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August 6th, 2014 MARTIN CIZMAR | Bar Reviews
 

Bar Review: Ex Novo

Good Intentions.

clublist_exnovo_4040EX NOVO - IMAGE: Ryan LaBriere

Portland welcomed the nation’s first nonprofit pub, Oregon Public House, last year. Some questioned the city’s decision to give $50,000 in grants to a church-affiliated bar on Dekum Triangle, but no one’s complaining about the pub itself, which is wonderful. Last month, the city also got a nonprofit brewery, called Ex Novo (2326 N Flint Ave., 894-8251, exnovobrew.com). The causes are good—groups that mentor at-risk kids, offer legal assistance to the poor and provide food for refugees—but the rest needs work. The hours, for starters. Who closes a bar at 9 pm, even on a Monday? Then there’s the beer, which includes a dreadful Scottish red, a British-style barely bitter IPA (40 IBUs at launch, 60ish today) and a soapy session pale. Our taster flight came warm and flat enough that I wondered whether it was served from a cask. Oh, and a terrible sandwich of brisket trimmings ($12) on a hard, dry bun with a discordant mustard sauce. If you’re at Ex Novo anytime soon, stick to the stout ($4.50) and the roasted yams with red rice ($9), both of which will be especially good in cooler months. Hopefully, the rest of the menu will round into form by then, too. 

 
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