Last night we had the opportunity to check out the new, full menu from Dirty Hands Brewing in Vancouver, WA. They have only been open six months and our first visit was within their first week of opening. Our initial impressions were favorable and we were excited to hear the news that they their menu and kitchen were ready to roll.
We arrived for the soft opening, found a table and ended up with our server being the same one who had been working on our first visit, a wonderfully friendly and knowledgeable brunette. She explained the menu, noting that the house specialties section was not available tonight but everything else was, and that in addition to the beers listed on the chalkboard, they had just tapped an oatmeal stout.
Of the four beers on the menu, we had previously tried only the wheat, leaving the red, ESB, IPA and oatmeal stout as new territory. For our first round I went with the Captain Swing ESB and Mag chose the Steel Monkey IPA. The mild flavor and aroma were just what an ESB should be in my mind while Mag would have like to have found more mouthfeel in it. Conversely, he really enjoyed his IPA, more so as he continued through the pint, while I found it to be more malty and floral, with less bite than I prefer in my IPAs. Clearly we had each chosen well, each enjoying our beers as we took a closer look at the food menu.
The starters and small plates section included many familiar items, most with a bit of a twist, including the deviled eggs that were made with Sriracha mayo and topped with crushed kettle chips. All of the components being up our alley, it was a no brainer. The next section included four salads and two soups. Neither of us being big salad orderers, and the beer cheese soup and the New Mexico green chili both sounding tasty, it was on to the hardest section - signature hots.
The nine offerings included Chicago red hots, kielbasa, Italian sausage, bratwurst, chicken sausage and a vegan frankfurter all topped with delicious sounding ingredients. In the end we opted to try out The "Dirty Dog" - a Chicago red hot topped with macaroni salad, baked beans and crinkle cut fries - and the Killer Dog - a Chicago red hot topped with Thai peanut sauce, bacon, mayo, grilled onion and pickle. I'll save you the blow-by-blow, summing it up by saying that we were quite pleased with everything we ordered and I went through at least three full sized napkins (I abide by the notion that good food is often messy).
During the course of our meal our server brought out samples of the as-of-yet unnamed oatmeal stout. It had a great mouthfeel and was well balanced, being neither too roasty nor too chocolaty, while remaining moderate in body and drinkable. It was so drinkable that for our second round that was what Mag ordered while I went for the Wobbly Red Ale. I'm generally not a red fan; most of them are too malty for me, but this one was less so with more hops and could have passed for a half-brother of my favorite red, Coalition King Kitty.
It was great to visit Dirty Hands again and I applaud them for their creative menu. This is the first hot dog-anchored menu I've run across and well done to boot. Thanks to Phil for the invitation, which allowed us a chance to meet his business partner, Grant, and to the staff, especially, our server Lacey for a truly enjoyable and overwhelmingly tasty evening.
Dirty Hands Brewing Co.
114 E Evergreen Blvd
From Portland, take I-5 north, exiting at 1B for C Street, merge onto C Street and take a left onto E Evergreen Blvd