Garrison Tap Room: 8773 N Lombard St., royalebrewing.com. 5-11 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 5 pm-midnight Friday, noon-midnight Saturday, noon-11 pm Sunday.
Everything at Royale's new tasting room looks OK, tastes OK and costs the right amount. Though it's in St. Johns, the unassuming 2-year-old North Portland brewery's taproom looks just like it would in inner-Northeast or Southeast Portland: brand-new, groovily wood-paneled and garage-doored, with a gigantic painting of a rhinoceros on the wall. Royale did a good job of recruiting its new customers from the dive bars across the street—offering $4 pints and allowing food from elsewhere. But although it has one of the best-appointed awning-and-picnic-tabled patios in the area, there's something eerie about this place and its affordably fashionable patrons. Without looking at the labels on six Royale beer taps on a visit this summer, five of them—pale ale, Pilsner, session IPA, strong ale and bière de garde—could be generically described as "pale, and somewhat hoppy." The sixth was a coffee saison laden with cold brew. All are competent, none buttery or offensive by any means, and if we lived in the neighborhood, the price of the beer alone would often make it our watering hole. But it'll take a while for this slick room to feel lived-in.
Drink this: The Inspektor Red Ale, a malt-driven red ale with just a hint of hop bite to dry it out on the finish.
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