Friday, August 3, 2012

Gone Squatchin'

Sasquatch Brewing has been up and running for a while now, getting their own beer flowing through their tap lines a few months ago. My first visit there was just a few weeks before that happened and ever since I heard they were serving their own I've been meaning to make a trip back. My delay in doing so wasn't necessarily a bad thing since the wait resulted in four of their beers now being available.

Woodboy IPA - My hop head palate rejoiced while drinking this beer that uses Cascade and Centennial hops. However if you're not a hop head, in particular not a C-hop head I wouldn't recommend this beer. The description states that it's a "well-balanced ale." I don't know who wrote that but I'm confident in saying that either they're into serious palate-wrecking beers or they were drinking something else.
Bertha Brown Ale - Brown ales are not a style I generally like and this one continued that trend. For me it's too sweet (think Newcastle) even though its description indicates that the beer has "a subtle hop presence [that] keeps things interesting" I had a hard time finding much of a hop profile among the malt presence.
Dry-Hopped Woodboy IPA - After enjoying the regular version of this beer I was excited about the dry-hopped version. Unfortunately, it didn't even taste like the same base beer was used and came across as very bitter instead of offering "a luscious, citrusy flavor."
Untimely Summer Ale - Like brown ales, summer ales are not typically my thing. Here was an instance in which I was proven wrong and was glad that by the time I was ready to order another pint it was the only one I had yet to taste. It turned out to be an easy drinking, agreeable brew and the only one on the menu where the description accurately reflected the beer in my glass.

From a beer standpoint, Sasquatch does a decent job. Two of the four beers were tasty and although the third I wouldn't order I suspect those that enjoy brown ales would be happy with it. Unfortunately there are other factors beyond just the beer to consider and while I generally take the stance that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all, I think it's fair to point out areas that can be improved.

Food - The menu overall is upscale brewpub but since it was early in the evening we opted for appetizers instead of a full meal. The Cheese of the Day turned out to be a blue variety, served with crostini and a small dish of honey. While the cheese was served at the appropriate temperature and was delicious, at $4, the serving size seemed quite small. The other appetizer we ordered was their pretzel, drizzled with honey and served with house mustard. Their version is a very heavy pretzel, almost bread-like, without a crispy exterior and overall disappointing.

Service - The service at the bar both this time and on our previous visit was both unfriendly and inattentive. I'm willing to give some slack if it's clear that a bartender/server is overwhelmed but when the bar is half full and the restaurant even less full I take offense at being treated as though it's an imposition that I've stopped in with the intent to spend money.

Both of these issues are ones that could be resolved and for the long-term viability of Sasquatch they need to be. Portland has too many places where I can get good beer, good food and be treated like a welcome customer for me to bother returning to a place that is only fulfilling one of those three things.

To avoid ending on a negative note, I do feel there is potential at Sasquatch and I'm interested to see what other beers they'll turn out in the future. Besides, "Harry" is keeping watch over the place!

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