1401 SE Rasmussen Blvd., Battle Ground, Wash., 360-723-0937, northwoodpublichouse.com. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
Back in the old country, weekenders might take a drive from the big city to a comfortable place in the sticks for good house-brewed beer and hearty home-style cooking. So, kinda like the drive from the city up to Battle Ground—except Northwood doesn't offer the same standard of beer or food. This is America, dammit, where the suburban gasthaus is nearly as prefab as the neighborhood surrounding it, in spite of the big "Stammtisch" sign hanging from the ceiling. There's a nano-sized brewery on the premises, but it's rare to see even five of the 16 taps carrying house brews. Often, only one or two are on. If Kochab the Guardian Old Ale is one of your options, that's OK—the guest tap beers won't have the same cloyingly sweet finish. Maybe this is intentional, as an order of barbecued ribs went along for the ride: There wasn't much smoke, but they were slathered with a sweet yet bland house sauce.
Drink This: There are plenty of guest taps, and a couple of beers found only north of the Columbia might be on. When 15 of the 16 taps are guest beers, maybe the brewery is trying to tell you something.