Friday, February 2, 2018

Brunchin' at Burnside

Brunch is a big thing in this town. If you're thinking "duh" or "really" just keep in mind that this comes from the perspective of a non-native Portlander, who although feels this place has become home, still has a bit of outsider's perspective. 

We don't go out to brunch often, usually only when we have visitors in town, and when we do we typically avoid the popular/high visibility places. Waiting, hungry and in need of coffee, is not a way to start the day especially when there are tons of great places to brunch. Depending who we're brunching with determines if we're looking for a place with great [insert favorite dish of our visitors], a place with stellar bloody marys/mimosas or some other factor. If we were going out on our own a deciding factor might be a place that has a great morning beer on tap that pairs well with food. In that case, enter Burnside Brewing.

Burnside opens at 11am daily, including on the weekends when the brunch menu is available. We recently had the opportunity to try out some of Chef Richard Watt's brunch items, one of which we really dug with a new offering from the brewery side of Burnside, Wau, Nessie! 

First seen at the NW Coffee Beer Invitational 2018 at Goose Hollow Inn, and now available at their pub, it is the second collaboration beer in Groundwork Coffee's 'Brewers Series'. The Coffee Wee Heavy Ale features Groundwork's organic single origin Papua New Guinea roast, a medium roast coffee, from the Wau Co-Op. It  was one of our favorite beers at the festival and is overall, one of the best Scottish ales we've had. Malty and caramelly as one would expect from the style, the coffee further balances the beer so that instead of being cloying it whispers, " like coffee in the morning...come drink this in the morning."

Going back to the brunch item that we found to pair particularly well with it is the Smoked Trout Hash. What it's lacking in visual appeal it more than makes up for with smoky flavor. Not a fan of smoked fish? Then perhaps you'll dig on their Chilaquiles, a pile of loaded tortilla chips served in a cast iron pan (think nachos that are better eaten with a fork), or the simply seasoned, carb-o-licious Crispy Potatoes. 

If you're more of a sweet-for-breakfast person then the Donut Bread Pudding is for you. It's usually listed on the specials chalkboard near the door but even if it isn't, ask your server. Created from buttermilk and blueberry (usually) donuts from their neighbors down the street, Delicious Donuts, this cinnamony treat somehow manages to avoid being overly sweet and retains the airiness familiar to most donuts. The "icing" on this "cake" is a super dense whipped cream that looks and tastes closer to ice cream than the whipped cream we're used to. 

While we hope you enjoy the Wau, Nessie! as much as we did, if you are there for brunch and hope to get anything else done for the day you may want to have just one. It goes down far easier than many 10% beers, a quality that speaks to the skills of the Burnside Brewing team. 

Through February 7th $1 from each Wau, Nessie! sold will be donated to the Cafe Femenino Foundation, an independent non-profit organization that funds community betterment grant requests proposed and managed by women in coffee-producing regions around the world.

One last note, perhaps as you rearrange your weekend plans to fit in brunch at Burnside, is that all day Sundays IPAs are a mere $3. So whether you go for the beer, go for the food or go for the killer Sunday price on IPAs, consider Burnside the next time you're heading out for brunch.

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