5736 NE 33rd Ave., 503-249-3983, mcmenamins.com/KennedySchool. 7 am-midnight Sunday-Thursday, 7 am-1 am Friday-Saturday (Courtyard Restaurant).
There's something liberating about getting up from a barstool, walking out the door with your drink, and not getting stopped. You probably never even realized you wanted to roam freely with alcohol until you finally experienced it, whether that was in Vegas or closer to home at one of the McMenamins properties.
Kennedy School has four acres for you to explore with beer, wine or spirit in hand—which just might finally give you the courage to look at all of the terrifying paintings of dour, dead-eyed children lining the long corridors. You know what to expect from McMenamins' standard beers: Ruby got you into craft to begin with, and when you eventually graduated to Terminator, it was like the first time you enjoyed black coffee without cream or sugar.
Fortunately, McMenamins' brewers get the freedom to go beyond the regular lineup and create their own recipes, allowing individual talent to shine. Recently, I was taken with Kennedy School's Equinox IPA, which had such a punch of pine it evoked the image of fragrant boughs steeping in the wort. It was a refreshing departure from the citrusy hop flavors now dominating the style, and a reminder of all the good things that can happen when you turn brewers loose all over the region.
Drink this: Jonny's Weissbier begins sharp and bright, introducing a hint of tart banana like one of those hard-candy Runts. It ends with a bit of spice.
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