Brannon's Pub & Brewery opened in Beaverton last week and I accepted an invitation to check them out last night. Living in SE Portland I don't get to that part of the metro often and I don't have a problem admitting that if I hadn't been invited, there's a good chance it might have been quite a while before I visited. Thankfully wading through rush hour traffic to get there turned out to be worth it, revealing a couple of beers and food that hit high notes for me.
Before we get to my favorites from the brewery and kitchen, a little background for you. Kevin Brannon, and his business partner, Chris Evans, began working on the concept for the brewpub a little over a year ago and quickly assembled a team with Devin Benware heading up the brewing operations and Sean Beanblossom running the kitchen. Devin, although only in his 20's, has been honing his brewing skills for years, embarking on home brewing while still in high school in Vermont. After relocating to Portland he took a kitchen position at Old Market Pub & Brewery and made his way into the brewery the same way many do - cleaning kegs.
I tried six of Devin's beers and it was Thunderbuss, an oatmeal stout of the dry, roasty variety, and Vernepator, an Americal Pale Ale with substantial hop character, that made my taste buds light up. If you know much about my taste buds this will come as a bit of a surprise to you; it did to me. Vernepator was actually the first beer of the evening and I wasn't sure about it at first but as I continued to sip it, the citrus and pine notes of the hops built and I realized I was quite enjoying it. Thunderbuss was more of a hit with me right from the get go, hitting my stout sweet spot, one that is restrained in sweetness with a roasty body. I had expected the IPA and black IPA to be my favorites but both were maltier than I prefer.
Devin, less than since making his first batch in the 10 barrel system, made a couple of comments that belies his youth and I hope speaks to a bright brewing future for him and Brannon's. The first was in response to a question regarding plans for other beers than the current lineup, to which he replied, "The basic beers need to be perfect before we go in another direction." As a follow up to that he also commented that he wants to improve on the current recipes but he, "wants to know what Beaverton wants to drink," and work in that direction.
Now a bit of background on the food side of the operation. Sean, another young 'en, spent most of his life in Washington, just a few miles from the Canadian border. During his trek south to Portland, via Seattle and Bellingham, he obtained a degree in culinary arts and gained experience at a variety of restaurants. Kevin joked that Sean "came in the box" with the Woodstone Corp. hearth oven that was carefully selected to turn out pizzas like the Neapolitan ones he'd fallen in love with during a trip to Rome. The pizza was the highlight of the food part of the evening for me and although I'm not stuck on a certain style I know what I like, I know they're hard to find and I know the ones Sean is making go on my short list.
I'm not sure when I'll make it back to Brannon's but you can be sure that I'll be keeping my eye out for the monthly beer and food pairings that are coming down the pike in the new year. Perhaps I'll see you there.
Brannon's Pub & Brewery
3800 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton
Open weekdays at 11 am, weekends at 9:00 am