pizza. So after a few missed turns my partner and I plunked ourselves down at a patio table overlooking the brewing tanks and general operations; a guy with a disco ball on his forklift shuttled kegs back and forth at an alarming rate. The fun industrial decor – think bicycle wheel lamps and metal pipe fixtures – and socially conscious philosophies had me re-thinking my earlier superficial judgements. With the sun blazing overhead I order a Radler, a lager mixed with lemonade, and my partner ordered a sampler of four beers to accompany our much anticipated vegan entree. The Radler may very well be the quintessential summer sipper combining the best aspects of a light lager with the tart sweetness of lemonade; to say this went down easy may be the understatement of the decade. Our sampler consisted of two seasonals the abominable winter ale and a Red whose name escapes me and two regulars the DOA Organic and the Survival Stout. First up the Winter ale which reminded me of a mild IPA, golden amber with fair amount of lacing, good but nothing jumped out at me defining this beer as a winter beer per se. The Red ale was very similar in appearance to the Winter ale, it had a bit of a soap-like hops taste but this was well balanced and the beer was clean to drink (the fantastic waitress mentioned this was her favourite). On to the DOA which looked much like the first two samples but had a smooth hop taste and a definite liquor presence. Last but not least the Survival Stout with its strong coffee nose and complex grain taste. Interestingly I could not discern the coffee taste while drinking and the beer tasted similar to a porter in density. We both agreed this was our favourite and bought a bottle to take home. It is interesting to think that I may have missed this experience entirely due to my tendency to judge a beer by its label, my rationale being a creative and witty label equates to unique and inspired ale, but perhaps I learned a life lesson here…if only I could remember what it was after all that beer!
- Out of a possible five I would give this Eco-Brewpub a 4.5 and the Vegan Pizza a 5.