825 N Cook St., 503-265-8002, eclipticbrewing.com. 11 am-10 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday, 11 am-9 pm Sunday.
Ecliptic owner John Harris is a veteran of the local beer scene, having developed classic recipes while at Deschutes, Full Sail and McMenamins. Chances are, you've drunk something he had a hand in developing. In 2013, he finally got his own spot off Mississippi Avenue that showcases three of his passions: beer, food and astronomy. The beer is uniformly well-made—Harris brews clean, flaw-free beer with a focus on balance. In an era where geeks flock to super-sweet pastry stouts and to gimmicky weird-stuff sours, Harris orchestrates nuance. His hoppy Pilsner remains one of the better versions of the style while his lightly tart Carina Peach Sour, made with Lactobacillus, has rightfully won tap handles all over town. The imposing, concrete-heavy taproom—it looks like the inside of the cement monolith Pete and Roger pissed on for the cover of Who's Next—has culinary ambitions that include farro, mussels, gnocchi and black cod. It also has the best brewpub burger in town, a half-pound monster served on a plump potato roll that crushes pleasantly in the fist. It's topped with a lot of aggressive ingredients—pancetta, red onions, melted Gruyère and Russian dressing—that are applied gently, bringing it into perfect alignment.
Nearby: The one thing Ecliptic is lacking is a spectacular patio—Harris decided to do everyone a solid and keep the parking lot at the former Flavor Spot instead of attempting one of the huge new garden spaces we're seeing around town. Luckily, you're near two of the best in town, Stormbreaker Brewing and Bar Bar (3939 N Mississippi Ave., 503-288-3895, mississippistudios.com/bar-bar)