326 Broadway St., Estacada, 503-630-2337, fearless.beer. 4-9 pm Wednesday-Thursday, noon-10 pm Friday-Saturday, noon-9 pm Sunday.
In Estacada, not even the Duke can get the townies in the door. Granted, it's just a cardboard cutout of John Wayne, but it looks downright forlorn looking out over that empty dining room. It seems many in Estacada haven't warmed up to one of the best brewpubs on the outer east side. When asked whether the slow business was the result of a holiday slump, the bartender said it was actually pretty typical—at least until summer. The warm months is when they get 75 percent of their business, primarily from out-of-towners following a day of hiking along or paddling in the nearby Clackamas River. So the winter months are a perfect time to take advantage of the open seating before you're fighting for space with sweaty weekend warriors.
Settle into one of the high-backed booths crafted from golden boards of Doug fir, grain and knots exposed. Walls a cozy shade of brick red are adorned with black-and-white photos, awards and news clippings dating back to the opening. Loki Red Ale has always been a solid performer, providing a balance of hearty hops and malts. We prefered the two lightest and fruitiest options, Clackamas Cream Ale and Peaches & Cream Ale. The latter has a subtle kiss of candy fruit—as if someone had dropped a handful of peach Dum Dums into the batch. And if all of that still hasn't moved you to saddle up and get to Estacada, Wednesday is Ladies' Night and the beers are just 50 cents from 4 to 8 pm.
Drink this: The porter (5.3 percent ABV) is rich and roasty, with a satisfying bitterness like the coffee bean your barista slips onto the lid of your to-go cup.
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