Sunday, October 25, 2015

Zoiglhaus Brewing Company

I zee zomething new!
If you are visiting Portland and want to get around the city easily, the first thing you need to understand is that it's a city of unique, self-contained neighborhoods. The town is basically sectioned off into five quadrants (quintrants?) by the Willamette River and a couple of freeways. These quadrants, N, NE, NW, SE and SW, are even more broken down into about 95 officially recognized neighborhoods. Most Portlanders are generally content staying within the confines of their own neighborhoods and will usually avoid a trip over a bridge or a drive on the freeway, if at all possible. It's mostly a geography thing, but Portlanders do maintain and express a certain level of pride and preference for their own neighborhoods. I know I do. My NE Alberta Street neighborhood--the Concordia Neighborhood--is awesome and I rarely venture far from it, especially to do my drinking.

Like all urban areas, the city is changing, evolving, growing. Blight, gentrification, short-sighted development, homelessness, crime, gang violence and all the other maladies that affect every major metropolitan area also plague Portland. Unlike what you may see on TV or read in the media, Portland is far from Shangri-La. Nevertheless, it's still far and away the best place I've ever called home. Everything I could possible desire is found right here in Portland, and most of it is within walking distance from my front porch.

I do get out and about from time to time. With over 50 breweries right here in town, I don't have to travel far for great craft beer, but I do have to get out of my own 'hood. Yesterday, I traveled a few short miles to the Lents Neighborhood to visit one of the newest breweries in town, Zoiglhaus Brewing Co. I'm sure glad I did!

Like many other Portland neighborhoods, Lents has had it's struggles over the years. A recent influx of development funds from the city has had mixed reviews and some criticism, but I have no doubt Zoiglhaus will add a big boost to the area and help make it a destination neighborhood, especially for beer tourists. Hey, it got me over there!

I noticed just a hint of "new pub" smell when we walked inside the place. That's always exciting. The interior is massively spacious--very much a beer hall vibe. There was a mix of low and high tables, with booths around the perimeter. Clean, austere, modern industrial decor. They had 80's music on the sound system. It's been awhile since I was seated in a dining room with Joy Division playing in the background. Nice.

Corned beef Reuben, warm potato salad and a whole lot of beer!
I ordered 10 $2 tasters of every beer they had on tap. You can check out the current tap list HERE. Good stuff! I very much enjoyed the Zoigl Hefe-Weissbier (smooth) and the PDC Pale Single Hop Series. The Haus IPA is also a respectable Northwest IPA with the kind of hops profile that suits my tastebuds just fine.

The menu is eclectic with a German slant. That will ALWAYS get my Bavarian stomach growling, for sure. You had me at pretzels and spätzle, Zoiglhaus. I ordered the corned beef Reuben with warm potato salad. My wife got the Jägerschnitzel. We also had the Über-Sized Pretzel appetizer, some Weissbier Cheese Soup, and some fries. All the food was tasty and delicious.

A friend joined us for lunch with his two-year-old daughter. Zoiglhaus is definitely kid friendly. They have a children's menu and the large, open areas provide plenty of space between folks with kids and those who may not want to be within close proximity of the rugrats. There is also a play area for the active kinders.

The service was attentive and friendly. There was a sincere, welcoming vibe that will absolutely help bring me back again.

I'll be interested to see what kind of niche Zoiglhaus Brewing Co. can carve out for itself in the Portland beer scene. It's often hard to tell where that will go when a brewery first opens. I do believe they are off to a good start. You usually can't go wrong with good food and tasty beer.

The next item on my to-do list will be to figure out the TriMet bus route from my house to Zoiglhaus. I'll definitely be seeing them again soon! Zoiglhaus Brewing Company is located at 5716 SE 92nd Ave., Portland, OR 97266.

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