The doors to the taproom at Culmination Brewing, located in inner NE Portland, have been open for a while but if you've visited you may have noticed that many of the 20-ish taps are guest taps. As the brewery nears its grand opening celebration this weekend they're increasing the number of house beers on tap and rolling food out of their kitchen. Focusing not just on making great beer, but seeking to provide a great experience that includes incredible food and live music from local bands, Culmination is striving to be the whole package.
At last week's media preview we sampled six of their beers along with a sessionable mead from building neighbor, Stung Fermented (tagline "Drink Mate Die"). We tasted through two Saisons, two IPAs, a Coffee Cream Ale and my favorite, Citrus Sour. Of the Saisons it was Saison 1 (left in picture) that I found to be more agreeable to my palate due to its less aggressive flavor than its counterpart, Saison 2. Taking me by surprise was the Belgian IPA. Light on the Belgian characteristics, I found myself preferring it over the IPA that didn't have quite enough hop forwardness to tickle my tongue. Coffee 'n' Cream Ale, a collaboration with Kells, was brewed with two styles of Ethiopian beans and served on nitro. The aggressive, delicious coffee aroma was followed up with a body more like iced tea with a splash of cream. Finally, the cream of the crop for me was Citrus Sour. As founder and brewmaster Tomas Sluiter described their method for souring I thoroughly enjoyed every drop of the Sweet Tarts-esque sourness of it. This is one not to miss.
Following the beer tasting came a plate from Executive Chef Carter Owen that could easily have been mistaken to have come out of Ecliptic's kitchen. If you've eaten there you know that's high praise. A nicely sized pulled pork slider topped with slaw was accompanied by house pickles and what appeared at first glance to be a fairly plain pile of greens. Oh how wrong that first impression was! Those greens were dressed with Carter's Intervale Herb Dressing that includes eight herbs and some other secrets he's keeping close to his chest. He hails from Vermont, perhaps not what you think of when you think BBQ country but if the juicy, flavorful pork slider was any indication of where to find good BBQ, I'll take Vermont over the south any day.
This weekend is a busy one as PDX Beer Week wraps up but not to worry, the celebration at Culmination spans both Friday and Saturday. Surely you can find a couple hours in your schedule to swing by and check them out.
Culmination Brewery Grand Opening Celebration
Friday, June 19th 4 - 10pm
Brewer's dinner available
Saturday, June 20th 11am - 10pm
Brunch until 2pm
Small plates for the middle of the afternoon
Dinner special starting at 4pm
2217 NE Oregon Street