As much as rain gushes along gutters, beer runs in our veins in Portland. Still, most brew pubs put as much care into their menus as they throw into crafting stand-apart beers.
The New Old Lompoc
Situated out of range of the heels-and-highlights set that scours the boutiques lining Northwest 23rd Avenue, the New Old Lompoc radiates a well-worn, no-B.S. vibe. Red-painted booths stand out next to the creaky wooden floor in the bar, while a sequestered beer garden out back is a little-known oasis in fair weather.
The New Old Lompoc is a fine place to stop in for a late weekday lunch Ñ you'll have the place largely to yourself.
Like many bar menus, this one offers man-sized portions for cheap, but the food transcends average pub grub.
The Brewer's Club is a satisfying twist on that old country club standby: Sliced turkey meat is thrown on the grill for a few minutes to attain smoky flavor, then layered with melted provolone and two big strips of bacon and served on a toasted roll.
Chicken tenders with hand-cut skinny fries are shaped more like hands than fingers and come with a sweet-and-gooey stout barbecue sauce. Seasonal taps and Pilsner Urquell round out the Lompoc's own microbrews.
1616 N.W. 23rd Ave., 503-225-1855
Laurelwood Public House & Brewery
The Laurelwood Public House is so oriented toward families, you almost expect Labrador retrievers to belly up to the bar. The brew pub doesn't cater to dogs, but it is smoke-free, boasts a play area for kids and has the added attraction of a visible brewery behind a glass wall at the pub's stern.
The vast menu aims to please creatures big and small with a dozen burgers, entree-sized salads, a few hearty pastas and sandwiches galore.
The globe-trotting fare won't knock you out, but it's the kind of no-fuss food that can be especially nice on a lazy Saturday afternoon spent people-watching and catching up on newspapers.
Hankering for some Tex-Mex? Order a burrito, taco salad or fish tacos. Craving sausage? There's a beer-steamed brat with your name on it. A full bar supplements Laurelwood brewer Christian Ettinger's small-batch beers; try the altbier.
1728 N.E. 40th Ave., 503-282-0622
BridgePort Ale House
Thin, crispy pizzas that serve one to two people are a specialty of this BridgePort Brewing Co. offshoot, but the menu is not confined just to pizza and slablike half-pound burgers.
Slip into one of the sleek wooden booths and cozy up to a bowl of Ebenezer Ale stew, tangy and belly-warming with lots of carrots, potatoes and bits of shredded beef.
The BLT is heavy on the bacon, and, come to think of it, all the sandwiches are massive.
All of BridgePort's in-season beers are available, and the best-loved ones are drawn straight from the casks in which they were conditioned, resulting in extra-creamy, rich-tasting ale.
3632 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., 503-233-6540