Saturday, October 1, 2016
Find Your Way to Wayfinder Beer
From street level, Wayfinder Beer doesn't give many clues about what lies inside. The first hints come as one walks up the steps, entering the building via a gorgeous, expansive west-facing deck. Then as you step through the glass doors, there's an expansive bar. Turn to the left and wander further - ooh there's the open kitchen - and further - ooh there's the open brewery - and further. Really the place seems to go on and on. But a beautiful place is only one component to a brewpub and even one as impressive as this must have the liquid and solid chops to back it up.
We'll start with the liquids, which are currently presented in the form of collaboration beers done with local breweries, large and small. It's a plan other new places have used and especially great when your brewery equipment just showed up. That's no exaggeration - the 10bbl system, including vessel for decoction mashing and hopback/hopjack - was delivered mere hours before the media preview began Thursday. When fully installed the steam powered brewhouse headed by Kevin Davey, a Tualatin native whose resume includes Firestone Walker and Chuckanut, will focus on lagers. There's enough space for a large expansion or perhaps their own packaging line as that's something they plan to do down the road.
The beers were presented alongside a sampling of food:
- Wayfinder/Baerlic Bike Crush Kolsch
- Wayfinder/Hopworks Tiny Bubbles German-style Pilsner
- Wayfinder/Breakside Li'l Goblin Weizenbock
- Wayfinder/Widmer Supergeil Festbier Lager
- Wayfinder/Breakside Definitely Not IPA
- Wayfinder/54 40' Double Trouble Double Red Ale
Overall the styles are not my preferred ones but the Hopworks collaboration Pilsner was quite nice, especially with the charcuterie meats and sausages. Also a tasty accompaniment to the meatiness of the appetizers was the Double Trouble double red collaboration with 54 40'. At 7.5% ABV it's not overly boozy but as one who doesn't enjoy malty beers the balance provided by the meat, especially the sausage, was spot on.
No surprise the Definitely Not IPA collaboration with Breakside, the hoppiest of the beers presented, was my favorite. The level of hops was agreeable for pairing with just about any food and a good choice for my fellow hop heads.
In addition to the charcuterie and sausage plates, all of the food was delicious, with obvious care and thought taken in its preparation. That's a big compliment from me in particular regards to the cornmeal crusted fried oysters. I generally gloss over oysters on any menu that have had heat applied; on the half shell is the only interest to me. These however were incredibly tender inside...think of a Scotch egg that's crispy on the outside but inside the yolk is still slightly runny. Mmmmmmm.
And before I wrap this up, a note about the chicken and dessert. Like cooked oysters, I typically pass by any chicken dish but Wayfinder's is some of the most flavorful and moist I've ever had. Smoked and served on the bone it would be easy to eat an entire bird. Here it was served with a sweet potato hash and bright, cooked-just-right broccolini.
Never one to pass up finishing a meal with dessert, their buttery brioche bread pudding was the icing on the cake of a preview that left me eager to go back.
Ok, now go. Eat, drink, enjoy!
304 SE 2nd Ave
Open daily at 11am