Recently relocated to Southeast Stark Street, Belmont Station has extended its reach from beer to food with its BierCafe. The cafe, which opened about two months ago, solidifies Belmont Station's reputation as Portland's greatest beer store. And given our city's unequivocal love of brew, that's saying a lot.
With its bright yellow walls and ample selection of board games, BierCafe's casual feel makes it easy to get lost in one of the many pints from the rotating taps. Obviously, though, the selection of 700-plus bottled brews is the real draw. It's easy to spend a good deal of time wandering through the museum of beers to find one that hits the spot. The selection is unmatched and bottles can be consumed in the cafe, although the price is a bit higher if you enjoy them in-house (prices below are all in-house unless otherwise noted).
BierCafe's food, on the other hand, is as basic as it gets. Sandwiches ($7.50) dominate the small menu, with a choice of turkey, ham, tuna or veggies on Great Harvest bread. Unfortunately, these items are pretty dull—an average turkey sandwich made by some dude is hardly a culinary innovation. But when you're swilling a 17-ounce, imported bottle of British brewer Wychwood's Hobgoblin Dark English Ale ($6) and munching on a big bowl of pretzels ($1), it does the deed.
More inspired is the red-pepper hummus plate ($8.50), served with pita and fresh veggies. The heaping bowl of hummus has a mellow tang and is more than filling. The daily soups ($3 a cup, $4 a bowl) are fantastic, particularly the wild rice, chicken and mushroom, served piping hot with dipping bread.
While the food spread will leave you yawning, the beer will leave you swearing, stammering and calling your exes. BierCafe is a perfect place to share a huge bottle of something you've never had—Michigan-based Jolly Pumpkin's champagne-y Oro de Calabaza ($10) is a perfect starter, while tiny Californian brewery Marin's Bluebeery Ale ($4.29, take-away price) is a great dessert beer. Add a massive selection from a smattering of other countries, and you've got a drinker's paradise.
To recap: The grub leaves a lot to be desired—but Belmont Station isn't concerned with catering to foodies. It's a place to kick back and enjoy fine nectar in a mellow place. In that respect, BierCafe is a winner.