Thursday, September 29, 2016

Mt Tabor Brewing Returns to Portland

Glass lamp inspired tap handles & a tasty line up
Mt Tabor Brewing's location-based name might cause some a bit of confusion but there's no confusion about the beer they're making. It's good. Plenty good to join the heavy hitters in the particularly wonderful SE section of this beer wonderland we call Portland that they've just moved to.

When Eric Surface opened Mt Tabor brewing it was located in SE Portland's Mt Tabor neighborhood and thus the name was fitting. Then as things tend to happen to small, growing breweries, they needed more space. Forging across the river to Vancouver, WA, five years ago they aimed to "do double duty between the brewery and full time jobs" and of course continue their growth. They succeeded so much so that earlier this year they announced that they would be leaving downtown Vancouver, coming back home to Portland. (There's also a location in the Felida Village area of Vancouver - NW 119th St & NW 36th Ave - in the works.)

Ben Dobler lays it out
Having gotten to Portland not long before Mt Tabor moved across the river I hadn't gotten properly acquainted with them and in the ensuing years have been fairly Portland-centric with my drinking. Last night the situation was rectified when I visited the new space which is conveniently located within easy walking distance of my house (thanks!!) and managed by the friendly and familiar face of Nicole Kasten. The space is tucked just off SE Sandy Blvd and from the outside is unassuming. But one step inside the doors and wow, there is a ton of space that is part tasting room, part brewery and all "I got room to add more tanks AND more tables."

Of the 10+ beers from head brewer Ben Dobler, a long-time Widmer alum, I had the pleasure of trying seven - Lamp Post Lager, Ash St. Amber Ale, Powell Butte Pale Ale, Asylum Ave IPA, Crown Point Porter, Cowboy's Lament Dark Mexican Lager and Little Dutch Boy ISA. As a hop head amber and pale ales generally do little for me and merely serve as a warm up to the main event - IPAs. Not so here. Mt Tabor's Ash St. Amber certainly has the caramelized malt flavor one would expect from the style but takes a turn away from the sweet-too-malty-for-me path and goes down a more toasty trail. And for as much as I enjoyed the amber it was the Powell Butte Pale Ale, their flagship beer, that really hit it out of the park for me. With an enticing citrus hop aroma followed by a flavor that doesn't wash out this 5% pale ale easily stood up to the real test - coming back to it after drinking the piney-citrusy (and yummy in its own right) IPA.

More Crown Point coming
The Crown Point Porter was also a definite winner in my book. The combination of having an incredibly roasty aroma and dark but not heavy drinkability would make this a great breakfast beer. Finally the Lamp Post Lager, a style I'm coming around to, was a clean and very drinkable version of the style that does considerably more than serve as a light option.

I realize I'm gushing a bit. That's ok. I'm pretty sure these guys deserve it. And whether you believe me or need to decide for yourself first hand, you should check them out Friday and Saturday afternoon/evenings.

Mt Tabor Brewing
124 SE 11th Ave
Friday & Saturday 3-9pm

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