515 Portage Road, Cascade Locks, 971-231-4599, thunderislandbrewing.com. 3-9 pm Thursday-Friday, noon-10 pm Saturday, noon-8 pm Sunday.
If you’re drinking Thunder Island beer in Portland, something’s amiss. Named for a little rock off the coast of Cascade Locks, this tiny brewery opened in October with plans to sell everything made on a wee two-barrel system from a bare-bones tasting area separated from its open-fire brew kettle by a few sticks of wood fencing. Thunder Island’s target is tourists gorging themselves on Columbia River views and Char Burger before ponying up their buck to cross the Bridge of the Gods, says brewmaster Dan Hynes, adding that any kegs sent to the city to whet interest will come out of his marketing budget. The plan is just crazy enough to work, particularly if Thunder Island keeps its current trajectory. The IPA and pale ale are both above average but a Scottish porter made with peated malt and aged with charred oak is unlike any other beer I’ve had—smoky, peaty and robust, with structure. It slips the dank charms of good single-malt Scotch into a smooth, quaffable porter. It’s a perfect tipple for a cool, clear night out on the pub’s riverside Adirondack chairs. MARTIN CIZMAR.
DRINK THIS: Scottish porter, which is unlike any other beer I’ve had.