Until recently, Woodstock has been uniquely resistant to change—a place where the sausage shop, the dive bar and and the hardware store are all old enough to collect Social Security checks. But even with last year's addition of a Double Mountain taproom, it's shocking that Proper Pint (5965 SE 52nd Ave., 971-544-7167, facebook.com/ProperPintTaproom) is the neighborhood's first real craft beer bar.
Located next to a new minimalist outpost of Woodstock's first third-wave coffee shop, Proper Pint is surprisingly homey for a beer spot, with patterned-cushion seats and cluttered bookshelves forming its back wall and a sliding door leading out to a friendly patio shaded by Japanese maples. Even the barstools here—a strip of leather stretched across the chair frame—are more comfortable than expected. The rotating 24-tap beer list is analog rather than digital, made with strips of printed vinyl.
Though the brews on our visit included deep cuts like a Cryo IPA from tiny Trap Door in Vancouver and a blueberry gose from New Mexico's Marble, owners Sean Hiatt and Casey Milligan have made the place into less geek haven than cozy hang. "I just put on the stuff I want to drink," Hiatt told us, while sitting with regulars at the bar.
It's the sort of neighborhood-oriented spot that installs a red phone in the back, hardwired to order Chicago-style thin crust from Bridge City Pizza down the street. And even in a shiny new mixed-use building, the four-month-old bar already feels a bit lived in. Apparently the way to open a beer bar in Woodstock is to make it feel like it was always there.