6635 N Baltimore Ave., 719-7102, occidentalbrewing.com. 4-8 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 3-8 pm Friday, noon-8 pm Saturday, noon-6 pm Sunday.
Occidental is, as far as we know, the only Portland brewery in danger of having its bar busted up by U.S. Customs. That’s unlikely, as the contraband in question is a single Cuban beer cap, popped from Bucanero Fuerte and set into the clear epoxy slab that services this production-focused brewery’s cramped tasting area. But, hey, Obama’s gotta do something once he’s taken our guns and jobs. Sitting directly under the St. Johns Bridge, Occidental focuses on traditional German ales, much of it canned or on tap at restaurants that don’t want beer that blows out palates. The bar’s only snack is made by neighboring Moonstruck Chocolate, which dips Occidental’s spent grains into chocolate. Occidental’s kolsch and dunkel are both appropriately crisp and clean, but we’re most taken with the wheat beers: a standard hefeweizen with big banana and clove notes and, in the winter months, the darker, richer Dunkelweizen, one of our top 10 beers of 2011. MARTIN CIZMAR.
DRINK THIS: You want a Weizen, the darker the Weizen the better.