StormBreaker Brewing has one heck of an eye for real estate.
The company—whose original North Mississippi Avenue brewpub could survive indefinitely just on the tourists that roam there—has further asserted its excellent geographic taste at the new St. Johns StormBreaker Brewing (8409 N Lombard St., 971-255-1481, stormbreakerbrewing.com). The brewery knocked down a wall separating a former dentist's office from the old beer bar next door to create a beautiful new pub right in the heart of the neighborhood.
On the large covered patio, visible from the sidewalk, a wall-sized mural of a sudsy golden beer pouring itself into the shape of the St. Johns Bridge beckons customers inside, where they'll find a big, bright pub with tall ceilings. A sea of picnic tables and tall booths, forged from reclaimed wood, offers ample seating in the finished front half of the building—there's also a huge walled-off warehouse space in the rear where the company plans to put lanes for ax throwing and a new brewhouse down the line. For now, all beer is being made on North Mississippi.
Maybe it's the lack of Instagram-happy patrons, but we've never had more refreshing pints from StormBreaker than we did on our two visits to the 20-tap pub. The sessionable Total ReKölsch and cocoa-tinged Opacus Stout have developed into fantastic pours in recent years, and we loved the slight marmalade sweetness and tropical aromatics in the Triple Double IIPA. There's also enough whiskey on the menu to frighten anyone's liver, with 11 beer-and-whiskey pairings and over 75 individual pours.
The food is better-than-average pub grub, with mountainous nachos ($10) and the double-pattied Legend of Lombard cheeseburger ($12) joining contemporary Portland standards like a garlicky kale Caesar ($8).
But the best part of the new StormBreaker is how much it seems to love its new 'hood. Aside from the aforementioned mural, there's a vintage photo of a boxing match that was held inside the building, and flights are served in wooden holders also the shape of the St. Johns Bridge. Those kind of details might be overlooked by the throngs on Mississippi. Here, they come across as thoughtful and inviting gestures.