Monday, March 26, 2018

Von Ebert Brewing Opens

Today Von Ebert Brewing, which occupies the former Fat Head's brewpub in the Pearl District, opens its doors to the public. We were thrilled to be asked and able to accept an invitation to attend the soft opening over the weekend. We couldn't try all of the beer and food so this isn't an extensive review but we hope our sneak peek will encourage you to visit them for yourself. 

Closed for a mere eight days for the transition, minor aesthetic changes have been made to the original design of the large interior, a set up that maximizes the space while distinguishing three seating areas: bar seating, the table seating in the bar area and the booth-dominated seating that is more conducive to families or larger groups. Another component that appears to have been tweaked rather than overhauled is the staff. Even though we were not Fat Head's regulars we saw plenty of familiar faces on staff from our visits, something that speaks not only to the quality of the staff but also to the ownership's ability to understand the value of good employees. 

The beer and food offerings, not surprisingly, reflect the deepest changes. About half of the full line up of beers was available during the soft opening, which was still more than sufficient. Remaining IPA-heavy as had been the case with Fat Head's, fans of The Commons Brewery will feel the influence brewer Sean Burke has brought with him in Silent Acidity, a Lacto and Sacchro beer, and the Saison/farmhouse ale, Flat Nose Shovel. We loved the complexity and mouthfeel of the rye IPA (Road With No End), the tropical flavors in Spot Buy IPA and found the Pilsner and Kolsch to be well-crafted German-style beers.

The food menu offers familiar brewpub categories - appetizers, salads, pizzas, wings, sandwiches and burgers - with two noticeable changes. The first is that those delicious pierogies are no longer available. The second is the addition of three charcuterie and cheese boards, each featuring three cheeses, three cured meats and accompaniments. Cheese is one of our favorite foods, especially when it is served along with beer, and this take on it is something that would feed two people for a light meal or could be shared by many more for a starter. In fact all of the food we tried and saw delivered to nearby tables appeared to be Fat Head's sized. Instead of worrying about going hungry, the greater danger is you'll find your table laden with enough food to feed twice the number in your party. We call that a good problem to have.

We're excited for Sean and the whole Von Ebert Crew and are looking forward to returning!

Von Ebert Brewing
131 NW 13th Avenue
Open daily at 11:30 am

Thursday, March 1, 2018

4th Annual SheBrew Beer Festival

As 2018 rolls on and the frequency of beer festivals picks up, don't miss your chance to attend one of the newer, somewhat smaller, but definitely worthy festivals in Portland. SheBrew is now in its fourth year, offering beer, cider and mead from female Pro Brewers and Home Brewers. Unlike the WW Pro/AM (which we love as well), at this festival the pros and the home brewers don't team up to brew a beer/cider/mead but instead offer their creations as two components of a festival that is also a fundraiser for HRC. (The organization works with lawmakers and other groups to achieve equality for LGBTQ people in Oregon and across the US.)

For the second year the festival will take place inside Buckman Coffee Factory, a female-owned roaster located in inner SE. In addition to the 30+ beer/cider/mead offerings from the Pro Brewers and Home Brewers there will be music throughout the festival, comedians starting at 6:30pm and Spotlight food cart set up. For an added bit of fun attendees will be able to vote (until 6pm) for their favorite home brewed beverage in the People's Choice competition, with the winner being announced at the conclusion of the festival.

While being named People's Choice is an honor, a pre-festival American Homebrewers Association sanctioned competition took place that included submissions from across the country. 121 entries competed in 17 categories with the category winners selected by a team of judges and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners being awarded medals. The overall winner, Best of Show, will have the honor of collaborating on a beer with Natalie Baldwin, R&D brewer at Breakside Brewery. The Best of Show winner will be announced at 6pm.

The $20 general admission fee includes festival tasting glass, 10 tasting tokens and punch card to sample and vote on all the homebrew beverages. (The festival-standard option of purchasing more tokens for $1 each applies.) For those wanting to get a jump on the general admission entry, $40 VIP tickets are available. In addition to glass, tokens and punch card, VIP ticket holders get early entry (11am), t-shirt and 10 raffle tickets. 

We plan to be there when the doors open and hope to see you!

Saturday, March 3 12 - 8pm
1105 SE Main St.
Purchase tickets in advance or at the door