Since I went to Portland in 2017, two of the breweries I visited closed: Burnside Brewing and my favorite, The Common. (RIP their barleywine or quad or whatever it was; I was so in-the-moment, I didn’t document it, but it was one of the best beers I’ve ever had in my life.)
At the time, Portland had over 60 breweries with a population of over 600,000 — almost three times the size of my humble town in N.C., which has a meager 10 breweries, brewpubs, and breweries’ tasting rooms.
Every once in a while, I’ll have a conversation with someone about the breaking point. In a single town or city, how much is too much? Of course, this depends on demand, but breweries go out of business for a variety of reasons: capital setbacks, theft, product quality, etc. Mystery Brewing in nearby Hillsborough went under because of the first two, but my favorite bartender claims it’s also because of their business model: They never had a flagship beer or a reliable line of beers they always had on tap; every brew was a one-off.
Fortunately, the beer industry in my town is doing quite well; I have a few choice words for those who comment on the local newspaper Facebook page about there being too many breweries. Within the last month, Radar Brewing finally opened (having originally estimated a summer 2019 opening date), and Hoots Beer Co. opened a second location at the corner of Trade and 7th.
It’s fun to watch a brewery/taproom come together. Last summer, local muralist JEKS painted the external wall of the building, formerly Test Pattern bar.
Construction workers redid the entrance, putting in wooden paneling and permanent outdoor tables. I got the courage to peek in through the window one night, and a metal owl in flight stared back at me.
I wasn’t in a rush to visit so they could get their legs under them, but when I did, I found it to be even better than the original location.
There’s plenty of space to spread out — three interconnected rooms, essentially, with the bar in the first one as you walk in. We picked a comfy semicircular booth in the back along a wall with really cool, rustic wooden panels. (Not pictured, but I tried!)
The beers offered are probably the same as at the original location. I had their tried-and-true Morning Stout, and my husband sampled the El Dorado pale ale, which was solid and way better than other popular pales like Sierra Nevada’s.
It’s a great location, too, and sure to draw the late-night crowds from other nearby bars, breweries, and restaurants.
I’m always really happy to visit the great drinking holes around here, and I’m so glad others feel the same way. Sundays are usually the best day to find a quiet, laid back atmosphere to chill before the upcoming week. Really, there isn’t anything better.