Few places shine as brightly as the new Brooklyn location of Ruse Brewing (4784 SE 17th Ave., 503-662-8325, rusebrewing.com). The long-awaited home of brewers Shaun Kalis and Devin Benware's Culmination Brewing-incubated brand has massive western-facing windows and a knotty wooden bar that guides your eyes toward the rear of the taproom and brewery, where a giant rectangular skylight illuminates the stainless steel tools of their trade. It's as though they were being gazed upon by the same Egyptian gods painted on the southern wall.
It's a luminous look that matches the pair's youthful enthusiasm—and their beers. A trip through the company's 10 taps feels as blessed as the aesthetics. Kalis and Benware are experts of adjunct ingredients and yeasty expressionism, having spent years honing their core recipes, and even keeping a few of their own tanks, at Culmination's Northeast Portland brewery.
The cutting-edge interpretations of popular new styles like Lost Letters, a hazy pale ale with silky oats and a positively explosive amount of tropical hops, are excellent, but the more unique barrel-aged and farmhouse ales are truly transcendent. A pinot barrel-aged strawberry and basil sour ale called Patchwork offered jaw-dropping depth and earthy nuance. Turquoise Mountain Sunrise, a barrel-aged brett beer with pineapple, brings an astonishing level of fruit flavor, balanced acidity and sweaty tropical funk, like something you'd want entombed next to you for an eternity of picnics in heaven.
It's a good thing Ruse is so easy to access. Located in the recently renovated Iron Fireman Collective Building, a massive gray brick structure just off the MAX Orange line, the place is a relatively short trip from anywhere. It's a pilgrimage worth taking often. After all, who in Portland can't use quick access to excellent, innovative beer and a healthy dose of vitamin D to boot?
Ed. note—A previous version of this article misstated the neighborhood of the new Ruse Brewing location. WW regrets the error.