Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ex Novo Brewing Company

As in "from scratch"...
With over 80 breweries located within the greater Portland metro area, I imagine it must be difficult for a new start-up to be a stand-out. What can a brewery do to be different around here? How about making it a non-profit? Hey, that's different. It's also pretty darn...Portland.

Ex Novo Brewing Company is that non-profit brewery. Their website advises that 100% of their profits are donated to partner organizations that "are doing good work and doing it well." The current list includes Mercy Corps, Impact NW, International Justice Mission and Friends of the Children. You mean I can drink tasty beer, chow down on delicious pub grub AND support some awesome humanitarian causes all at the same time? That's probably about the best thing I've ever done with my beer money!

I paid Ex Novo Brewing a visit for the first time last night. It's located on my side of the water at 2326 N. Flint Avenue. It's just a hop, skip and a jump from Moda Center, Oregon Convention Center and the hubbub of the Lloyd District. There are a few tables out on the sidewalk and the interior decor is clean, modern, industrial chic. I counted at least a dozen taps of Ex Novo brews. My beer shunning spouse was most pleased to find an extensive selection of whiskey behind the bar. A couple of Burnside Bourbons on the rocks saved me from an evening of the stink eye for taking the missus out to yet another "beer joint" on date night.

The Ex Novo menu provides some very tasty food options. I was most impressed with Bacon for the Table. For $8, a shaker pint filled with half a dozen pieces of crispy, premium bacon was delivered to our table. It's that simple and that awesome. I'm telling you, there was some serious bacon envy vibing through the room.

For my first beer, I ordered the Eliot IPA. I found it to be a citrus-y, pine-y, tropical fruit-y delight. The substantial hops bitterness was balanced nicely against sweet caramel malt. Very drinkable and quite a pretty brew. The creamy white head dissipated slowly and left loads of lacing behind. 6.6% ABV and a reported 65 IBU.

I also had a Jacked-Up Farmhouse Ale. Delicious tropical fruit aroma and flavor. Another easy drinker that came with 7.4% ABV and 10 IBU. Excellent!

Truthfully, there are only a handful of taprooms and/or pubs that I frequent. Ex Novo is going on my shortlist. The service was stellar and the atmosphere was chill and relaxed. Excellent beer. Delicious food. Add all this to the fact that it's not too far off my route home from work and, well, the planets are aligned to make Ex Novo my new favorite. 


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