Saturday, October 1, 2016

Wayfinder Beer Is Worth Exploring

Portland's Newest Brewery Opens Today with an All-Star Line-Up

Bring together the food, beer and business acumen behind Double Mountain Brewery, Sizzle Pie and Podnah's Pit and what do you get? One helluva awesome new Portland brewery, that's what! Wayfinder Beer opened its doors the the public today. but I was very fortunate to get a sneak peek at the place and their most excellent offerings on Thursday. I was thoroughly impressed. EVERYTHING is spot on; from the decor, the space, the beer, the food, the cocktails, and...did I already mention the beer and food? 

Let's start with the beer, shall we? According to Charlie Devereux (Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom), the beer will be "lager-centric", meaning that Wayfinder intends to carve its niche in the Portland beer scene by concentrating on lagers--but with a Pacific Northwest twist, of course. The brewing operation is headed by lager specialist Kevin Davey, formerly of Firestone Walker, Gordon Biersch and Chuckanut Brewing. The current taplist is an array of collaborative beers that were brewed with a stellar list of established local brewers (Baerlic, Breakside, Hopworks, 54° 40', Widmer). I got to sample them all and I was certainly not disappointed.

How about a cocktail? I must say that an issue I have with most brewery taprooms is that they typically only serve beer. Great for me, but my better half, Mrs. BeerGuyPDX, is not a big fan of beer. I know! Crazy, right? If you have a similar issue, never fear, Wayfinder is here! They have an appropriately appealing cocktail line-up for the distilled spirits lover in your life.

Food? Come on, do you think the guys behind Sizzle Pie and Podnah's Pit could screw that up? Heck no! They have a wood-fired Argentine oven at Wayfinder Beer. The kitchen has an awesome concentration on smoked meats, and they make their own sausage and cured meats in-house. Wow! I left with my beard smelling of smoky deliciousness. Kept me hungry for the rest of the night.

The brewing operation has four bright, shiny new tanks and plenty of room for more. The indoor restaurant and bar areas are spacious and inviting, and there is a HUGE outdoor patio. The decor is relatively spartan but the warm wood and well-designed nooks give the place a homey feel, nonetheless. I can imagine having an intimate beer or two with a gathering of friends and not feel like we're in a cavernous beer hall.

Wayfinder Beer is located at 304 SE 2nd Street, an area on Portland's waterfront that was, in decades past, one of the roughest neighborhoods in the PNW. It is definitely an up and coming neighborhood now, but still with enough industrial grit and grime to provide some character and a glimpse of Portland's nefarious past.

I'm already recommending Wayfinder Beer to Portland beer tourists as a must visit, and they just opened up for business today. This is a brewery to watch and I'm expecting big things.

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