5224 SE 26th Ave., 503-208-3416, giganticbrewing.com. 3-9 pm Monday-Friday, noon-9 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Flung out among the warehouses of lower Southeast, Gigantic might as well be in Croatia. And yet, the brewery's tiny tasting room draws a loyal crowd. On the Friday before an ice storm shut down the city, a standing-room-only crowd huddled inside just after quitting time, quaffing winter ales as if they were trying to build enough of a buzz to last through an extended period of hibernation.
This is a testament to how founders Van Havig and Ben Love have cultivated their brand over the past five years. Their label art is inspired by comic books and concert posters, and everything Gigantic does has a pronounced sense of irony—it refers to its taproom as a "Champagne lounge," and the Timbers-and-taxidermy decor almost feels almost winkingly clichéd.
Everything changes except the well-regarded eponymous IPA, and the beers on our visit were hop-heavy seasonals such as the Too Big to Fail, a fruit-bomb triple IPA made in collaboration with New Zealand's Behemoth Brewing and weighing in at 10.6 percent ABV. The only downside is not being able to call out an order for "Gigantic-Behemoth Too Big" more than once.
Drink this: Dip Hoppa NW Pilsner. Maybe the lightest, crispest thing on the roster, but still satisfyingly flavorful.
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